LIRR To Add More Cameras On New Trains

In what will be a huge blow to the privacy rights of many, the MTA Long Island Rail ROad has announced it will be adding even more cameras on its new car fleet that is scheduled to debut in 2018. Here is more via Alfonso A. Castillo of Newsday:

LIRR officials upped the ante on rail security Monday and said they will increase the number of cameras to be installed in passenger compartments aboard their newest fleet of trains.

The change in specification was outlined for 236 M9 electric train cars, expected to begin rolling out in 2018. The Long Island Rail Road originally planned to outfit its new trains with seven cameras, six in the passenger compartments and one facing forward.

Now, officials say new cars will have 10 cameras, including eight inside passenger compartments — two more passenger cameras than the six originally outlined. The trains also will have a camera, with audio capabilities, in the engineer’s cab.

The passenger cameras will include: two in each vestibule (totaling four), two in the main passenger area, and one at each end of a car. The LIRR and its train manufacturer, Kawasaki Rail Car Inc., have not agreed on a price for the change.

The LIRR, which separately is moving forward on a project to retrofit most existing electric trains with cameras, indicated those older trains will have the same specifications. The plan marks the first time cameras are being installed on the railroad’s cars, officials have said.

Jim Allen, the LIRR’s director of new rolling stock, said the new number of cameras is necessary to get “100 percent coverage” of the train. LIRR officials have said the cameras will aid investigation of crimes and other incidents onboard trains, including customer slip-and-fall claims.

“We want to see every person that comes on or gets off the train, as well as the pockets of seats within the train,” Allen said at a Manhattan meeting of the MTA Board’s LIRR Committee.

In another change, video footage captured by the cameras will now be stored for 30 days, instead of the originally planned seven.

“Any cameras that go beyond that [NTSB recommendation] seem to go beyond pure safety and they’re now venturing into what your views of security are,” Ballan said.

Board member Charles Moerdler said he was “troubled” by what he believes is an invasion of LIRR riders’ privacy.

“You cannot travel on a train without a camera on you,” said Moerdler, who urged the LIRR to be transparent with its customers about its plans. “I do think you need to give the public notice that Big Brother is watching.”

Click here for the complete report.

Once again we have the excuse of safety & security to disguise the fact that Big Brother is once again here to further infringe on our civil liberties especially in terms of privacy.

I am 100% against this plan to have cameras in the passenger areas as we know at some point, the footage will be used for no good regardless of the claims that it will be closely guarded.

The agency should be able to install technology that would help enable it in any potential accident investigation without infringing on the privacy of the engineer as he or she does the job they are paid to do.

Hopefully riders will rally against the false tales of safety & security as their civil liberties will always be more important regardless of the spin that Big Brother supporters will throw your way.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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