If you find yourself aboard a suburban train in the not too distant future and you get the feeling you’re being watched, chances are you're right.
Sydney’s new fleet of Waratah suburban trains, to be introduced later next year, will feature no less than 7000 IP cameras, or about 98 cameras per train.
The cameras, part of a multi-million deal for Axis Communications and partner Pacific Communications, will be networked to allow on-board train guards to monitor the full length and breadth of the each carriage.
A key feature of the cameras will be built-in image tampering which enables camera operators to be notified when a camera has been blocked by an object such as paper or chewing gum.
The cameras also utilise progressive scan technology which provides full resolution of moving objects with no distortion, according to the company.
According to Wai King Wong, Australian county manager at Axis Communications, the 209MFD-R model cameras will record 24/7 creating about 1TB of data per day per train, which will be stored locally on each train.
Over the course of a year and across all trains the data generated will amount to roughly 35,770TB of video.
Wong was unable to comment on how data would be transferred from each train, stored and managed. RailCorp had not returned requests for information by time of publication.
Despite the potential privacy concerns such a number of cameras and volume of data on commuters presented, Wong said the primary purpose of the 7000 cameras was commuter safety.
“Train commuters safety is the main priority and 98 cameras provides ample coverage to ensure their physical security is well monitored,” he said.
According to a RailCorp spokesperson, the approximately 1TB of CCTV data filmed daily by the new cameras will be securely stored on the Waratah trains for 30 days then deleted unless it is required for investigation purposes.
"As with existing CCTV data on trains, data that is retrieved for investigations will be done so in accordance with the NSW Evidence Act 1995," the spokesperson said. "Retrieved footage for investigation purposes will be maintained by the relevent Authority(ies)."