The LA Times has reported that the MBTA transit police have declared that all public transport users will be stopped and searched at “Transit Watch” checkpoints and that anyone declining a search will be ordered to leave the station.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are now increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass transit locations around the US.
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“We are not the Airport Security Administration,” TSA air marshal Ray Dineen said to the L.A. Times. “We take that transportation part seriously.” However, in response, Fred H. Cate, a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, who writes on privacy and security says "It's a great way to make the public think you are doing something. It's a little like saying, 'If we start throwing things up in the air, will they hit terrorists?' ''
The move comes at a time when the American government is actively encouraging its citizens to use public transport rather than personal vehicles, a move that is being copied by governments around the world: for example
is planning on banning cars in its city center over the next coming years. Hamburg, Germany
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