4th Amendment Over: Public Buses Adding Microphones To Record Conversations

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Believe it or not the article itself is actually a lot worse than even the title implies.  These microphones are in many cases being coupled with cameras in order to gain an even greater level of surveillance.  All with grants from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Now honestly, does anyone really think this is for Al Qaeda?  This is a great follow up to my piece from last week titled:  Coming to Your Car: Mandatory Black Boxes That Record Everything.

From Wired:

Transit authorities in cities across the country are quietly installing microphone-enabled surveillance systems on public buses that would give them the ability to record and store private conversations, according to documents obtained by a news outlet.


The systems are being installed in San Francisco, Baltimore, and other cities with funding from the Department of Homeland Security in some cases, according to the Daily, which obtained copies of contracts, procurement requests, specs and other documents.


The systems use cables or WiFi to pair audio conversations with camera images in order to produce synchronous recordings. Audio and video can be monitored in real-time.


In Eugene, Oregon, the Daily found, transit officials requested microphones that would be capable of “distilling clear conversations from the background noise of other voices, wind, traffic, windshields wipers and engines” and also wanted at least five audio channels spread across each bus that would be “paired with one or more camera images and recorded synchronously with the video for simultaneous playback.”

The 4th Amendment is dead.  I repeat, the terrorists won.

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Flakmeister's picture

Agreed, the terrorists won...

Texas Ginslinger's picture

Not like we need more reasons for not riding in a public bus...

john39's picture

skynet going on line....  for your protection of course.

Pladizow's picture

"The 4th amendment is dead"

No - It is America that is DEAD!

crusty curmudgeon's picture

What's the big deal? 

"I've done nothing wrong so I've got nothing to hide." 

Or how about this gem?

"As long as it makes me feel safer, I don't care what they do!"

trav777's picture

you think it's bad now?

Obama wants to equalize punishment rates for different races of kids in schools.  Disparate impact and all of that.  Surely, criminal prosecution rates are next for adjustment.

If you're asian, don't ever open your mouth, anywhere, ever.  You imagine how many asian kids they will have to suspend for chewing gum or dropping a pencil to get things all leveled out?

There's some ordinance that you are violating right now and don't even know it...everyone is.  And these bus cameras won't be used to hear racial epithets in these cities where gangs of worldstarhiphoppers beat up people without color...that will just be "random violence."  It'll eventually have to be used against the people who CARE about getting sent to prison but who aren't doing the marxists the favor of committing crimes at the same rates as protected classes.

blunderdog's picture

That's all well and good, but can you please explain for me how Negro stupidity results in American-brewed beer being so bland and lousy?

It'd be far more relevant.

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture



zerozulu's picture

After face recognition software, voice recognition software needs to remove some kinks. for your safety.

prodigious_idea's picture


Things that go bump's picture

If you put infrared LEDs into a baseball hat all those cameras can see is a brightness where your face belongs.  

zerozulu's picture

It used to be. Now software put a dot on the source of IR-LED to block the glare.

Things that go bump's picture

My next suggestion would be to assume the veil of a Saudi woman.  

Race Car Driver's picture

> Now software put a dot on the source of IR-LED to block the glare.

Yeah? So what happens when you light your fucking head on fire? They have to ID you with a fucking dentist - that's what.

Make 'em work for it.

Patriot Eke's picture

We're all terrorists now, so therefore who has really won?

Drachma's picture

Don't forget gait recognition software. All put together, that's some biometric signature. For your safety of course.

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture



crusty curmudgeon's picture

Before we all die off, we ought to tell the younger generation that the police motto used to be "To Protect and Serve" -- how quaint that was.

aka Gil's picture

All that $ to eavesdrop on Obama-loving hippies riding public transit in Eugene, OR. Un-fucking-believeable.

DaveyJones's picture

911 has flipped all the rules and the term "homeland security" is a cool Orwellian trick. The very thing that should be recorded, government transactions re: waterboards, corporate boards, and oil hoards are now protected from disclosure. Private conversations and anything inside the home is now fair game   

Things that go bump's picture

Yes.  When do you suppose they will start rounding up ter ro rist s?  Do you suppose they will let us bring a toothbrush?

