The Bay Area’s sixth surveillance transparency ordinance was voted in unanimously by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors this morning in Oakland. The process was not without controversy. It began in 2016, after reports that BART had installed license plate readers at MacArthur BART with no notice to the public. And it ended with a revelation that for a year after the BART Board had ordered the plate readers removed, and months after BART passed a sanctuary transit policy, they had remained in place, transmitting 57,000 license plate scans to the Homeland Security fusion center NCRIC, whose ALPR database has been accessed by ICE.
After a motion from BART director Debora Allen to kick the oversight measure from an ordinance to just an internal policy failed by a vote of 3-6, the Board passed the ordinance unanimously with a requirement that any temporary tests of surveillance equipment be noticed to the public at least 15 days prior to implementation and prohibiting any tests of facial recognition software, ending any secretive surveillance. The fully enforceable ordinance confers a private right of action for third parties to seek injunctive relief in the courts if the ordinance is violated.
BART will take up the remaining parts of their new security plan under the ordinance’s transparency requirements, beginning with the delayed suburban meeting at Pittsburg City Hall on the evening of September 27th.
Bay City News: BART Board Approves Surveillance Ordinance
CityLab: CityLab: When Transit Agencies Spy on Riders