Surveillance Cameras to be Installed in Washington D.C. Metro System

metrobusdcIn Washington D.C., the Metro Transit system’s trains, buses, and subway stations are now being equipped with surveillance cameras. The Metro system is receiving $28 million from the Department of Homeland Security to fund this project, most of this amount will be used for installing the cameras on mass transit vehicles.

Metro Transit Police Deputy Chief Jeff said that the cameras would mostly be used for crowd control purposes. However, the cameras are also there to help get forensic evidence for police if the need should arise. DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban told the Post that the cameras will also allow operators to watch for suspicious behavior that may indicate pre-operational terrorist planning or worse. Greg Hull, director of security and operations for the industry group, American Public Transportation Association, said cameras were vital to piecing together what transpired after the 2004 Madrid train bombing and the 2005 London attacks against its metro system.

There are those who are opposed to the idea of having surveillance cameras installed in public transportation systems. However Delinksi does not agree, he has counter-argued by saying that when traveling via public transportation people cannot have reasonable expectations of privacy. Either way, it will take several years until the cameras are installed and each installation is tested.

(Via Security News)

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    Government video cameras are dangerous for two reasons. (1) They change the nature of
    policing by taking power away from citizens, and (2) they eliminate the possibility for
    privacy out of doors.

    (1) Video surveillance radically strengthens the power of the state. Without cameras,
    victims or nearby people who empathize with victims are the ones who report crimes. This
    is an incredibly important natural safeguard on police power, because people can choose
    to not report violations of unjust laws. This is why black people could sometimes escape
    slavery, unions could organize when they were still illegal, and people today can smoke
    marijuana without going to prison. Video cameras destroy this natural safeguard. When the
    government records all activities outside of the home, the state can pick and choose
    which crimes it wants to go after, and it can easily prosecute innocent people who
    normally would have been protected by their fellow citizens.

    That shift is incredibly important. Any governmental abuses will be greatly intensified
    when the police see everything outside homes. The power to turn in criminals should stay
    with victims and concerned citizens. Otherwise governmental abuses will become much
    harder to combat.

    (2) Video surveillance makes life worse by eliminating privacy. While misinformed people
    love to say that we have no expectation of privacy in public, this is not correct. We
    always have had privacy in public. Public property includes every street, every park,
    every beach, and nearly every place you spend time when you are not at home. Almost
    everywhere, it has been possible to be by yourself outdoors without people watching.
    People have always been able to meet with a group of friends without policemen watching
    them. Also, being seen on the street by strangers and then forgotten is radically
    different than having all your waking actions recorded by the police. Even the privacy of
    the home is in jeopardy, because cameras can record who is entering which dwellings,
    threatening free association. With widespread video surveillance, being alone out of
    doors is a thing of the past and an essential part of human life disappears.

  • a

    Government video cameras are dangerous for two reasons. (1) They change the nature ofpolicing by taking power away from citizens, and (2) they eliminate the possibility forprivacy out of doors.(1) Video surveillance radically strengthens the power of the state. Without cameras,victims or nearby people who empathize with victims are the ones who report crimes. Thisis an incredibly important natural safeguard on police power, because people can chooseto not report violations of unjust laws. This is why black people could sometimes escapeslavery, unions could organize when they were still illegal, and people today can smokemarijuana without going to prison. Video cameras destroy this natural safeguard. When thegovernment records all activities outside of the home, the state can pick and choosewhich crimes it wants to go after, and it can easily prosecute innocent people whonormally would have been protected by their fellow citizens.That shift is incredibly important. Any governmental abuses will be greatly intensifiedwhen the police see everything outside homes. The power to turn in criminals should staywith victims and concerned citizens. Otherwise governmental abuses will become muchharder to combat.(2) Video surveillance makes life worse by eliminating privacy. While misinformed peoplelove to say that we have no expectation of privacy in public, this is not correct. Wealways have had privacy in public. Public property includes every street, every park,every beach, and nearly every place you spend time when you are not at home. Almosteverywhere, it has been possible to be by yourself outdoors without people watching.People have always been able to meet with a group of friends without policemen watchingthem. Also, being seen on the street by strangers and then forgotten is radicallydifferent than having all your waking actions recorded by the police. Even the privacy ofthe home is in jeopardy, because cameras can record who is entering which dwellings,threatening free association. With widespread video surveillance, being alone out ofdoors is a thing of the past and an essential part of human life disappears.