Surveillance software that uses artificial intelligence to spot people evading fares has been quietly rolled out to some of New York City’s subway stations and is poised to be introduced to more by the end of the year, according to public documents and government contracts obtained by NBC News.
The system, which the city and its transit authority haven’t previously acknowledged by name, uses third-party software that its maker has touted as a way to engage law enforcement to help crack down on fare evasion.
The system was in use in seven subway stations in May, according to a report on fare evasion published online by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which oversees New York City’s public transportation. The MTA expects that by the end of the year, the system will expand by “approximately two dozen more stations, with more to follow,” the report says. The report also found that the MTA lost $690 million to fare evasion in 2022.
Tim Minton, the MTA’s communications director, said the videos are stored on the MTA’s servers and are kept “for a limited period.” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced last year that the city’s transit systems had more than 10,000 surveillance cameras.
The use of the software adds to what some privacy advocates see as a growing surveillance apparatus developing in New York City.
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