I wonder when the word ‘privacy’ will be removed from the dictionary, or at least marked as being archaic or no longer used, because no one will be able to experience it.

A Maryland Transit Administration decision to record the conversations of bus drivers and passengers to investigate crimes, accidents and poor customer service has come under attack from privacy advocates and state lawmakers who say it may go too far.

The first 10 buses — marked with signs to alert passengers to the open microphones — began service this week in Baltimore, and officials expect to expand that to 340 buses, about half the fleet, by next summer. Microphones are incorporated in the video surveillance system that has been in place for years.
[…]
“This is such a giant step forward in dissolving the privacy expectations of people who ride the bus,” he said. “Legislators are going to want to know what the compelling reason is for initiating this now.”



  1. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

    There NEVER HAS BEEN a privacy right “in public.”

    Silly to confuse the individual super ego driven desire to be ANONYMOUS a thereby free to do whatever you wish with the FREEEEDOM of Privacy to be left alone in your person, thoughts, and property from unreasonable intrusion by the government and others.

    but yeah–compression caused by more people in the same space will ALWAYS result in change. Never perceived as “good” but its arguable that it does. Everybody just grow up and be responsible for what you do.

    Whats wrong with that?

    • McCullough says:

      Man just shut up and move to North Korea already. I am sick of apologists like you.

      There is no end to this crap.

      • bobbo, one true Liberal recognizing Obama is too far Right says:

        Ha, ha!!! I’m not apologizing. More to the point: I just don’t care. Then I look to the issue and the history and record of the contesting ideas and I recognize the reality of times changing.

        As is so often the case: Ain’t Reality a Bitch?

        • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

          Say McCullough, let me ask the same question two different ways:

          1. Do you appreciate the difference between wanting to maintain anonymity and privacy rights?

          2. What specifically do you “give up” or “have against” being recorded in public along with everyone else? BE SPECIFIC!

          3. Granted now you “disagree” but how does your druthers rise above the druthers of others?

          4. What are the pros and cons of either position?

          5. If someone for no reason at all assaulted you on a bus, why wouldn’t you want a video of the event?

          6. How come you are an apologist for the way of life circa 1950?

          7. Why do you hate reality?

          • McCullough says:

            Your position disgusts me. I guess its true about your brand of phoney Liberalism. It is way more in tune to communism than I dared believe.

            Only an FUCKING IDIOT would welcome being watched and recorded every time they left the house, as is being done in the UK right now.

            Christ man, what the fuck is wrong with you? You even give real Liberals a bad name. You know how Dallas always refers to the sheep? Well take a good hard look in the mirror.

          • Tommy says:

            This country is in deep financial shit, and you want to throw more tax money at police state programs so you can feel safer.

            Grow a pair.

          • Derek says:

            Bobbo… You know that if this was happening under a republican administration, you’d be bitching and moaning and blaming them.

      • noname says:

        McCullough I am with you.

        This country did fine for it’s 236+ years with out surreptitious recordings.

        If you think it’s such a great and wondrous idea, how about after the public acclimates to surreptitious recordings, the government requires it’s citizens get to get an ip addressable wireless device implanted in their neck that can record your every utterance 24/7, track your position everywhere, initiate debilitating pain if the state desires or even explode!

        Wouldn’t that eliminate all crime and make for a more peaceful society?

        You say that’s ridiculous?

        What’s ridiculous are idiots who relinquish rights American’s have fought and died for!

        As Benjamin Franklin said “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.”

        • Cap'nKangaroo says:

          “…public acclimates to surreptitious recordings…”

          “This country did fine for it’s 236+ years with out surreptitious recordings”

          From the excerpt of the article included in this posting: “- marked with signs to alert passengers to the open microphones -”

          Where the hell do you get the idea of “surreptitious” from? They plainly post a sign warning you of the audible and video recording, just like most convenience stores, and you consider it “surreptitious”.

          sur·rep·ti·tious/ˌsərəpˈtiSHəs/
          Adjective:
          Kept secret, esp. because it would not be approved of.
          Synonyms:
          secret – furtive – stealthy – clandestine – underhand

  2. Parry N. says:

    Now I will finally have the proof to show that everyone sitting behind me on the bus is making fun of me except when I turn around.

  3. Pain in the neck says:

    Video surveillance is good. Especially when 10 people are on the bus during an accident, and suddenly 20 more pile on to become part of the lawsuit.

