Public Buses in Many U.S. Cities Will Soon Be Monitoring Private Conversations for the Government

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Watch your words in San Francisco

Government eavesdropping on private conversations will soon become a regular part of city bus travel across the United States.


From San Francisco to Baltimore, urban transportation agencies are purchasing audio surveillance systems for public buses. In some instances, the efforts have been paid for by grants from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


In San Francisco, transit officials recently approved a $5.9 million contract to install a new audio-enabled surveillance system on nearly 360 buses and trolley cars over four years, with an option for 613 more vehicles. The city was able to afford the expense thanks to funding from DHS.


The Maryland Transit Administration has decided to install microphones on 10 Baltimore buses, with plans to add 340 more buses to the initiative.


Other cities installing audio surveillance on their buses include Hartford, Connecticut, Eugene, Oregon and Columbus, Ohio, according to The Daily.


Privacy advocates have expressed concerns over the deployment of the technology on buses, saying the moves raise questions about the limits of legally protected privacy in public spaces. This mass government eavesdropping on the public will occur without any kind of court order or warrant.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Big Brother’s Listening: Government Officials Installing Audio Surveillance Systems on Public Buses (by Michael Brick, The Daily)

MTA Recording Bus Conversations to Eavesdrop on Trouble (by Candy Thomson, Baltimore Sun)

Air Force Drones Allowed to Record U.S. Citizens in U.S. (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

National Security Agency on Right to Spy on Everyone: Just Trust Us (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

High Court Let’s Telecoms Keep Immunity in NSA Spy Case (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Obama Administration Claims It Can’t Be Sued over Indiscriminate Wiretapping (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


marketexpert 8 years ago
i will not spend my time expressing my outrage at such invasion of privacy because what they are doing is LEGAL. it is done in the open, and is now a matter of public record. the question is, 'what can we do about it?'. i venture that nothing short of repealing the law, and that would take years of concerted effort. i have no hope for the future in regards to govt surveillance of citizen.

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