Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Big Sis is listening

The era of private conversations on city buses — and even on San Francisco’s iconic streetcars — may be coming to an end.
Government officials are quietly installing sophisticated audio surveillance systems on public buses across the country to eavesdrop on passengers, according to documents obtained by The Daily. Plans to implement the technology are under way in cities from San Francisco to Hartford, Conn., and Eugene, Ore., to Columbus, Ohio.
Linked to video cameras already in wide use, the microphones will offer a formidable new tool for security and law enforcement. With the new systems, experts say, transit officials can effectively send an invisible police officer to transcribe the individual conversations of every passenger riding on a public bus.
But the deployment of the technology on buses raises urgent questions about the boundaries of legally protected privacy in public spaces, experts say, as transit officials — and perhaps law enforcement agencies given access to the systems — seem positioned to monitor audio communications without search warrants or court supervision.
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Anybody that assumes they have a Right to privacy in a public place is a fool. As soon as I walk out of my house I assume I'm on camera, and I always take precautions against eavesdropping, even in my own truck.
The best way to prevent eavesdropping? Shut your fucking mouth.