BART Board’s Vote on Surveillance Technology Protects the Privacy of BART Riders; Promotes Public Safety

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SAN FRANCISCO —  Today, the BART Board of Directors passed a surveillance oversight ordinance that requires public notice and debate prior to seeking funding, acquiring equipment, or otherwise moving forward with surveillance technology proposals. BART joins Palo Alto, Davis, Oakland, Berkeley, and Santa Clara County by passing legislation that puts communities in control of police surveillance.

The ACLU of Northern California, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) SF, and Oakland Privacy, issued the following statements in response:

“This is a victory for every person who rides BART,” said Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney. “This surveillance ordinance holds BART accountable to the community it serves and gives riders a seat at the table. People should be free to move around the Bay Area without being secretly policed by dangerous surveillance technology. We commend the willingness of BART leadership to find common ground, and we look forward to working together to build a city that we can all feel safe living in.”

“Today’s decision will help BART staff and law enforcement officials begin to earn back the community’s trust by asking us for feedback about how they navigate the city,” said Sameena Usman, Government Relations Coordinator of CAIR SF. “Further, the passage of this ordinance will empower community members to have a say in the spaces they occupy -- which will increase public safety in and of itself. And under an administration committed to targeting sanctuary cities like San Francisco, it will protect our civil liberties at the local level, which is crucial to the safety of our most marginalized communities.”

“We applaud the BART Board and Staff for recognizing the concerns caused by mass surveillance,” said Brian Hofer, a member of Oakland Privacy. “By implementing rules to govern the use of invasive equipment, BART can ensure adequate protection of our civil liberties, while still ensuring public safety.”

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