Today’s Public Transit Police Departments offer a frightening glimpse into the future of commuter surveillance.
Last year the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) was accused of creating an app that spied on commuters’ travel plans, texts and emails. At the same time the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority began a pilot program that used facial biometric body scanners to spy on commuters.
Also in 2017 the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) unveiled their new SEPTA Transit Watch app that allows commuters to “discretely” spy on anyone. The app also sends commuters BOLO or “Be On the Look Out” alerts, essentially turning commuters into Transit Police spies.
In New Jersey politicians considered cutting Transit Police Department funding from $88 million to $48 million. To find out what happened scroll down to 2018.
The Reno Nevada Transit Police and the Maryland Transit Administration also use microphones and surveillance cameras to spy on commuters. (Click here to find out how Las Vegas buses spy on passengers in real-time.)
Metro Transit Police Security Operations Control Center
In 2015, I warned everyone that buses were being equipped with ten DHS surveillance cameras that can identify commuters license plates and their faces.
Things have not gotten any better for commuters in fact they have gotten worse.
2018: The Rise of Spying Transit Police
I am calling 2018: “The Rise of Spying Transit Police” because the facts are undeniable.
I have posted nine disturbing examples that will hopefully motivate commuters to take action before it’s too late.
- The Greater Richmond Transit Center begins installing bus stop surveillance cameras that spy on passengers 24/7.
- Public Transit Becomes Another Tool for Total Government Surveillance.
- Public Transit Agencies want to make safety records a state secret.
- The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police uses full-body biometric scanners to watchlist commuters.
- BART secretly spied on commuters license plates and sent the information to ICE.
- Despite public opposition, BART moves forward on $20 million surveillance upgrades.
- The Chicago Transit Authority “one of the most comprehensive transit surveillance camera networks in the U.S.” recently upgraded 32,000 surveillance cameras.
- MBTA Transit Police surveillance towers.
- New Jersey wants to increase Transit Police funding to $242 million.
The rise of spying transit police should serve as a wake-up call to everyone. Don’t let DHS turn public transit into TSA-style pat-downs and searches.