The Busses Have Ears

Surveillance is pervasive in our society. You can hardly walk down a street without some nosey camera recording your movements or ride public transportation without some snoopy microphone recording your conversation:

MTA began using recording devices inside some of its buses in 2012, without seeking legislative approval. Nearly 500 of its fleet of 750 buses now have audio recording capabilities. Officials say the devices can capture important information in cases of driver error or an attack or altercation on a bus.

They can also record conversations so they can later be requested by law enforcers looking to nail somebody to a cross. The dangers of pervasive surveillance are almost always understated by statists. Surveillance fetishists always justify their spying by claiming it’ll protect the children, thwart terrorism, or otherwise help combat some overblown concern. What they leave out is that the data is also available to prosecute nonviolent individuals.

Imagine if two people were making a peaceful drug transaction on one of these surveillance buses. Without the microphones in place the transaction would probably go unnoticed. But because the data exists it would only take one law enforcer or concerned citizen to listen to it to turn that previously peaceful transaction into a violent home raid.

Surveillance is dangerous precisely because law enforcers are willing to use any collected data to ruthlessly enforce victimless crimes. That’s a reality that is never mentioned by the surveillance state’s proponents.