Passenger Identity Checks

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Passenger Identity Checks

Postby octr202 » Sat May 22, 2004 5:09 pm

Given all the talk about security measures and photography restrictions on other systems in the Northeast (if you want to know how tough being a railfan can be, just read the NJT forum), I see that the T is not going to be outdone. Apparently we will now have random ID checks on trains and in stations:
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Postby SbooX » Sat May 22, 2004 6:07 pm

"The training is part of the MBTA's overall plan for enhancing safety and security for the hundreds of thousands of people who use our system every day," Pesaturo wrote in the e-mail. "Law enforcement personnel are being trained to detect whether a person's or persons' actions are an indication of any level of risk or threat to the transit system . . . and to then take appropriate steps based on the observed behavior.

In other words, commuting while Arab is about to become a crime on the T. This is insanity and it must be stopped.

If there are going to be any sort of random ID checks, or checkpoints that one must pass through I'm likely to not comply. A line needs to be drawn somewhere, and I'm dissapointed that I haven't drawn it sooner.

Without knowing all the details I can't completely condemn the program though. For example, if the policy is only to card person carrying (or leaving behind) large packages, or the person in question gives an actual reason for someone to get suspicious (being arab is not a valid reason), then I could possibly support this. Considering all the Orweillian crap going on at the T lately though, this is likely taking us one step closer to 1984.


Postby TomNelligan » Sat May 22, 2004 9:15 pm

Since I have nothing to hide when I'm riding the T, I will have no problem producing ID at the request of a police officer. Why should people who *aren't* carrying bombs strapped around their waists be upset about this? It seems to me that the policy simply gives police the authority to approach individuals who may be acting in an odd or suspicious manner, and as a rider who would prefer not to get blown up I fully support that. I suspect that there are a lot of people in Madrid who wish that someone had been checking out commuters on the morning of 3/11. And is it completely unreasonable to anticipate that Al Qaeda is planning something big in the US to attempt to disrupt the 2004 elections?
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Postby jrc520 » Sat May 22, 2004 9:36 pm

It's simple. I have nothing to hide either, but I don't enjoy random checks. Maybe you need to get a copy of 1984 and read it. I have, and let me tell you, this sort of thing sounds familiar. It's harassment, plain and simple. I know that if you really want to do something, and you want to do it right, you can do it. Randomly stopping people doesn't help. It simply hurts, since you take people who could be on the lookout and place them on a stupid witch hunt. It's happened before, and It's happening now. I'm being VERY nice at this time, because I could flame you into oblivion. But this isn't USENET, though I think you are there as well, in which case I will just have to flame you. Don't support these things. Even if you don't have anything to hide, fight it.
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Sat May 22, 2004 11:46 pm

If there are going to be any sort of random ID checks, or checkpoints that one must pass through I'm likely to not comply.

That's right, same here. Instead, I'll just tell them a bogus name, and I'll explain to them that I lost my ID, simple as that. They shouldn't lock you up for that alone, FYI. It's not like driving and trying to lead authorities in a chase, but this is too absurd. I don't think I should be treated like if I were doing 72 on a 45mph zone.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Sun May 23, 2004 12:15 am

Like I stated before about the closing of trash receptacles..........this is just another way of showing that the terrorists are acheiving their goals, which is more than just blowing things and people up, but rather to make us live in fear. and by doing all of thses random searches and banning railfan photography, etc........ it's pretty safe to say that they are winning seeing that the govt is scared and making everyone else suffer by being harassed while they go about there own normal routine.

just another senseless idea in my opinion
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Postby fm535 » Sun May 23, 2004 7:12 am

I think the random ID's are somewhat over the top as well. I think possibly bomb-sniffing dogs around the toll takers and that area would be a bit more efficient, and stop toll-jumpers, too! I just think whoever referenced 1984 had the right idea. On the TV news the other night they announced the profiling was going to be nutz! They said the police watch out for people with clenched fists, possibly for a bomb-switch in the palms of their hands. I am ex-military, and during basic training, they taught us to walk with our hands closed like we are carrying a roll of quarters, for proper technique marching. I never stopped doing it, and 25 years later, it looks somewhat like I have a clenched fist while walking. Somehow, I think there are alternatives other than to give up and live in a terrorized state!

And the bomb-proof trash receptacles are a joke in all but a few stations. Braintree and JFK have wide-open plastic barrels.

Postby dcm74 » Sun May 23, 2004 8:01 am

Maybe if you're stopped for an ID check you should ask the MBTA officer to produce their identity to prove they really are an MBTA officer. That way you also have a name and badge number when you file a harassment complaint.
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Postby ggardei » Sun May 23, 2004 12:58 pm

If a police officer (mbta or not) asks to see my ID, I will provide it. Refusing to provide an id will only make the officers more suspicious. That could become a problem.

Postby Zaphod » Sun May 23, 2004 1:12 pm

Will they say "Papers, please?" in a Russian accent when they ask you for your ID?

Postby jrc520 » Sun May 23, 2004 3:18 pm

Da tsoveriyachi!

For those who are not Russian inclinded:
Yes Comrade!

I too would give them ID, but I would ask for a badge number, as well as asking why I was stopped. If anything, I'm sure I would spot more than they would.
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Survey says...

Postby SbooX » Sun May 23, 2004 8:26 pm

Apparently the papers are divided about how the public perceives the program. The Globe says yay!, while the Herald says nay! Looks like opinion here is largely against the scheme. I have to admit, I'm shocked there isn't more publicity about this. Google News only returns a few articles. (It hasn't found one of the articles I linked to yet, so maybe more have already been posted.) This is the sort of policy change that needs widespread vigorous public debate. It can not be allowed to slip in to being overnight.

Postby Xplorer2000 » Mon May 24, 2004 10:19 am

This is one of those things that just screams "Police State"....and should not be allowed for the plain and simple reason that the M.B.T.A Police have such an excreable record when it comes to civil rights violations to begin with(not to insult those who are good cops who are just trying to do their jobs, but there are some bad ones out there..) ,and now they're being handed virtual carte blanche to randomly shakedown anyone, anywhere on the T , at any time, just Because!!!... The potential for abuse here is astounding, and I am soooooo relieved that they are getting professional advice from the Israeli military/police, on how to conduct these stops....(cue sarcasm mode here :wink: ).....
At least they haven't issued them those silenced MP-5s like the State Troopers carry, although automatic weapons probably are next somewhere down the line. JRC, when you mentioned "1984", you hit the nail on the head And the scariest part is that this is happening in a fairly Liberal state like Massachusetts......I'd hate to see what they'd try to pull in a state like Texas.......

Postby SbooX » Mon May 24, 2004 10:27 am

Xplorer2000 wrote:And the scariest part is that this is happening in a fairly Liberal state like Massachusetts......I'd hate to see what they'd try to pull in a state like Texas.......

In Texas, only Communists and gays use public transportation.


Postby Ron Newman » Mon May 24, 2004 10:30 am

I see several problems here:

The MBTA has not notified passengers in any way that they are required to carry IDs. There is nothing about this on the MBTA web site, nor have I seen any posters or leaflets on this subject.

The MBTA should not adopt such a policy change without several months of public hearings. This has at least as much impact on the public as station redesigns or bus service changes.
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