22 Oct 2022

Cubic corporation confident of privacy compliance in public transport ticketing system

8:00 pm on 22 October 2022
The first Te Huia commuter train from Hamilton to Auckland arrives at Papakura on Tuesday morning.

On Friday, the government announced $1.3 billion would go towards a national public transport single-payment system. (file photo) Photo: RNZ / Gill Bonnett

A US transport and defence contractor that has won a big public deal in New Zealand says it takes privacy very seriously.

Cubic corporation has won a contract to roll out a national ticketing system worth $1.3b covering bus, train and ferry transport across 13 regions.

Its defence arm, Cubic Surveillance and Reconnaissance, develops intelligence systems for US Special Operations drones.

A US media report says privacy advocates have questioned Cubic's mass ticketing projects and how much data they gather off travellers.

"New Yorkers will have no choice but to cede all the rider data ... with no certainty over how it will be exploited," one tech commentator wrote last month.

Cubic's huge ticketing projects include New York, worth almost a billion dollars, London and Australian cities. Waka Kotahi said it had "vast experience".

Cubic told RNZ it would implement all security and privacy requirements demanded by its contract with Waka Kotahi.

It did not share or sell data it collected, it said.

It did not respond to RNZ's question about what range of data it will collect off travellers here.

"Cubic takes privacy very seriously and complies with all privacy-related laws in each of the jurisdictions we do business in," the California company - worth $4b on the New York stock exchange - said in a statement.

"We are committed to providing all transit users with a secure and seamless payment process without unnecessary risk."

It was certified to industry security standards, and would be "custodians" of local customers' data under the Privacy Act 2020.

It would review security and privacy as it designed the national ticketing system before it was launched, it said.

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