    Audio surveillance might pick up bullying and threats. As long as the recorder box is not opened except by lawful cause, so what? Besides, people record people on cell phones all the time. See YouTube for details.

    Like it or not, you are a public citizen. Now smile for the camera and say “howdy”!

  4. Sam says:

    I believe you forgot the little problem of:

    Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination.

    But what the hell, it’s not like we pay attention to laws in this country any longer. That went out the door with W. Bush’s Patriot Law.

    • bobbo, one true Liberal recognizing Obama is too far Right says:

      Silly post from someone who OBVIOUSLY (((Captain–I hope you post soon?)) doesn’t have clue ONE about what the words mean that he’s heard and “sound good.”

      Right to due process of law, /// applies only to being charged and convicted of some offense===NOT RELEVANT HERE.

      freedom from self-incrimination. /// Again===NOT RELEVANT HERE where only observation and recording of OBJECTIVE FACTS is taking place.

      Is either your IQ or education level higher than a chair?

      • Buddy Lerch says:

        Agreed. My dad (an Army colonel) said to me, “If you don’t do anything wrong, you have NOTHING to worry about.” I don’t think our founding fathers considered video in their treatises, but they encompassed them in their farsightedness, in the Bill of Rights and Constitution. I don’t care about being filmed or videoed. It can only help a guy like me. Just my opinion, other have and will disagree.

  5. sargasso_c says:

    Baltimore, is an anagram of “blame riot”

    • Bawlmer Merlin says:

      The promotional phrase “Baltimore, the City that Reads” was lampooned a while back to “Baltimore, the City that Bleeds”.

      Look out if Obama loses the election. It won’t be pretty in Bawlmer.

  6. B. Dog says:

    Yeah, here in Madison, WI all the buses have cameras and microphones. In real life, they mostly use the videos to monitor the drivers.

  7. Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

    “People don’t want or need to have their private conversations recorded by MTA as a condition of riding a bus,” said David Rocah, a staff attorney with the Maryland chapter of the ACLU. “A significant number of people have no viable alternative to riding a bus, and they should not be forced to give up their privacy rights.”

    That’s an assertion, supposition, conjecture…

    I’d like to hear what the people want…from them.

    This is a public safety issue, cameras and recording conversation would result in lawfulness by otherwise lawless individuals.

    Driver and customer safety is paramount…lawlessness is compelling this…not a desire to listen in on private conversations…

    Which if I recall correctly, are mostly empty headed expressions of likes and dislikes…totally uninteresting to anyone, putting even the people babbling such nonsense….to sleep.

    I think the ACLU and attorney poisoned the well, framed this in a way that libertarians would object…but the frame is irrelevant.

    Its not about spying on citizens engaged in intellectual speech…is about the brainless threats and physical violence that requires a technological witness to convict the guilty.

    • Cap'nKangaroo says:

      “Its not about spying on citizens engaged in intellectual speech…is about the brainless threats and physical violence that requires a technological witness to convict the guilty.”

      Big Brother would surely approve of your statement.

      • Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

        Incorrect, you support Obama and the progressive agenda forward into soft tyranny…where all now private, belongs to the Government.

        I do not.

        And its clear from the violence on public transit…and schools….also jails….a technological witness that might lessen the violence, and lead to the punishment of the guilty…is required.

        We wouldn’t need such things if progressives didn’t attack religion, and morality….

        Your teachers have raised generations of immoral brats who believe “if animals do it, its natural.”

        Progressive philosophy leads to lawlessness.

        • Cap'nKangaroo says:

          When confronted with a literary reference that assaults your line of reasoning, your response is to project some unknowable beliefs onto the person who pointed out your faulty reasoning.

          You then make even more grandiose statements about someone you have never seen or spoken to, much less know.

          Taxed Enough Already Dude, it is time to admit to yourself that you in need of psychological treatment. Throwing out invectives at anyone who contradicts you only shows how deep your ailment is.

          Get help. Soon, before we read about you hurting yourself while wearing some weird S&M costume.

    • A |\| () |\| Y |\/| () |_| S says:

      I could care less about privacy IN PUBLIC! In fact, the more cameras and microphones there are IN PUBLIC, the better!!!

      It’s like going to the beach and not expecting to get sand in/on something. Or going to a seedy bar and not expecting to see someone drunk (or even smoke a dangerous old cigarette). Or going to a war torn country like Iraq to dance / “hike” along the Iranian border and not expecting to get kidnapped or at least shot at!!! (Remember that one?!)

