MD: Ride On officials investigate potential passenger privacy breach
Kevin Wilson reports on some great advocacy efforts by a parent:
Is Montgomery County safely storing your child’s confidential information? A local mother says, “No.”
Bethesda resident Kathy Gambrell became troubled while signing up her 12-year-old son, Dakota, for a discounted bus card. The pass, called the Youth Cruiser SmarTripcard, provides unlimited Ride On bus service to Montgomery County residents 18 and younger for a nominal monthly fee.
In effort to prevent adults from illegally registering, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation requires applicants show proof of age and county residency. Birth certificates, passports and State of Maryland IDs are among the list of accepted documents.
In April, Gambrell and her son visited the TRiPS commuter store in Friendship Heights to apply for the pass. During their visit, Gambrell says a county employee insisted she needed to make a photocopy of Dakota’s birth certificate. Gambrell, a single mother who is currently unemployed, says she reluctantly agreed to the request out of desperation.
“They told me they were placing [the birth certificate] in a folder on a desk in the back room,” Gambrell remarked. “My concern [was], who then has access to that desk, and to that folder? And what happens to this information over time if it’s being stored for some 19 years?”
Read more about how she followed up on her concerns and will hopefully make a difference on WJLA.