Hidden "anti-crime" mics are proliferating on US public transit, recording riders' conversations


Many people lack that option.

They are experiencing discrimination (along with unreasonable search)


I don’t know if I was lucky of if it’s a German/European law thingy but all service desks I had the “pleasure” to call had the option to refuse a recording.


It’s stunning to us in the North American wastes to hear about the civilized lives you Euros lead.

I finally caught Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next”, and it is a wonderful admonition to America to aspire to something better.

(most examples are European, but not all - Tunisia is held up as a surprisingly progressive place in terms of women’s health)


You always were. They just didn’t tell you.


How is this even legal in Maryland? As reported here at BB several times, MD residents can’t even record a cop in a public place with a cell phone camera without violating the state’s wiretapping laws.

I would think that if it’s illegal to record anyone in MD without their consent that some kind of warrant would be needed. But I guess I’d be wrong; there seem to be two sets of rules here…





Licence plate readers.


You can leave your car at home if you prefer. It won’t kill you to walk a few steps ; )


As a bicycle commuter, no problem. :slight_smile: But I was responding to @clevername saying they’ll drive to protect their privacy.

And in less dense locales, not driving becomes less of an option. And most alternatives become even more surveiled.


Facial recognition software.


Typical “them” question. :wink:



Those are old cases, the Supreme Court ruled that GPS trackers are searches in 2012 and therefore require the usual warrant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v.Jones(2012)

Hardly the same as a hidden mic.

You lack the ability to tell when a statement is intended to be humorous.


I remember a story from some years ago about one of the nordic countries experimenting with public audio surveillance as an anti-crime measure.

But they were aware of the privacy-invasion concerns, so they designed the microphones so that they would not record with sufficient fidelity to actually understand what was being said.

Instead, the system relied upon volume and voice stress analysis. It didn’t allow the authorities to eavesdrop on the content of conversations, but it did alert them if a bunch of people started shouting (fight) or screaming (accident, attack).

So: these US-style snooper programs aren’t just evil; they’re unnecessary.


Let them eat cake?


Humor, even dark humor, is very different from callous disregard. It is a mechanism for coping with things that we have limited personal effect on.


Also in police cars and locker rooms. If they have nothing to hide, then they have nothing to fear, right?


Aside from this being a terrible plan, the attitude of the people running it appears to be so awful that it should be sufficient basis to scrap the program:

Dennis Martin, former interim executive director of the agency, told the AP that the goal was to “deter criminal activity” and keep passengers safe.
But he refused to say how the audio data is stored, for how long, who reviewed it and when or how it was destroyed, saying only, “there are laws that govern that and we’re in compliance.”

Right. We won’t tell you what we are doing; but it’s definitely legal and already regulated. Plausible, truly.


A common phrase of the (German) police unions (and conservative politicians) is “privacy protection is offender protection”. You should have heard the “privacy intrusion!” outcry when the first German state ordered police officers to wear nameplates…