      Had there been more cameras and microphones in our local trains/buses where I live there might even be two young men still alive. At the very least, their murderer(s) might not still be free.

      So if placing microphones and cameras on public buses is going to help the divers “learn” to be more courteous (since any parenting they might have had obviously failed) then any added benefit like PREVENTING MURDER or any other crime is just a side benefit. After all, they already do it on school buses for almost the same reasons.

      About the only thing we may want to consider is placing signs where a presumption of privacy in a public area might exist such as a bathroom or department store changing room. Anywhere OTHER PEOPLE aren’t supposed to see/hear you. But then those places wouldn’t exactly be PUBLIC either. They would probably be “semi” private!

      Of course, we might also like to look at obvious cases when privacy is INVADED too. But privacy invasion cases are almost always committed by criminals whenever we’re talking about cameras and microphones. (Are you phobic fools and complaining criminals starting to see the light yet?)

      Don’t let your paranoia get the best of you either. Any cameras/mics can’t be networked quite like what we see on fictitious TV shows like Person of Interest. Certainly not in real time. That’s just pure fantasy.

      Sure, there is face recognition software and even other tech like fingerprint readers. But those things need clear stable pictures which can only be used with a DATABASE OF INFORMATION!

      So if you cared anything about privacy then you wouldn’t be so willing to be treated like the information sheep you act like. In fact, you probably wouldn’t make it so damned easy by using credit/debit cards or even presenting ID when asked (although I still recommend it should a cop ever ask).

      If you’re at all concerned about maintaining privacy then you might even consider SHUTTING THE FUCK UP! I could also suggest COVERING THE FUCK UP or even PAYING IN CASH too! Because no matter how you look at it, if you cared one damn bit about your own privacy then you would probably STOP BEING A COMPLETE IDIOT WHEN COMPLETE STRANGERS CAN SEE/HEAR WHAT YOU DO!!! And the fact that any witnesses might be nearby also makes absolutely no difference because YOU ARE IN PUBLIC!

      (This logic also applies to unencrypted email too. Because would you care to guess how many absolute idiots STILL use clear email for PRIVATE use?! GO ASK YOUR BANK or even someone in the GOVERNMENT! I bet even a few readers here don’t give COMMON SENSE a second thought. JUST READ THE COMMENTS!!!)

  8. dave m brewer says:

    Actually, you are on private property when your ride a city bus. So it’s not a public place… like being on the sidewalk.

    Try taking photos, videos or sound recordings at a mall and they will close you down in a heart beat and tell you are on private property.

    Shut up slave!!!

    • A |\| () |\| Y |\/| () |_| S says:

      You seem to have the right idea but don’t seem to understand why.

      Mall security or anyone acting on the property owner(s) behalf can give you any excuse they want. Or not! Point is, you don’t own the property. And that’s really the key – ownership.

      But when it comes to being on public property you do have a right to record anything you like. Just ask an investigative journalist or even a paparazzi! But within reason too. And that’s where it all gets a little “gray” since you usually also need consider peculiar State or local laws too – not just consent.

      Point is, there may some degree of personal privacy in a public setting but they only go as far as “publication” is concerned. And that’s because no one is ever really out of view from observation. It makes no difference if you are being watched or not. As long as you are in public or even in a pubic setting you should at least assume you are being observed and possibly even being recorded.

      Still, for anyone to wire a bus for sound does seem a little weird at first and possibly like a needless expense. So could it be that Baltimore’s transit company has a bit too much money and is really just looking for a way to spend it? Or could the transit company be looking to eves drop on any would-be terrorists (never mind that pesky old Constitution or anything)? Or could it be a CYA (cover your ass) move since pictures can only show so much when the riders decide to have a knock down drag out?! (Funny how things sometimes make sense when you THINK about them.)

  9. 28 years ago says:

    Cops would beat the crap out of black guys till Rodney King video,
    then oh my God the world is falling apart.

    That school bus monitor gets bullied again and again , but when
    the video gets out , things change FAST for the bully idiots.

    Always was getting tailgated doing 35 mph in front of local school.
    Placed a small (broken) camera in the corner of my rear window,
    No more tailgating! What a bazaar coincidence that was!

  10. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

    MY GOODNESS! Let me say it again: “There NEVER HAS BEEN a privacy right “in public.” /// I challenge the naysaying communist labeling braying non-thinking knee jerk critics above to state SPECIFICALLY what is wrong with this monitoring program.

