Big Brother Is Listening On The Bus: Audio Surveillance Coming To Many U.S. Cities

Owen Poindexter
Buses in a number of medium to large cities, including San Francisco and Baltimore, are getting fitted for equipment that will record audio. Many privacy experts expressed serious concerns.

If you have a secret, don’t say it on a bus: new surveillance systems are picking up audio, in addition to the video, that is already standard, according to a report from The Daily. Buses from San Francisco to Baltimore are being fitted with audio devices, and many privacy and civil rights advocates are not pleased.

“This is very shocking,” said Anita Allen, a privacy law expert at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s a little beyond what we’re accustomed to. The adding of the audio seems more sensitive.”

Plans to add audio surveillance to buses are already underway in at least seven medium to large cities, and it is happening with little public attention. Before long, we may have forgotten when the government didn’t listen to your bus conversations.

“It’s one thing to post cops, it’s quite another to say we will have police officers in every seat next to you, listening to everything you say,” said Neil Richards, a professor at Washington University School of Law. He equated the bus surveillance to a “policeman in every seat with a photographic memory who can spit back everything that was said.”