• Sound Transit released 170,000 ORCA cardholders' emails to political campaign

    Updated:

    Sound Transit is explaining why it improperly released more than 170,000 ORCA cardholders’ email addresses to a political campaign.

    The problem was discovered when cardholders reported their email linked to their cards was being used for the campaign promoting ST3, the $54 billion ballot measure to expand light rail in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

    A cardholder submitted a tip to KIRO 7 News on Friday saying that he received an email from Sound Transit admitting they inadvertently released his email address related to his ORCA card.

    Sound Transit told KIRO 7 News the emails were part of a customer survey done in 2011 and mistakenly released after a public-disclosure request.

    A spokesman says Sound Transit is working to fix the issue.

    “We did reach out to the organization that requested those emails and received a written assurance that they will delete the email,” spokesman Geoff Patrick said.

    The Seattle Times writes that the email release may be illegal as the ORCA account information gets special protection under state law.

    “If there’s protected records that they wouldn’t give to you or I, then they shouldn’t be giving those to the campaign,” Lori Anderson, spokeswoman for the state’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), told The Seattle Times on Friday. “That’s a restriction on using public facilities to support a political campaign’s ballot initiative.”

    Sound Transit says no personal, financial, or sensitive information was released as part of the disclosure.

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