    GO====>

    Not holding my breath===I never said I was FOR the program. I said: “I don’t care.”

    To me, its an economic issue: how to best spend the money? Public Safety on Public Transport?–better trash collection? More fire fighters? ….. What???

    And perhaps more importantly IN A DEMOCRACY–you let the majority, or the governing authorities have their way unless there is a clear violation of some fundamental right.

    I prefer hamburgers over hotdogs. I prefer chocolate over vanilla. I am not FOR making my preferences the law, but if my society decided to make hamburgers and chocolate ILLEGAL, I would switch to the alternative and think: “Gee, thats a waste of money, glad I have other choices/am happy nonetheless.”

    IE–no violation of basic rights==just stupid people being stupid. Life goes on.

    Same with cameras/recorders in public EXCEPT here the rational for it “PUBLIC SAFETY” has a good argument to back it up. Yes–see London. Lots of talk about what a waste of time/money it is yet ever few months you see a crime NOT PREVENTED–but SOLVED by use of the camera system.

    Would I prefer to never be recorded anywhere at any time? HELL YES. I find my undies often bunched up around my crochital area. Feels good to make adjustments. Maybe I even take longer to do so than I should? But would I rather have EVERYBODY on tape? Yeah, I think so…. keep the undie adjustments to a minimum. SHOULD WE do it?===simply a question of money and priorities to me. I suspect the money could/should be better spent elsewhere… but I’m ok with other people disagreeing with me and having their way.

    LIBERAL: Allowing for the majority to Rule.
    CONSERVATIVE: I want my way to be the law and think anyone who disagrees is a socialist, or worse now, a communist!

    Ha, ha. What dolts.

  11. Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

    CONSERVATIVE: I want my way to be the law and think anyone who disagrees is a socialist, or worse now, a communist!

    You misstated our position….our way already is constitutional law.

    Progressive bastards violating our constitution usually are socialist…or worse, communist. But they are all tyrants.

    Freeloaders whose life rarely results in a benefit to society, except for the discovery of copper wire.

    Two freeloading progressives suddenly saw a copper penny fell between them…thinking it came from the 1%, they both tugged and tugged…

  12. Glenn E. says:

    Well I know that in the movie “Speed”, they showed LA buses wired for video. But I guess I just assumed that was Hollywood. And that public transit buses weren’t really all video equipped. And naturally they always give you a reasonable explanation for fighting crime. But just how often to you hear of a criminal case being cracked by the existence of bus video? I sure haven’t. So one wonders if it not more about tracking the movements of select individuals, by Big Brother? You know. Just when you think you can anonymously hop on a bus, and skip town, without being seen. Like most Tv and movies tend to show. They’ve actually got that means of flight covered, too. So it’s planes, trains, and buses. Time to invest in a Hot Air Balloon.

  13. Glenn E. says:

    In a court of law, some hot shot lawyer might be able to argue that such a simple sign, stating the presence of a microphone, isn’t enough to inform people (who rarely notice signs on buses) that their conversation is being recorded. Meanwhile, the drug dealers and such WILL know. And act accordingly. Only the average citizen won’t think twice about it, and yabber away. So without any warrants or indication of a crime actually happening. The authorities will be reviewing every recording, hoping to hear something juicy enough to use against someone. That’s when Big Brotherism has start to run amok. Video recordings are bad enough. Since we can never know what ultimate purpose they will be put to. I doubt there are any enforced limits. Just as the TSA’s limits aren’t well enforced.

  14. CrankyGeeksFan says:

    From the article: Maryland legislator Melvin Stukes, a Maryland Transportation Authority investigator, “This is not your bathroom. This is not your bedroom. Buses are PUBLIC (my emphasis added) spaces and people are elbow to elbow …”

    I think this is done for insurance purposes.

    Question: Will it lead to lower bus fares?

    I thought that it was a illegal to record the audio of conversations, but not video in public. Back in the 1990s, there was a silent, color video aired of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and someone else arguing in public. The camera was probably beyond the audio recording range with a traditional microphone anyway. (Just thought of this … What if the video had audio recorded that used similar equipment from the beginning of the movie “The Conversation”? The TV program probably didn’t want to air that.)

  15. deowll says:

    A bus is a public place thus it is legal. If you are a liberal and you even bothered to object you need to review your voting record.