Tuesday, August 19, 2008

MBTA Admits CharlieCard Ticketing Flaw

This just in from Boston.com: Gag order lifted against MIT students as T admits ticketing flaw.
The MBTA acknowledged today that flaws exist with CharlieTickets that will take months to remedy after being exposed by three MIT students who hacked into the transit system's automated ticketing system for a school project.
So how long will it really take the T to fix this? What's a couple of months? Because further in the article, the T's attorney said that it will take five months to fix this.
Attorney Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the students today in court. She took issue with using the word "hacking" to describe the students' work, saying that they used a legal method know as "reverse engineering" to comprise the MBTA's system. Regardless, Cohn cheered the judge's decision.

"I hope it gives people comfort that they can continue to do security research without the fear that they are going to be dragged into federal court and gagged," Cohn said.

And in the "we couldn't have send it better ourselves, AJ really articulated why we're all so outraged about the T's "raises" in this comment posted earlier today:

In the end, I still don't feel for a company with so many problems the thing to do is reward past behavior. That's essentially what this is. Most people get raises based on performance, and this team has done nothing to steer this ship in the right direction! If there were a light at the end of this tunnel, or the T had just unveiled some radical new plan that would bail them out without resulting a ridiculous fare increase (some increase is to be expected), then perhaps this move wouldn't be so scrutinized and even then not acceptable but maybe tolerable.

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