The Rise of Spying Transit Police

Today’s public transit police departments offer a frightening glimpse into the future of commuter surveillance.

The feds, with the willing cooperation of state and local law enforcement, are building a giant surveillance network on the U.S. transportation system.

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.

In 2016, I warned commuters that the NJ Transit secretly installed microphones and cameras to spy on commuters. Privacy advocates called it a “monumental invasion of privacy.”

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.)

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.

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.

  1. ) The Greater Richmond Transit Center begins installing bust stop surveillance cameras that spy on passengers 24/7.
  2. ) Public Transit Becomes Another Tool for Total Government Surveillance.
  3. ) Public Transit Agencies want to make safety records a state secret
  4. ) The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police uses full-body biometric scanners to watchlist commuters.
  5. ) BART secretly spied on commuters license plates and sent the information to ICE.
  6. ) Despite public opposition, BART moves forward on $20 million surveillance upgrades.
  7. ) The Chicago Transit Authority one of the most comprehensive transit surveillance camera networks in the U.S.”recently upgraded 32,000 surveillance cameras.
  8. ) MBTA Transit Police surveillance towers
  9. ) New Jersey wants to increase Transit Police funding to $242 million.

Americans used public transportation 10.1 billion times last year. Which means that the Border PatrolAmtrak, and Transit Police spied on billions of commuters.

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.

This article was originally published at MassPrivatel.

About Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.

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