Surveillance Transparency At BART

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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.

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BART License Plate Scans Sent To DHS While Board Passed Sanctuary Transit Policy

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At the same time the BART Board of Directors was creating a Sanctuary Transit policy, the mass transit system was sending 57,000 license plate scans from devices installed at the MacArthur BART station to the Department of Homeland Security’s Norcal fusion center and their ALPR database which ICE can access.

The Board had previously instructed BART staff not to proceed with license plate reader technology at the MacArthur station, after word leaked out about an undisclosed pilot program. But despite the board’s instructions, the license plate readers remained in operation and uploading tens of thousands of scans to DHS in what BART described as a mistake to the East Bay Times.

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City of Palo Alto Passes Surveillance Transparency Ordinance #5

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Welcome to the Bay Area’s fifth local surveillance transparency ordinance in the City of Palo Alto, which approved their ordinance on an 8-1 City Council vote on the evening of September 20.

The heart of Silicon Valley began this movement in June of 2016 by passing the nation’s first municipal surveillance transparency ordinance and now Palo Alto has followed in Santa Clara County’s footsteps.

Congratulations and let the transparency begin!

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