The government has an understandable interest in this data. Accumulating and analysing such a big data pool could contribute to solving some of Sydney's mounting transport problems. It will allow a better overview of travel flows, congestion patterns, bottlenecks and presumably contribute to informed decisions about investments in the transport network. Combine this with data from toll roads and an even more comprehensive picture of travel flows will emerge.
But this data also allows the tracking of individual users, potentially for months and years in retrospect. During the current trial period, all cards are registered in the customer's name. Only later will unregistered cards become available. But since all movements on these cards are equally stored, it would still be possible to link the card to an individual person (for example via CCTV footage or social media data). Opal's tracking of users and storage of individual travel histories raise several questions the government needs to address. For how long will this information be stored? Who has access to it? How will the data be protected? How and for what purposes will it be used?"