Walking Away From Security

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is trying to install a $300 million network of digital security cameras to protect its transit system. But the contractor -- Lockheed Martin Transportation Security Solutions -- wants out of the agreement because it claims the authority has caused too many delays, and that it has failed to give the company access to train tunnels to finish the work.

A lawsuit has been filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan by Lockheed, seeking permission to pull out of the installation contract. The lawsuit claims that much of the work remaining to be done includes adding security features to under-river tunnels used by the subway and the Long Island Rail Road.

Part of the problem is that Lockheed has not been able to pass the required software tests, and the metro authority says it has been working with the company to achieve even a minimum level of acceptable functionality. The authority also says the contractor has disclosed confidential, security-sensitive information about the lawsuit.

Authority officials also claim the high-tech camera system has not been able to detect an unattended object, like a backpack or briefcase, left on a station platform, which was apparently part of the promise. The state comptroller’s office also said that 400 of 1,400 software elements in the system failed in tests conducted last spring.

I don’t envy the court in hearing the facts and making a decision in this case, but let’s hope a solution can be found so security can come back to the forefront in the subway system, protecting customers and New Yorkers for a long time to come.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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