What makes me unique from a data perspective? Southern Railways sent me an email the other day about their new key card service. This is a card that stores your tickets on it so you don’t have to queue up at the machines to buy or collect on the station. This made me wonder about what they’ll learn about be from me having this. The most unique journey I do is my trip to see mum. Especially when I do it as a day trip. And I’d bet there aren’t many people who do that 5 or 6 times a year. (It involved 7 trains and 2 underground journeys on Saturday!)

The various ticket providers already know that I do this journey. I buy my tickets online (not always from the same service) using a debit or credit card and get them posted to my house. By extension then Google know too (I’m a gmail user). If I then have a physical piece of plastic that matches that data point to the physical me does that makes me any easier to track? My phone is an android phone so that Google account is probably storing my location as well.

If the ticket data was ever released, even in an anonymised format, I reckon it’d be trivial to find my journeys, and by extension me. I hadn’t really thought about this before Saturday’s journey when for some reason it occurred to me.

So, would a key card make any difference to my trackability? Or would it just make the buying/storing of tickets easier?

As usual I have no answers. Just questions and ponderings to share.