S.T.O.P. STOP Concerned About OMNY Roll-Out; Implores MTA to Protect Riders’ Privacy

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For Immediate Release

S.T.O.P. STOP Concerned About OMNY Roll-Out; Implores MTA to Protect Riders’ Privacy
(NEW YORK, NY, 5/30/2019) – Today, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), a New York-based privacy group, today implored the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to take steps to protect transit users’ privacy amid concerns about its roll-out of its new fare payment system: OMNY.  Beginning May 31st, riders will be able to pay their fare with near-field communication (NFC) enabled phones and devices. The MTA’s privacy policy and terms of service fail to explain how long trip data is retained, how easily it is shared with law enforcement, and whether it is linked with New York City’s Domain Awareness System.
SEE: MTA's New Fare Payment OMNY Launches Friday Amid Questions About Data Security & Durability
“We are alarmed that OMNY will expand the MTA’s tracking of everyday New Yorkers,” said Surveillance Technology Oversight Project Executive Director, Albert Fox Cahn. “Commuting is expensive already; it shouldn’t also cost us our privacy. Questions remain unanswered about how OMNY will collect, analyze, and retain our location and banking data. The MTA has told us that OMNY will track New Yorkers, but it hasn’t told us how that information will be safeguarded or when it will be shared with local, state, and even federal law enforcement. We implore the MTA to do better, and to limit how our data is tracked and shared. Until we have real privacy protections, OMNY will be another stop on the train ride to the surveillance state.”
Today’s statement came a month after S.T.O.P. challenged the MTA’s apparent placement of facial recognition systems in the Times Square / Port Authority subway station. S.T.O.P. also filed a freedom of information request, demanding details about the MTA’s facial recognition program.
SEE: S.T.O.P. Demands Times-Square Subway Facial Recognition Data
The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project STOP is a non-profit advocacy organization and legal services provider hosted by the Urban Justice Center. STOP litigates and advocates for privacy, fighting excessive local and state-level surveillance. Our work highlights the discriminatory impact of surveillance on Muslim Americans, immigrants, and communities of color.
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CONTACT: STOP Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn; 

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