Surveillance Transparency At BART



The moment on when BART formally enacted the sixth surveillance transparency ordinance in California, the ninth in the country and the first by a transit district.


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.

KRON: BART Approves New Surveillance Ordinance To Enhance Passenger Safety

ABC: After Surveillance Camera Controversy; BART Adopts New Privacy Guidelines

Mercury News: BART Adopts Transparency and Accountability Policy for Surveillance Technology

SF Chronicle: Bowing To Privacy Concerns, BART To Hold Hearing Before Expanding Surveillance

SF Examiner: BART Approves Surveillance Policy Requiring Public Review and Privacy Protections

Bay City News: BART Board Approves Surveillance Ordinance

Ars Technica: Bay Area Transit System Approves New Surveillance Oversight Policy

CityLab: CityLab: When Transit Agencies Spy on Riders




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