PRESS RELEASE: DCFCA Passes Resolution Opposing Rider Surveillance As DDOT Moves Forward With Dangerous Program

WASHINGTON, DC – Last night, the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations (DCFCA) unanimously passed a resolution opposing the use of Mobility Data Specification (MDS) in our nation’s capital. DCFCA’s action showcases continued opposition to plans by the District of Department of Transportation (DDOT) to track the personal movements of District residents and visitors using MDS technology. The resolution cites “serious concerns about the risks” of MDS and DDOT’s failure to seek public input.

Using MDS, mobility companies will soon be required to provide DDOT with access to real-time rider location data in order to receive operating permits. This includes precise GPS coordinates of where and when riders start their trips, where they end up, and the route they took. DDOT adopted MDS in February without notice or the opportunity for public comment, drawing criticism from groups like ACLU of the District of Columbia and the Center for Democracy & Technology.

“Surveillance tools like MDS put District residents at risk,” said DCFCA President Graylin Presbury. “We’re concerned that DDOT is moving forward without public input, and without explaining why or how it would use real-time location data to meet basic transportation needs,” Presbury added.

This follows similar concerns raised by Southern Christian Leadership Conference D.C. Bureau Chief Kevin Kimble in a recent letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser. Kimble noted “DDOT’s seeming disregard for the program’s potentially harmful impact on equity, privacy, and safety in our most vulnerable neighborhoods” and expressed alarm that “DDOT has shown almost no transparency around its development of MDS.”

On the resolution, Communities Against Rider Surveillance (CARS) spokesperson Keeley Christensen said, “This vote is yet another signal to DDOT and the D.C. Council that Washingtonians oppose rider surveillance. It’s wrong to continue implementing MDS with no clear purpose and no input from groups like DCFCA. I urge District officials to put a stop to it and instead prioritize the privacy and safety of the community.”

The full resolution passed by DCFCA can be viewed here.

About CARS

Communities Against Rider Surveillance (CARS) is a coalition of concerned citizens, privacy and civil liberties advocates, and transportation innovators committed to making our streets safer and more manageable while protecting rider privacy. CARS works to provide the facts and set the record straight about Mobility Data Specification (MDS) tracking programs that allow local governments to track and direct people’s personal movements. To learn more about MDS, its community impact, and CARS, visit our website at or click here.