Big Brother Is Watching and Listening to YOU!

© Miri WTPOTUS December 11, 2012

bus - Copy

Listen. I thought that I was wildly exaggerating when, tongue-in-cheek, I asked whether the next step in the loss of our privacy will be the government forcing companies to record people in elevators or taxi cabs. How wrong I was! In the Obamanation, NOTHING is too ridiculous, extreme, or dictatorial.

All across the nation, “government officials” are installing equipment to record conversations on public transportation! I kid you not: [emphasis added]

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.

But the deployment of the technology on buses raises urgent questions about the boundaries of legally protected privacy in public spaces, experts say, as transit officials — and perhaps law enforcement agencies given access to the systems — seem positioned to monitor audio communications without search warrants or court supervision. …

In San Francisco, the Department of Homeland Security is funding the entire cost with a grant. Elsewhere, the federal government is also providing some financial support. Officials in Concord, N.C., for example, used part of a $1.2 million economic stimulus grant to install a combined audio and video surveillance system on public transit vehicles, records show.

Records probably also show that these lucrative, stimulating government contracts and grants are likely going to insiders (read: Obama supporters).

The story goes on to explain that it would be quite simple to combine this technology with other modern technologies (e.g., facial and voice recognition software).

The “government officials” and the Department of Homeland Security use the excuse of increased rider safety to install these Big Brother-like surveillance devices.  Couple this story with another story cited in my original comment:

Several organizations that represent police and prosecutors all over the United States are lobbying Congress to change federal privacy laws.

Part of the changes would be a requirement that cell phone providers would have to keep text messages for two years in case the information is needed in a criminal investigation.

According to a report in Wired magazine, AT&T and T-Mobile discard messages immediately. Verizon keeps them for five days and Sprint keeps them for 12.

Robert Sciliano, a Boston-based online security expert for McAfee said privacy is one issue and cost is another.

You see, if you’re on that bus text messaging, then they can’t listen to you, so they need a way to spy on those communications, too.  We already know that they read our email.  What’s next?  Snail mail?

Today, there’s a story about someone who’s suing Google for reading her email.  She’s taking a novel approach:

A Pennsylvania woman has accused Google Inc. of illegal wiretapping for “intercepting” emails she sent to Gmail accounts and publishing content-related ads.

Her lawsuit echoes others filed around the country by class-action lawyers who say the practice violates wiretap laws in some states. They represent email users who do not have Gmail accounts and have therefore not signed the company’s acceptance terms.

“The terms are that Google can intercept your emails and use them for direct marketing purposes,” said lawyer Richard M. Golomb, who has sued Google in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida. “They are also intercepting emails of the non-Gmail account holder, in violation of wiretap laws in some states.”

So Google is a private company, right? However, Google and other large companies regularly cooperate with the government, turning over to them basically anything they ask for.

Their excuse for reading your email is that they are looking for spam or spyware and also that they offer this free email service and so they must make their money through advertisements.  (However, it’s not necessary for them to read your mail to sell ads!)

What a conundrum for these companies. This plaintiff did not sign away her rights. She didn’t “accept” Google’s terms.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said:

[What)] if you were making a call on your Verizon cellphone, and you were talking to an Italian restaurant trying to make reservations for Friday and a Verizon agent jumped on the line and said, ‘Oh, how about this place?’

You’re not supposed to be listening to my communications to try to sell me stuff — even if it’s a better restaurant.

Here’s some of what I wrote earlier in comments on this blog:

Where is it written that the government can FORCE companies to spend its money to store massive amounts of data just in case they want to spy on you? This certainly seems unconstitutional on many levels. It’s a violation of our fundamental rights: to privacy, from unreasonable search and seizure, from self-incrimination, even.

Just because there’s a middle man, does that mean we have no expectation of privacy and no control over our “speech” in the form of text messages?

Even if you delete texts from your phone, you have no option to delete them from the servers where these companies, unbeknownst to most of us, are possibly saving them. Why does any company store them even for days?

To whom does our speech belong?

If a company doesn’t ordinarily store this data, then where does the government get off forcing them to collect and store it? This power could be extended ad infinitum.

What about elevators? Can they force building managers to record and store conversations that take place in elevators, in case the government might want to listen in?

How about those cameras in elevators? Can they force them to store video for two years?

How about taxicabs? Can they force cab companies to record conversations and store them for two years?

Just because it’s possible, doesn’t make it right.

Little by little, we are losing our constitutional rights.  Gradually. Behind the scenes.  The operative word in the first story is “quietly”.

