With Oakland Privacy catalyzing the turnout, members of the ACLU, the EFF, DSA, Oakland Privacy, APTP, East Bay For Everyone, AROC, and the public spoke at the Board meeting with essentially one voice against BART staff proposals for increased surveillance, Thursday, August 9th… and it worked, at least temporarily.
On a 7-2 vote, with directors Joel Keller and Robert Raburn opposed, the board delayed action on an advanced surveillance system that uses computer analytics to track passengers’ movements, video monitors at stations showing real-time feeds, a ban on panhandling in paid areas of stations, accelerating efforts to erect taller fences and other barriers to make it more difficult to ride BART without a ticket and adding evening shifts for fare inspectors.
Oakland privacy members Brian Hofer, Tracy Rosenberg, Lou Katz and Don Fogg spoke during public comment, reminding the board that a surveillance equipment regulation ordinance, approved in theory over a year and a half ago, had still not had its language finalized nor come before the board – and needed to before any new surveillance equipment was approved.
Selected videos from the 2+ hours of public comment in opposition can be seen here.
The devil, however, is in the suburbs, where, it seems, advocates of Orwellian state surveillance lurk, according to one Board member:
Those items will be taken up at a board meeting next month, that, upon Keller’s insistence, will be held at night in one of the district’s suburban cities. After more than two hours of testimony from dozens of people who were almost universally opposed to the more stringent safety measures, he suggested their opinions represented “only half the story.”
Let’s just remember, as this quote from the 24th century suggests
“The road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think.”
that those of us who watch the watchers can never sleep.