HANOVER, Germany—If there was ever a clear example of how pervasive the challenges are for IT managers when dealing with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, it was illustrated by engineers with Software AG, when they tried to deal with a capacity planning project for a commuter railroad.
The problem is one that’s shared far beyond Europe and far beyond commuter railroads. The problem is finding an automated way to determine how full a commuter train was to determine probable delays in loading and unloading the train as well how those delays would affect other trains on the same line.
In the process, the company found itself dealing with data from a series of sensors both on the rails and on board the train as well as data kept in the ticketing system. The process of counting how many people were on the train was straightforward. But when coupled with the ticket information, it suddenly presented privacy issues. This comes up frequently in commerce because the tickets are tied to credit card purchases and credit cards contain passengers’ identify information.
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