The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) wants to make subway cars a little less private.
They announced this week that every subway car across the city would be fitted with two cameras per car by 2025. One hundred cars have already received their cameras earlier this year when they ran a pilot program to test it out.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul shared that the hope is to help travelers feel safer, knowing there’s an oversight. It’s also a direct reaction to several high-profile crimes that have recently occurred in the subway system, including the rape of a tourist, a mass shooting, and more.
But not everyone is happy about the plan. Privacy advocates suggest that it’s a gross overreach that will violate people’s privacy.
Albert Fox Cahn, the founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), a nonprofit aimed at reigning digital surveillance in New York, explained, “It’s awful. This just seems like a terrible surveillance PR stunt just to boost ridership.”
Hochul was already prepared for this argument and explained in her announcement, “You think Big Brother’s watching you on the subways? You’re absolutely right. That is our intent, to get the message out that we are going to be having surveillance of activities on the subway trains and that is going to give people great peace of mind. And if you’re concerned about this, the best answer is don’t commit any crimes on the subways,” she said. “Then you won’t have any problems.”
She added, “This is all about safety, the safety of our riders and letting would-be criminals know that should you harm any other passenger in any way, you will be observed, you’ll be caught, and you’ll be prosecuted.”