Bay Area transit system approves new surveillance-oversight policy

Rapid transit station empty at night.

Enlarge / MacArthur BART station in Oakland, as seen in 2006. (credit: Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

On Thursday, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors voted to approve a new policy that requires that it be notified if the local police department wishes to acquire new surveillance equipment.

BART is one of the largest mass transit agencies in northern California, with a system that stretches from the San Francisco International Airport, through San Francisco itself, across to Oakland, north to Antioch and south to Fremont—adjacent to Silicon Valley. This new policy puts it in line with a number of other regional cities that impose community oversight on the acquisition and use of surveillance technology. It is believed to be one of the first, if not the first, such policies for a transportation agency in the nation.

Santa Clara County, in addition to the cities of Oakland

Berkeley, Davis, and most recently, Palo Alto, have also passed similar measures.

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