Sunday, November 02, 2014

Government Tracking: No More Free Pass in Israel!

י׳ לחודש השמיני תשע״ה

Israeli Law mandates that an employer pay some, if not all, of its employees' transportation costs. This translates into an employee living and working in the same city receiving a monthly bus pass. In Jerusalem, the pass includes light rail service. But, it is hardly free. The price is the reduction in privacy, as your whereabouts while on public transportation, can be monitored.

While for some of you, this is nothing new, it never hurts to attempt a wake up of those who are still unaware.

For the past few years in Israel, we have had the growth and development of the government’s ability to track the movement of its citizens. I have no indication whether the Israeli Government accesses its citizens' travel information. But, the potential is certainly there.

Rav Kav
with "chip"
The "Rav Kav," Hebrew for "multi-line," card can now be seen almost everywhere in Israel. Instead of printing out paper passes, tickets, and multi-ride punch cards, all you have to do is refill your plastic card with more rides, when you run out. Environmentally positive, right?

Some would say that this is a welcomed device, in addition to the highly theoretical reduction in paper. After all, the government can use this tracking system to monitor the movements of suspected terrorists and criminals.

C’mon! Do you really think a terrorist is going to bother using a Rav Kav? And even if he does, history tells us that he is on a one way trip! As far as plotters and planners of terrorist attacks go, you would think that they could afford  Sure, the “international community sees them as poor, helpless, and oppressed “freedom fighters.” But, the truth is that they are well funded, and well armed, either by Iranian-backed Hamas, or by Fatah’s “misplaced” funds received from donor countries, or from the co-dependent Israeli Government itself.

They can afford a non-discounted bus ride.

The back of an "Anonymous" Rav Kav
with a magnetic strip.
And, if you are like me, and do not believe that we need the government to protect us, as much as it wants us to think, then you will get stuck paying more (much more), using an “anonymous” Rav Kav. Bus and light rail monthly passes cannot be added to an “anonymous” Rav Kav, nor can multiple, discounted tickets for youth and seniors. Discounts on round-trips offered between cities are only available to those bearing a Rav Kav with photo identification.

So, if you are watching your budget, like most people in Israel, and all the world are, then the choosing the Rav Kav option, which includes your picture, name, and Israeli Identity Card number seems like it is worth its price. Not only that, but if you lose your Rav Kav, you have the added benefit of having the tickets and passes you had on your lose Rav Kav replaced. How helpful and convenient is that?

Most of us have bought into its “convenience” and “savings.”

Furthermore, if you choose the "anonymous" option, you will find that it might not be as anonymous as you thought. Each "anonymous" card is numbered, and you receive it in an office with surveillance cameras.

Do the math.


Batya said...

Remember that the anonymous ones may be bought in quantity and given to other people. So someone who doesn't care can buy for you, and if you fill it on the bus with cash, the user can't be traced.
Since I get senior discount and have nothing to hide, I don't mind having a personal one. What bothers me is that the card itself doesn't last very long.
me-ander: "Card Game," The Perils of Public Transportation

Esser Agaroth said...

Good point about buying in bulk.

Still, one shouldn't have to have his/her movements available in a computer bank somewhere, senior or not.

If you notice, the Egged bus company still requires producing an ID anyway, when receiving discounts on fares.

MiMedinat HaYam said...

You can be traced using anonymous cards, too. Won't know who you are, but can trace where you go, etc.

That's how they tracked "ebola doctor" here in new york. He claimed he "self quarantined" but using his metrocard, they saw he went bowling in williamsburg, skating in chelsea piers area, etc. Restauranting all over new york.

Add ezpass tracking and speed limit violations, cell phone triangulation tracking, etc.

Esser Agaroth said...

MiMedinat HaYam,

Thanks for commenting.

The list goes on!


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