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MBTA to Add Thousands of Security Cameras, Including Inside Buses and Trains

The MBTA plans to double the number of cameras watching riders. Many riders say that's fine with them, but a civil liberties advocate urges caution.

At the lower bus way of busy , it's hard to find riders who are upset about the T's plans to double the number of security cameras.

Roslindale commuter Hector Serrano said there's balance between the safety the cameras are said to offer and the potential invasion of privacy.

"In life you have to give something to get something," he said under the watchful eyes of at least two overhead cameras.

The T plans to add thousands of cameras — they won't say exactly how many — via millions in federal grants, the Globe reports.

The new cameras will go in places they haven't been before, like inside buses and trains. One civil libertarian warns that the cameras haven't been proven to deter crime and that they come with a heavy cost of accepting a surveillance state.

In a blog post on boston.com, Kade Crockford of the American Civil Liberties Union says the T has told us nearly nothing about how it plans to use the cameras.

Will it implement advanced biometrics, allowing agents to identify you and pull up your file with a simple click? Will it use advanced video tracking analytics that allow monitors to search thousands of cameras for spontaneous gatherings, perhaps a crew of people walking to a bar, or an impromptu protest? We simply don't know.

But moving through the crowd of residents waiting for a bus today at Forest Hills, people from nurses heading home to Hyde Park to young men on their way home to Dorchester after a basketball camp, no one said they were worried about the new cameras.

The T touts cameras as helping solve crimes like a . A suspect was found after his image was caught on security cameras and publicized.

The T clarified that it doesn't plan to put cameras on existing trains — they'll only install them on new subway cars that are purchased in the future.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated with a clarification about cameras in subway cars.]

Sandie July 18, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I feel safer knowing that there are cameras, there are so many crazy people out there that having cameras will make them think twice before doing anything stupid.
Hillary July 18, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Noticed this morning that there were cameras mounted in my Orange Line car, without the requisite signs notifying riders they're under surveillance. Reported it via "Talk to the T" app.
donna c. July 19, 2012 at 10:43 AM
The cameras are useless if nobody is employed to watch the monitors which are hookedup at the cameras. Numerous times I've witnessed heroin and oxycontion activity at forest hills on a DAILY basis but no law enforcement officials n sight.
William Dawes July 19, 2012 at 01:28 PM
George Orwell was obviously a visionary.
Mark Tedrow July 19, 2012 at 04:54 PM
It's too bad the money can't be used to add police patrols at troublesome spots; better to deter crime in the first place than to solve it later.

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