Outcry as M50 drivers' details show up on toll road website
SENSITIVE private details of drivers using the M50 barrier-free toll system have been displayed on a website which can be accessed by the public.
The discovery has sparked concern amongst drivers who use the National Roads Authority's eflow website to pay toll charges. A driver who complained was able to access the personal details of other motorists, including their names, addresses, car registration plates and times when they used the tolled road.
The Data Protection Commissioner said the NRA had informed it of the problem and it was satisfied the body was "treating this matter seriously".
In a statement yesterday, it said: "We are informed that [the NRA] are taking immediate steps to remove the name and address details and expect that to be done today."
It is also examining how to introduce an additional confirmation field on the submit screen to ensure the journey details of M50 users are held confidentially.
This is just the latest in a series of glitches since the new barrier-free tolling system began in August.
The NRA apologised for the information being posted online. It said the details were provided for customers' convenience and in future drivers would have to confirm their journeys using only their registration plate.
"We do put confirmation of their trip on the website and there is additional information so they can confirm it was their car," a spokesman said.
"Unfortunately there is personal information [on the site], and this information is being removed as we speak.
"Obviously that personal information should not be available. This was borne out of good intention to assist customers, but we needed to modify it."
Non-registered motorists who fail to pay the €3 toll by 8pm the day after their journey are sent a bill with a reference number. The driver keys that number into the website to produce their charge on screen. However, the motorist only needs to change the last digits to see other drivers' details.
One motorist, who contacted the Irish Independent, said they were "intrigued" by how much personal information about them came up on the website.
They added: "I am no IT genius, but it didn't take a whole lot for me to pull up other drivers' details. A hacker could run amok with this level of detail and sell on the details."