The era of private conversations on city buses — and even on San Francisco’s iconic streetcars — may be coming to an end. 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.Linked to video cameras already in wide use, the microphones will offer a formidable new tool for security and law enforcement. With the new systems, experts say, transit officials can effectively send an invisible police officer to transcribe the individual conversations of every passenger riding on a public bus.
via BIG BROTHER’S LISTENING – The Daily.
DailyTech – First Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that Citizens Can Videotape Police.
This speaks for itself and is a welcome ruling. The fundamental question is: Are we citizens or consumers? Is the State a private corporation, a separate person or a collective entity that represents taxpayer interests? It is unfortunate that these questions have to be tried in court.
Having said this, it is understandable that an officer might balk at being videotaped without his or her consent while exercising the duties of the office. After all, officers are human beings who have feelings also, just like the rest of us.
However, there is a reason they are considered *public* officials. As such, the do not act on their own behalf after they don a uniform. They act on behalf of their employer. As a former city official, I can vouch for the fact that one’s life is not one’s own. As soon as one accepts to earn a living through tax dollars, one is held to a higher standard of conduct, or at least should be.
Do police officers represent all of us, including the children that walk to school? If our society is built on the concept of citizenship rather than consumerism, the answer would be a resounding YES. If society sees children as mere consumers, their interests might not be represented by the blue uniform. After all, children do not personally pay taxes, which means they do not contribute to the tax base that pays for the blue uniforms.
Let’s pray for higher ideals – and collective sanity – to prevail.