Those slightly addle-eyed folk who rant about Government conspiracies, claim that we're all microchipped at birth and believe the Oyster card is a sinister scheme to track our movements may be feeling a little righteous today: Transport for London has been criticised for "collecting data without a clear purpose" when asking kids to fill in an application form for their free Travelcard.
Since June, kids looking to jump on the bus or tube have required a new photo ID called the Zip card, part of a raft of measures introduced to combat the apparently relentless scourge of unruly behaviour on public transport. The new card has proved unpopular with parents, and they're likely to be further incensed by TfL's admission that the voluminous data they are collecting on London's minors will be shared about with their subsidiaries.
TfL has defended itself, invoking that ever-useful hoodoo 'anti social behaviour' to justify keeping such close tabs on the yoof. Seems that the way to get kids to pipe down and show some respect to their elders is to mollycoddle them, giving them a stern ticking off if they don't toe the line. And having files on them that the Stasi would be proud of can only help.