BART police want to read your license plate

By Erin Baldassari : mercurynews – excerpt

OAKLAND — BART police have quietly purchased and installed two automatic license plate readers at the MacArthur station and hope to launch a pilot program with the aim of eventually installing the technology at every station.

BART Deputy Police Chief Ben Fairow, who plans to present the pilot program to the transit agency’s board of directors Thursday, said the automated license plate readers, a tool that has proliferated in police departments across the Bay Area, could be especially useful in solving property crimes. But privacy and civil rights advocates are concerned about how long BART will retain the collected data, how that data will be used, and who is being surveilled…

Under a new state law, Senate Bill 34, the department has to present the proposal to the public for comment but is otherwise free to implement the technology.

The lack of public oversight is a problem, said Tessa D’Arcangelew, a technology and civil liberties organizer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. D’Arcangelew would like to see BART police first complete a surveillance impact report, which would include a cost-benefit analysis, and look at potential harms of using the technology before the department decides to implement it… (more)



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