Tweaks in Place to Improve Parking Location Privacy, RTC Says

by Karen Goff August 26, 2016 at 10:00 am 22 Comments

Reston Town Center Parking

Representatives from Boston Properties want to assure users that additional privacy measures are going into place for visitors to Reston Town Center.

New technological features (electronic parking availability signage; app-based payment; Bluetooth-enabled validation; and a GPS/license plate car locater system) are about to go live at Reston Town Center prepares to switch to paid parking on Sept. 12.

ParkRTC AppEarlier this week, Reston Now reported that by typing a license plate number into the Park Assist app, anyone with a computer could find out where your car was parked.

Kathy Walsh, spokesman for Reston Town Center’s paid parking rollout, says that issue was related to testing done by Park Assist and has been remedied.

“That issue has been addressed to prevent it from happening again,” she said in an email. “The ‘Find My Car’ feature will ONLY be available by using the pay stations located onsite at the Reston Town Center garages.”

Several readers contacted Reston Now about concerns that security cameras could film them entering and exiting their cars. One resident called it a “stalker’s dream.”

These privacy concerns are different than the other privacy concerns some people have, which involve the ParkRTC App having access to credit card info, GPS location and contact lists.

Rob Weinold, another RTC parking spokesman, said user security is “critically important to both Passport Inc and RTC, and we take our responsibility to protect that information very seriously.”

He said no information will be sold or distributed to third parties.

“Passport conducts regular audits of their information security systems to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities,” he said. “Passport also holds compliance with PCI DSS Level 1 certification– the most stringent data security framework administered by the PCI Security Standards Council. … Passport Parking with never sell or distribute ParkRTC user information to third parties.”

Walsh said safeguards will be in place that will prevent the ParkRTC app and Park Assist for searching online for a car via a license plate.

“You must be physically onsite to look for a car [on the Find My Car kiosk], and as Park Assist points out, once you are there, you could easily just walk around the garage to look for a specific car.”

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