Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Uh oh. Those prepaid cards that San Francisco drivers use to feed the meter? Totally hackable.
That's according to engineers and programmers who say it took them just three days to create fake cards that can store up to $999.99 on them, according to a story in the Examiner. Hello, black market!
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency doesn't think impostor cards are on the loose but will look into it, said a spokesman.
The revenue from meters and parking already is an issue in budget discussions. Scofflaws, broken meters and cars exempted from paying all starve the system. The agency raised meter prices last month and is thinking about extending hours when the meters need to be fed. And adding meters in residential areas to raise money to repair streets.
The potential for card hacking is just one more headache.
Note to cities using such cards: If the numbers don't add up, check into prepaid card use.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.