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Crime Encryption Transportation

Cracking Atlanta Subway's Poorly-Encrypted RFID Smart Cards Is a Breeze, Part II 170

McGruber (1417641) writes In December 2013, Slashdot reported the arrest of seven metro Atlanta residents for allegedly selling counterfeit MARTA Breeze cards, stored-value smart cards that passengers use as part of an automated fare collection system on Atlanta's subway. Now, six months later (June 2014), the seven suspects have finally been indicted. According to the indictment, the co-conspirators purchased legitimate Breeze cards for $1, then fraudulently placed unlimited or monthly rides on the cards. They then sold the fraudulent cards to MARTA riders for a discounted cash price. Distributors of the fraudulent cards were stationed at several subway stations. The indictment claims that the ring called their organization the "Underground Railroad."
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Cracking Atlanta Subway's Poorly-Encrypted RFID Smart Cards Is a Breeze, Part II

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  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @03:06PM (#47341573)

    mass transit is already hugely subsidized...

    The "price" of a good in a market is not merely what people want to pay for it. For example, how many people would buy a yacht for 100 dollars? Probably a lot more then buy one now at its current price of about 10 million to 100 million dollars depending on how big it is... but can you charge 100 dollars to sell yachets? No... you won't even break even on the costs.

    And that is a major issue in mass transit. Most mass transit systems do NOT break even after collecting all the tickets and passes. Nearly all of them must subsidize their costs with taxes. And some of them even take money from federal and state programs because the systems are not actually affordable even using city taxes without adding money from the federal and state governments.

    As such, saying "hey they should just lower prices" is not really rational.

    To actually establish your idea here you'd first have to float the whole system on nothing but those passes and ticket revenue. ZERO subsidization. Then you could charge a market price for those tickets.

    And if the ticket revenue fell below what it cost to build and maintain the system then it would shut down for lack of funding the same way companies do that can't get enough sales to pay for operations.

  • by radarskiy ( 2874255 ) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @05:02PM (#47342049)

    "shouldn't you have to pay for it?"

    Should the mobility of labor be comparable to the mobility of capital for a rational market to form?

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @05:57PM (#47342299)

    No it has nothing to do with that.

    Phones make money by collecting a subscription fee that pays off the cost of the phone over the term of the contract.

    Printers make money by charging extra for ink which pay off the cost of the printer of the life of the printer.

    Buses collect no such other fees from customers. Rather, they collect the difference from the general tax funds or by in my opinion robbing national and state road funds.

    The sorry state of many of our bridges is a direct result of cities draining road funds that are paid for by car drivers through gas taxes. Exactly why should my gas taxes go to pay for a bus? The city buses don't even pay the gas tax. They pay no taxes. They pay for nothing. Not their gas. Not their buses. Not the bus drivers. Its nearly all subsidies and that money often comes from over stressed general funds that are forced to underfund more critical services because of the misappropriation of funds. Or the money comes from specialized funds that only exist to fund things like roads and bridges... but now suddenly can't afford to do that because the f'ing buses took all the money. Which is why perpetually we are being told that we don't have enough money in the road fund. This is incorrect. We have plenty of money in the road fund... for roads... and bridges. What we don't have enough money for in the road fund is enough to pay for the newest mass transit project that some slimy politician got green lit ON TOP of the roads and bridges.

    And what do they decide to underfund when that happens? The roads and bridges. Heaven forbid that the stupid buses actually have to pay for anything.

    And don't get me wrong. If cities want to subsidize their mass transit, that is fine. Really. Do whatever you want. But fucking pay for it yourselves rather then stealing from national highway funds or state highway funds or county road funds.

    If its so fucking efficient then why do they keep needing to take other people's money to make it practical? That's something of a logical inconsistency.

    The car drivers are expected to foot the bill while the money they did spend doesn't even go to pay for their services. And when that happens, the same politicians lie to the car drivers and say "oh we just don't have enough money to pay for the roads... you should pay more."... really? Should we pay more? Because since you're already stealing a large portion of the fund for one thing that has nothing to do with driving a car... tell me what else we should be paying with our gas taxes. Possibly education? You think I'm kidding but they've already done that. In California where I live they take a portion of the gas tax and put it towards all sorts of feel good education projects. Which is great... I have nothing against after school programs etc. But don't take it from the fucking gas fund. Bill that to the general fund so the state senate can have a hope in hell of making a sensible budget.

    And this is a problem we have with a lot of projects. The accounting is so confused, conflicted, and outright corrupt in many places that its not possible to make a sensible budget. Exactly what would you base it on? The numbers people are telling you about anything are not accurate. The revenue numbers are wrong. The cost numbers are wrong. All the projection costs are wrong.

    Look... Doubtless I'm sounding like a raving maniac here... fair point. But ladies and gentleman, I'm not wrong... and this sort of thing if we don't get a handle on it will trend us right into being a Banana Republic... and the weather in most of the US is not pleasant enough to make the US competitive as a banana republic. If the US becomes a banana republic, I'm moving to some place where you can actually grow bananas. At least then I've got the bananas.

    In all seriousness... its not sustainable. And things that can't go on forever... don't.

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @07:24PM (#47342575) Homepage

    Keep this in mind before going off on a public transit rant and why should your taxes pay for it when you drive. The more people on that public transit then the less people on the road with you in private vehicles and the less crowded your drive. So your paying public transport taxes to have better access to your roads.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright