News that the government is set to expand the nationwide installation of surveillance bugs on buses that record conversations serves as a reminder that similar systems are also being readied for street lights, along with a host of other devices.
“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.”
Michael Brick warns that the device will be able to, “transcribe the individual conversations of every passenger riding on a public bus,” at the behest of authorities adding that the DHS-funded project represents a horrendous affront to privacy laws.
However, as we have previously documented, buses are by no means the only place where big brother will not only be watching, but listening too.
As we first reported last year, high tech street lights with “homeland security applications” are now being installed in major U.S. cities.
A press release put out by Amerlux earlier this year announced the company’s partnership with Illuminating Concepts to further advance the rollout of ‘Intellistreets’. The announcement confirms that the street lights will have a number of “homeland security features” including a loudspeaker system that will be used to “engage captive audiences”.
Not only can the street lights, now being rolled out in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh with Department of Energy backing, act as surveillance cameras, Minority Report-style advertising hubs, and Homeland Security alert systems, they are “also capable of recording conversations,” according to a report by ABC 7.
According to the companies behind the system, Intellistreets spying hubs that double as street lights are expected to “become commonplace” not only on regular streets but also for “retail malls, sports venues, on college campuses, and in new construction.”
In addition to the Intellistreets system, gunshot detectors which have been installed in major cities for years are already recording public conversations.The ACLU responded by noting that, “It is not generally legal for law enforcement (or anyone else) to make audio recordings of conversations in which they are not a participant without a warrant.”
Televisions, computers and cellphones are also set to utilize technology that records conversations in order to bombard users with invasive targeted advertising. Verizon recently followed Google’s lead and officially filed a patent for a set-top box that will actively spy on Americans in their own homes.
In an article we published back in 2006, we highlighted the fact that, “Digital cable TV boxes, such as Scientific Atlanta, have had secret in-built microphones inside them since their inception in the late 1990′s.”
App providers on the Android network also now require users to agree to a condition that, “Allows the app to record audio with the microphone,” on cellphones and other ‘smart’ devices. “This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation,” states the text of the agreement.
Virtually every new technological device now being manufactured that is linked to the Internet has the capability to record conversations and send them back to a central hub. Is it really any wonder therefore that former CIA director David Petraeus heralded the arrival of the “smart home” as a boon for “clandestine statecraft”?
People are now willingly planting bugs on their own property with scant regard for basic privacy considerations, while the world around them is also being turned into a 24/7 surveillance grid that outstrips Orwell’s worst nightmare – all in the name of convenience, safety and security.