MTA Camera

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Group Claims MTA Has Facial Recognition Cameras In Subways

April 22, 2019 - 6:00 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The MTA insists cameras in the city’s busiest subways stations are there to make sure riders do not skip the fare, and nothing else, after a group claimed the transit agency was rolling out facial recognition software without the public’s knowledge.

The cameras in question are located inside the Times Square-Port Authority station, according to WCBS 880’s Mack Rosenberg.

They recently sparked attention on social media when a commuter claimed to see a screen with squares around each person’s face who entered the station.

“If the MTA is deploying facial recognition in our subways.  There would be an enormous breach of privacy,” said Albert Cahn, of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.).

The group on Monday filed a Freedom of Information Law request, asking the MTA for data from those cameras.

Cahn says they want to know what information the MTA wants from those surveillance stations and who the information is being shared with.

“We've seen facial recognition tried on the bridges and tunnels through a pilot project that was launched last year.  And that project failed, because they couldn't even find a single face that matched,” he said.

The MTA maintains that the cameras are not being used for facial recognition. The agency says if a person sees themselves on a monitor, they are less likely to skip the fare.