How to Hack an Oyster Card

There are many reasons to want to know where somebody has been on the Tube

  • Do you want to find out where your girlfriend/boyfriend has been on the tube?
  • Are you concerned that your boss is traveling around London, looking to replace you?
  • Are you just a regular stalker/paparazzi who wants to follow somebody around?
  • Are you a private investigator who wants to know where your perp has gone on the tube?

Whatever the reason the following guide, of just five simple steps, will show you how to access the travel details of a person’s recent underground journeys:

  1. Obtain the relevant Oyster Card
  2. Take the card to the nearest London Underground Station
  3. Walk up to a counter, hand the card over and state “Excuse me mate, but I am not sure my balance is right on this, I think I didn’t swipe out recently, can you check it for me
  4. The TFL staff will then print out a list of the last couple of weeks journeys and hand them to you
  5. Leave the station with the card, the paper, nefarious mind set and a  maniacal laugh

Joking aside, this actually works.

Which is slightly concerning because people can so easily access other peoples travel details. While this may not bother many people, as they will simply say that there journey to work and home again, is their standard commuter route, and so of no interest. Others may think differently.

Firstly, private investigations firms do still use illicit methods to obtain data, the recent telephone bugging scandals involving journalists, is nothing new, its that is only just come to light. A few years ago, several well known companies were involved in a case that showed that information was obtain illegally, via data theft.

High networth individuals, especially if they are going through a divorce or possibly a major deal, can attract the attention of investigation firms. There have been occasions when these individuals have had the routes monitored, their phones and computers hacked into, and other such activity.

People who are involved in protests , for anything from animal rights activists to the anti-war lobby, are likely to be monitored and tracked where possible, and this is not all done via the state.  Large corporate who are likely to be disrupted, or targeted, by protests,  sometimes employ private firms to provide their own intelligence briefings, and these firms will go to great lengths to obtain this information for their client.

Interestingly the TFL (Transport For London) who operate the London Underground, have an exemption from the data protection act, which allows MI5 and the police to get near live data from the system, so track people moving around London.


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