Subway Surveillance on Track

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is getting set to announce their subway security plan. And from the details reported in today's Times, the MTA appears to be basing their $200 million effort on the smart surveillance systems we've profiled in places like Chicago and the port of Corpus Christi.chicago_camera_wall.jpg

Lockheed Martin will lead a team of contractors in creating an "integrated electronic security system" that will include closed-circuit television cameras, motion detectors and "intelligent video" software that can automatically determine if a package has been left on a train or if a person is in a restricted area.
The MTA could have gone the London route, stringing tons of cameras throughout the subway, and only paying careful attention to the footage once something bad went down. Instead, by using software to detect suspicious behavior, New York transit officials seem to want their thousand new cameras and three thousand electronic sensors to serve as deterrents, tipping cops off to potential bad guys before they act.The system is a long, long time in coming. Back in 2002, the MTA was given $591 million to shore up New York's mass transit security. As of last month, it had spent just $30 million of that. Finally, the London tube bombings shamed the MTA into making a move.THERE'S MORE: Bruce Schneier thinks the subway cams are a waste, dealing with the "'movie plot threat'" of the moment... The terrorists bombed a subway in London, so we need to defend our subways."
New York City officials are [also] erring on the side of caution. If nothing happens, then it was only money. But if something does happen, they won't keep their jobs unless they can show they did everything possible. And technological solutions just make everyone feel better.
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