Baltimore Begins Recording All Conversations on City Buses

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
11/07/2012
       
Baltimore Begins Recording All Conversations on City Buses

The Maryland Transit Administration has installed microphones in 10 buses to record passenger conversations. The microphones -- which the city plans to install in 330 more buses by next summer — are attached to the existing video surveillance system monitoring the city’s public transportation.

When it comes to warrantless surveillance of citizens, Baltimore city managers apparently don’t think the federal government should have all the fun.

In a story published in October in the Baltimore Sun, it was reported that the Maryland Transit Administration has installed microphones in 10 buses to record passenger conversations. The microphones -- which the city plans to install in 330 more buses by next summer — are attached to the existing video surveillance system monitoring the city’s public transportation.

"We want to make sure people feel safe, and this builds up our arsenal of tools to keep our patrons safe," said Ralign Wells, MTA administrator, in the Baltimore Sun<a/em> article. "The audio completes the information package for investigators and responders,” he added.

Per Wells’ statement to the Sun, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler approved the surveillance scheme.

According to coverage of the story provided by Natural News, Gansler’s ruling was based on a state appeals court decision from 2000 wherein an administrative judicial panel ruled such surveillance did not violate state wiretapping laws.

A curious opinion given Gansler’s statement earlier this year regarding the need to protect privacy from government and corporate intrusion.

During an appearance on the CSPAN program The Communicators, Gansler — recently elected to be the president of the National Association of Attorneys General — made the following remarks when asked about privacy on the internet:

“Everybody is susceptible to having their privacy rights infringed.”

Especially, it seems, if they are riding the bus in Baltimore.

Click here to read the entire article.

Photo: Maryland Transit Administration bus

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