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Big Brother on the Orange Line

Big Brother on the Orange Line

I got on the Orange Line (one of Boston's subway lines) yesterday, and noticed this little guy watching me. There was one watching the inside of each door, and one looking either direction down the car from the center (there are three doors on each side of the car, so 8 cameras total, per car). Not all cars have these cameras, so I imagine they are testing them in some cars, or slowly rolling them out. I noticed them in cars numbered 01214 and 01248.

I wonder what prompted this, or is it just part of the general trend to watch everyone, at all times? Does anyone watch this live? Is it even recorded? Is it just for Panopticon effect?

At a time when the MBTA is massively in debt, this kind of surveillance is not cheap, especially with 8 cameras per car. I don't see this helping catch fare evaders. Are violent crimes on the subway very common? I've never seen or heard of any (though I have certainly heard of shootings on the busses). I doubt the transit police would bother even reviewing the tapes (let alone, install the system) for non-violent crimes, like pick-pockets.

Is this meant to catch those people that molest women in crowded subways? How would the camera see what was happening if it was that crowded?

Or is this all just more money spent to give us the illusion of security and safety?

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