STOP PRESS Saturday 26th July Transport for London apology Transys Links provided by Watching Them Watching Us of problems caused again for users of the Oyster card (initial cost £1.2 Billion) on Friday 25th, this was blamed on " incorrect data tables being sent out by our contractor" , whatever that means.
See post last Monday , July 21, 2008 Oyster - a lesson in obsolesence - a cracked technology and money will leak away through the cracks for details of problems with the RFID chip on the card which meant they had to replace 35,000 cards.
Report of problems on Friday in Guradian who say the problem started at 5.30 am , with the pay-as-you-go system. It meant that barriers had to be kept open throughout the busiest period in the morning at a cost of many tens of thousands of pounds in lost fares to Transport for London (TfL).
The BBC Online report talked of losses of over £100,000 to TfL which would be claimed from Transys. The Daily Telegraph has a headline , "Oyster card failure gives London commuters free travel" - a spokemans for TFl said, ""We believe that this problem, like the last one resulted from incorrect data tables being sent out by our contractor, Transys."
The Register says ,"TfL has denied this (the hacking of the RFID chip) has anything to do with the two recent failures but it has been suggested that security updates to try and protect the system against cloned cards caused the problems."
There has been remarkably little informed comment about the hacking and publication of the NXP/Philips' MIFARE chip used by Trnsys - and other transport systems, access control etc.,
Two principal ideas emerge ;
1. Some people / users are trying hacks and just screwing the systems.
2. Patches and updates to defend from attacks are screwing the systems.
The fact that this last manifestation resulted in free use for many users would lend suport to the idea that someone wants to make some political / social point.
Of course all this gladdens the heart of any No2ID member. Lord Patel confidently predicts more problems and a certainty that CCTV cameras watching transaction points / barriers are working and being watched very, very carefully.