Privacy May be Concern for Reston Town Center Parking App Users

by Karen Goff April 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm 40 Comments

Parking garage at Reston Town CenterWhen Reston Town Center initiates paid parking beginning Aug. 1, it will be under an app-based system developed by Passport Parking.

While Reston Town Center officials say the gateless, ticketless license plate recognition system is secure, a quick look through Passport Parking’s privacy policy says otherwise.

Parking will be $2 an hour in RTC’s seven garages on weekdays starting this summer. It will remain free on weekends (12 a.m. Saturday to 12 a.m. Monday). Patrons as well as RTC employees will have to pay. Many stores will validate for some free parking, but the exact system and which stores will participate has not been finalized.

RTC is encouraging customers to register their license plate and payment information with the app.

“When customers download the app, they will then be able to pay for their parking from the comfort of their vehicle or extend their parking session remotely,” says the Frequently Asked Questions section on Reston Town Center’s website.

“There will be no need to visit a pay station, as the fee will be automatically charged to their designated credit card at the end of the parking session. Multiple license plates and credit cards may be added into your account when using the Park RTC app.”

Furthermore, RTC says “Park RTC solely hosted by Passport Parking, Inc. will keep all details secure in accordance with their privacy policy, which can be found online when the system goes live. ”

While your credit card info will probably be secure, the rest is open to interpretation.

Passport says users can opt out of sharing some personal info, but “if you choose not to share, some parts of our sites and some services may be more difficult or impossible to use.”

Visitors to RTC do not have to use the app, though RTC management is encouraging them to do so. Visitors will also be able to pay manually via a kiosk.

According to Passport Parking’s privacy policy:

When you download, access and use our application or website, it may use technology to automatically collect:

Website Details.We may also collect information about the parts of our application or website you use or third party websites you visit when you leave our website.  We may work with third parties who collect information about you when you use our apps or website.

App Usage Details. When you access and use the application, we may automatically collect certain details of your access to and use of the app, including location data and other communication data and the resources that you access and use on or through the app.

Device Information. If you download our application, we may collect information from your mobile device, like your device ID.

Other information.  We may collect information about your IP address, operating system, browser type, mobile network information and the device’s telephone number.

Location Information.Our application collects real-time information about the location of your device to provide you services and to make it easier for you to use our service.

Information Collection Technologies

The technologies we use for automatic information collection may include:

  • Cookies (or mobile cookies).A cookie is a small file placed on your smartphone. It may be possible to refuse to accept mobile cookies by activating the appropriate setting on your smartphone. However, if you select this setting you may be unable to access certain parts of our application.

You can choose whether or not to share personal information. If you choose not to share, some parts of our sites and some services may be more difficult or impossible to use.

Your browser may give you the ability to reject cookies or turn off location-based capabilities.

If you choose not to disable these features, some parts of our sites and some services may be more difficult or impossible to use.  If you do not want us to collect information about you or your device do not download the application or uninstall it from your device.

Passport Parking says “we use information that we collect about you or that you provide to us, including any personal information, to:

  • We use information to respond to your requests or questions.For example we may use your information to help you access your account if you forget your password.
  • We use your information to help us improve our products and services. We may use information to customize and improve your experience.  For example, we might look at usage trends to make sure our sites and apps are easy to use.
  • For security purposes. We may use information to protect our company, our customers, our websites, or our applications.
  • To provide updates. For example, we may send you email or push notifications about your account, transactions, or changes to our sites, applications, or policies.
  • For our legitimated business purposes.  We will also use your information to fulfill any other purpose for which you provide it.  We may also use information you provide to carry out our obligations and enforce our rights arising from any contracts entered into between you and us, including for billing and collection.  We may combine information that we receive about you from third parties with information we already have.
  • As otherwise permitted by law.

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