MonsterBox's picture

Sure. How else are we to clean their toilets?

Excursionist's picture

Speaking of toilets...  I used to be halfway paranoid about urinals with autoflush sensors for detecting presence of bodies.  Thinking was along the lines of, "How hard would it be to install in those sensors minicams for recording my impressive hawg when it's out of its cage?"  I mean, who wouldn't want to see it and have a recording for posterity?  Now I have to worry about public transportation as well?  Good grief..  Just hope my BMW convertible doesn't break down.

NotApplicable's picture

Where I'm at, the jokes on them, as the buses are EMPTY!!

The idiots they hire to design the routes couldn't produce a coherent one if their life depended on it. Whether this is all due to them, or the political directives they follow, it's hard to tell.

They don't even run the buses both directions on ANY route, so it is impossible to go somewhere and return without riding the entire route. At least they got smart enough to approve advertising on the buses, so now you can't see that it is empty, as they've covered the windows with silk-screening.

But hey, other than spending (and losing) millions per year, how else could I have this valuable public service of rolling, polluting billboards?

zerozulu's picture

Fill in the blanks.


Congradulations to all fellow americans for making this country a ------------ country.

Intoxicologist's picture

"To Serve and Protect" has become "To Harass and Collect" if you ask me.

midtowng's picture

America might be dead, but its body has been reanimated and is now walking around eating brains.

ajax's picture



America was finished when "buses" became acceptable English:


It's "busses" and always shall be.  Oh how Ajax fusses !!

IllusionOfChoice's picture

Building Skynet can save our crumbling economy, I just know it!

johnQpublic's picture

having ridden public busses, i can assure you there is very little conversation to begin with, and such conversation as there is, is either mindless drivel, or concerns seating


the only thing i can think of that is worse than recording bus conversation , is listening to bus conversation

EscapeKey's picture

No human will listen to it, unless "keywords" are detected.

Joe A's picture

They don't really have any other purpose than creating a panopticon. Terrorist don't ride on busses except for putting explosives on them and I doubt that they will talk about it while on the bus.

Bananamerican's picture

"Hi! My name is Mahmood. I'm from Eugene, Oregon. Mind if I put this C4 under your seat?"


Abiotic Oil's picture

Government funded research studies show that 9.39% of terrorists prefer to plot their campaigns of mass destruction while riding public busses.  The remainder seem to prefer public restrooms.  Cameras and microphones coming to a toilet near you soon.

mkkby's picture

That's right. Which is why no eavsdropping technology will ever work.  The terrorists use their own code words like "deliver the cake".  All anyone will hear is normal sounding conversation.  It's all just a huge waste of money, except to the defense contractors who are milking us dry.

Lets_Eat_Ben's picture

You have a point, but the big picture is we are being increasingly watched and listened to. Those that seek this ubiquitous, big-brother BS, are now and have been for some time, working toward a constant surveillance of those they seek to keep enslaved and they will continue until we don't even have privacy inside our own minds.

spinone's picture

Agreed, buses must be a low priority for surveillance. So if they are finally getting down the list to buses, imagine what they are already monitoring.

NotApplicable's picture

Without discounting your point, I see this designed more as creating an acceptable avenue for "free money" flow. All municipalities are gearing up to become federal welfare queens. Transit systems have long been at the top of this list as it provides a shiny facade of "helping the poor," even though the services provided never live up to the hype. The real purpose though?

As always, Rent Seeking 101.

OPM? Gimme!

Bananamerican's picture

around our house we call it "The Trough" or simply "Government Cheese".

911 changed everything.

(rubs hands together like a fly)

johnQpublic's picture

spinone finally got where i was going with it


by the time they are bugging busses its because the only other place to eaves drop is on themselves

Boiling Frogs's picture

...and the frog gets a little warmer.

Larry Dallas's picture

IMHO, 9/11 was an inside job that would allow the .gov to easily overrule the 4th Ammendment under the banner of "terrorism".





Withdrawn Sanction's picture

It's kind of interesting TPTB feel the need to gin up excuses to emasculate the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Why not just steam-roller it like Lincoln did.  Perhaps their position is far more precarious than one might think.