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Author Topic: Mobile ticket. App OK, printout OK, but screenshot could lead to prosecution?  (Read 6887 times)
Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2019, 10:30:01 am »

Believe me, there is built in security for these 'new' forms of tickets. I'm not going to 'spill the beans' of the security detail as it would be akin to breaching The Official Secrets Act although maybe not with such harsh penalties, FULL STOP.


I can see security options for tickets on the app, but if there is an open ticket that has been printed the only option I can see is a radio check to a central server when on the train, or a similar check by the gateline.

Similarly I use print at home tickets for London art exhibitions.  These are normally checked visually on arrival.  Sometimes they are scribbled on to stop the same piece of paper being used twice. Is it not possible to have a "single use" pdf, that will only allow itself to be printed once?
Just like a conventional paper ticket, then. The possible security loophole is not the printout itself but the ability to reproduce it.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2019, 10:51:26 am »

Quote from: grahame
Ah ... I see Robin Summerhill has challenged me to update my view based on printouts being acceptable.  Sorry Robin, but I was aware of that in my original post - look at the subject line as I started the thread "Mobile ticket. App OK, printout OK, but screenshot could lead to prosecution?".

Other people’s written words can often be taken the wrong way, as I know from bitter experience of posting on internet forums! However, I was not issuing a challenge to Graham or indeed anybody else; I was simply saying that as further information begins to come to light it is always important to look at it to ensure that the position one has previously taken will stand up to the newly-revealed facts. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won’t. The new information we now have has made me rethink my position.

Now we hear from martyjon that there are indeed security features in place. I can fully understand his reasons for not wishing to elaborate because it would be, in a sense, akin to giving a burglar the combination to the safe. I am quite happy to leave that issue there and simply be reassured that security features are in place.

But this then comes back to my second point in my last post on the subject. We can now only presume that the screenshot did not contain the necessary security information, because if it had the matter would never have come up in the first place. Was it the fact that it was a screenshot and simply that as the Guardian implies? I would then wonder why screenshots behave like this whilst printed versions of the ticket don’t, but I do accept I shall have to keep wondering about that. However, if it is a standard issue then it clearly needs to be communicated to the intending passenger not to do it.

Then we come on to the aftermath of the original event that sparked this. We are told that the passenger got a letter from Revenue Protection saying they were considering issuing a summons. OK so far. She then replied to them saying that she had bought the ticket and provided evidence. Still OK so far. Revenue Protection then “turn nasty” and say that they are going ahead with the prosecution unless she pays £161.30. To me this says that the evidence she provided wasn’t good enough for them. It might also of course mean that they didn’t look at the evidence properly but, if they are going to go for court action, that would be a singularly unwise thing to do because their position is going to be scrutinised by the magistrate just as much as “defendant’s” position is going to be. In other words, if the evidence provided would have actually stood up in court they would be pretty stupid in bringing the case at all.

We then read that she paid the £161.30 demand because it would have been less than her legal costs. She is presumably aware that the losing side has costs awarded against them and, if the case was thrown out, the TOC would be picking up her bill. We all differ in this respect of course, but I would rather be sent down before I paid a company £161.30 that I was utterly convinced I didn’t owe them. And just for the record I’m only 5 years behind this woman in the age stakes, but unlikely to be called “sweet” by anyone…

Finally we read that Passenger Focus looked into the matter and basically found in favour of the passenger. So if this is the case, has she been given her £161.30 back? And if not, why not?

There is something fundamentally wrong in this story, and for me the jury is still out over whether 100% of the blame lies with the Revenue Protection team.

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Timmer
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« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2019, 05:35:34 pm »

Let's not forget that 'classic' tickets can also be fraudulently produced.
There was a case of that recently wasn’t there.
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4064ReadingAbbey
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« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2019, 09:50:24 pm »

A few years ago there was an attempt to introduce 'm-tickets' for travel using mobile phones, hence the 'm'. As I understand it, in for these tickets the message sent to the phone was the ticket and precautions had to be taken to avoid fraud. Eventually these precautions were found not to be effective and the industry has moved on to 'e-tickets'.

e-tickets are in fact simply an entry in the transport company's database and are essentially identical to the way that airlines now operate. The message sent to the mobile phone (the 'travel token' for want of a better term), or home PC, is in fact only a pointer to the database entry. So it doesn't matter how the travel token is presented, when the token is checked either by a scanner at the gate or by the ticket on the train a flag is set on the database showing that the ticket has been presented. Any use of additional copies of the ticket would throw up a warning and they would be rejected. Even if a screen shot of the e-ticket had been used, as long as sufficient information was read (there being some redundancy in the coding) the database would have recognised the token and, realising that travel had been paid for, set the flag in the database showing the ticket to be in use.

As I read the story, the revenue people did not understand the difference between the two generations of tickets and applied the process designed for potential fraudulent use of m-tickets to an e-ticket.

Such a public relations disaster should never have occurred.
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didcotdean
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« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2019, 10:25:58 pm »

The XC web page on these is confused in itself, initially referring to e-tickets than half way down to m-tickets instead (in an ungrammatical sentence): https://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/tickets/e-tickets

This appears to be a cut down version of what used to be there which makes more sense and shows the difference: https://web.archive.org/web/20181027203459/https://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/tickets/e-tickets.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2019, 11:10:30 pm »

It seems quite sensible that the ticket displayed on phone or tablet is a pointer to a database entry, rather than a ticket itself, as Reading Abbey explains. If that's the case, could it be correct, as was reported, that the screenshot didn't display enough data because, apparently, the signal bar on the screen was obscuring some vital info (part of the QR code I think)?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2019, 02:56:33 pm »

I've just found this on the Faresaver website that might have some pertinence here:

IMPORTANT - When using mobile ticketing the original ticket must be shown when boarding and not a screenshot of the ticket otherwise travel may be refused. The original ticket will have a moving green/blue animation under the photo of the user - if this is static a screenshot has been taken.

http://www.faresaver.co.uk/tickets.php


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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2019, 09:23:09 am »

Photo of the user? There's no sign of that on the pic in the Guardian article linked to in the OP, and it would seem a bit OTT. Presumably that only refers to a season ticket?
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4064ReadingAbbey
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« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2019, 03:23:12 pm »

I've just found this on the Faresaver website that might have some pertinence here:

IMPORTANT - When using mobile ticketing the original ticket must be shown when boarding and not a screenshot of the ticket otherwise travel may be refused. The original ticket will have a moving green/blue animation under the photo of the user - if this is static a screenshot has been taken.

http://www.faresaver.co.uk/tickets.php



I think that this process refers to what I classified as an 'm-ticket'. When I looked at the Faresavers web site just now (http://www.faresaver.co.uk/faq.php then 'Do you offer mobile ticketing?') I found the following text:

Quote
When using mobile tickets please ensure that you show your active ticket to the driver on boarding and not a screenshot. If a screenshot of a ticket is presented you may be asked to pay a fare. An SMS link to your ticket can be sent to your phone when activated for quick access.

An e-ticket is not presented to or checked by a person - it is read by a scanner when entering the station, or checked by a scanner carried by the conductor which will link back to the operator's ticketing database. The gate or the device carried by the conductor will report on the validity, or otherwise, of the ticket.
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