(Image Source: The Daily)

 

BY HARUMENDHAH HELMY

ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


You’re probably used to camera surveillance on public buses. But now -- some cities throughout the U.S. have increased their surveillance efforts, going forward with plans to install audio equipment to record passengers’ conversations on public buses.
 

Transit officials in at least seven cities, including Baltimore and San Francisco, have requested microphones that will work with the cameras on their buses. The levels of sophistication differ, but the one in Eugene, Oregon, for example, is reportedly asking for a system that’s capable of separating individual conversations.

 

Wired breaks down how the systems will work.
- Four to six camera/mic combinations per bus
- Audio conversations will be paired with camera images to produce synchronous recordings.
- Audio and video can be monitored in real-time, but officials can also review them later, as recordings are stored on blackbox-like devices, generally for 30 days
 

The Daily reports officials say the project increases security for both workers and passengers and is a useful way to resolve complaints against transit employees.
 

But the system also raises questions about privacy in public spaces, because “transit officials — and perhaps law enforcement agencies … seem positioned to monitor audio communications without search warrants or court supervision.” Or, as one law professor puts it, it’s as if “‘you have a policeman in every seat with a photographic memory who can spit back everything that was said.’”
 

Forbes’ Kashmir Hill called up officials in the two cities that have already had the audio surveillance running: Baltimore and Athens, Georgia.
 

The mics have evidently been on in Athens for more than five years — and the official said they “only pull the audio/video if it’s required for an investigation. It’s not being monitored in real time.”
 

Federal money is helping fund some of these projects, which cost up to millions of dollars. In San Francisco, for example, the Department of Homeland Security is paying for the entire thing.

 

US Cities Quietly Install Audio Surveillance on Public Buses

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Dec 11, 2012

US Cities Quietly Install Audio Surveillance on Public Buses

(Image Source: The Daily)

 

BY HARUMENDHAH HELMY

ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


You’re probably used to camera surveillance on public buses. But now -- some cities throughout the U.S. have increased their surveillance efforts, going forward with plans to install audio equipment to record passengers’ conversations on public buses.
 

Transit officials in at least seven cities, including Baltimore and San Francisco, have requested microphones that will work with the cameras on their buses. The levels of sophistication differ, but the one in Eugene, Oregon, for example, is reportedly asking for a system that’s capable of separating individual conversations.

 

Wired breaks down how the systems will work.
- Four to six camera/mic combinations per bus
- Audio conversations will be paired with camera images to produce synchronous recordings.
- Audio and video can be monitored in real-time, but officials can also review them later, as recordings are stored on blackbox-like devices, generally for 30 days
 

The Daily reports officials say the project increases security for both workers and passengers and is a useful way to resolve complaints against transit employees.
 

But the system also raises questions about privacy in public spaces, because “transit officials — and perhaps law enforcement agencies … seem positioned to monitor audio communications without search warrants or court supervision.” Or, as one law professor puts it, it’s as if “‘you have a policeman in every seat with a photographic memory who can spit back everything that was said.’”
 

Forbes’ Kashmir Hill called up officials in the two cities that have already had the audio surveillance running: Baltimore and Athens, Georgia.
 

The mics have evidently been on in Athens for more than five years — and the official said they “only pull the audio/video if it’s required for an investigation. It’s not being monitored in real time.”
 

Federal money is helping fund some of these projects, which cost up to millions of dollars. In San Francisco, for example, the Department of Homeland Security is paying for the entire thing.

 

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