Quietly, indeed:  The state of Maryland has been working on this for three years already!  Since 2009, when Obama became president.

Leftists were the ones who wrote a right to “privacy” into the Constitution when they pushed for abortion “rights”.  Where are they now?

They’d seem to be our natural allies to fight together this erosion of our constitutional rights to FREE speech, freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom from surveillance, privacy, freedom from unlawful search and seizure,  and freedom from an overweening, dictatorial government.

Welcome to the Obama police state!  If you ride public transportation in San Francisco, California; Eugene, Oregon; Traverse City, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; Athens, Georgia; Hartford, Connecticut; or Baltimore, Maryland, keep quiet because their mics pick up even a whisper.

Are school buses are next?  Imagine how much they can learn from kids about their parents.

What’s their end game?

We probably don’t want to know, but We the People certainly need to WIN this game, whatever it is.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: photo by Brandonrush

20 responses to “Big Brother Is Watching and Listening to YOU!

  1. CJ, we appreciate the link but alas. The video, while apt, doesn’t meet our comment rules. We try not to offend readers with TOO much profanity. Sorry. But we certainly appreciate her sentiments and share her anger.

  2. Big Brother is in Great Britain..can we expect it here?

    Benefit cheats to face lie detector tests
    Council leaders have introduced lie detector tests in a bid to catch benefit fraudsters who trick them out of thousands of pounds every year.
    29 Nov 2012

    Council leaders have introduced lie detector tests in a bid to catch benefit fraudsters who trick them out of thousands of pounds every year. The move has already helped anti-fraud officials catch nearly 4,000 fraudsters claiming council tax discounts and saved more than £1,400,000 in four months.

    The new hi-tech system – which analyses telephone calls from claimants for signs of stress in their voices – is being run by Southwark Council in south London. Council bosses have defended its use, saying the town hall is the 13th worst hit by Government cuts and therefore has to take a tough line on fraud.

  3. These reports bring to mind this recent piece at American Thinker.

    June 7, 2012
    America: The Home of the…Compliant?
    By Daren Jonescu


    “Whenever some apologist for communism commented that crime rates in Russia were lower than in the West, a critic would quip, “Sure, we could have fewer crimes if we put a policeman on every corner.”

    On the other hand, if someone objected to a nanny-state intrusion upon his rights and privacy, he was sure to be told, “But if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.”

    This clash of clichés sums up pretty neatly the two basic trains of thought on the government’s role in providing for public order. The first cliché begins with the assumption that government is not to be trusted. The second begins with the assumption that private citizens are not to be trusted. In other words, the first assumes that unrestrained government is the greater threat, the second that unrestrained citizens are the greater threat.”

    Read more:

    It’s a good article, well worth the time to read it.

    • Thanks for that! How could I have forgotten the EPA’s use of DRONES on US?

      “If you want a quick measure of the state of American society, you might consider the federal government’s use of unmanned aerial drones to monitor U.S. citizens, and in particular the EPA’s matter-of-fact defense of its use of drones over the Midwest as necessary to “verify compliance” with environmental laws. And as the EPA’s “environmental justice” agenda is quickly becoming the government’s official overarching priority (see here), we might describe the Obama era as the dawning of the Age of Compliance.”

      There’s other technology in the making, if not already realized, that will make these drones seem mild. Nano technology means that they will be able to send, for example, a robot bug (literally, a bug–like a little cockroach) under the door of your house (get out the weather stripping!) that will be able to watch you, listen to you, record you, maybe even read everything it can find. They already have hummingbird-like drones that resemble and fly like hummingbirds, all the better to surreptitiously spy on the unsuspecting. Such a “bird” could hover outside your windows and peer inside, zoom in, watch and listen to everything. (Close your blinds!) Unless Congress acts to prevent this, it WILL happen because it can. However, as with much else in the Obamanation, it won’t MATTER what LAWS are passed. Obama will simply ignore them. If necessary, he’ll write an executive order! Why not? He ignores the Constitution and the laws now.

      • Here’s another interesting part of that most excellent article:

        “The result is that the law is no longer an objective and morally comprehensible set of limits to voluntary action, but rather, it has the force and effect of an irrational parent’s angry outbursts upon his child. You are forever walking on eggshells, nervously glancing at the faces of the authorities with each step, to verify that you have not displeased them — that you remain compliant. Initiative, ambition, and hope are crushed under the weight of the confused self-monitoring required by life in the regulatory state.

        You are on trial without charges, and the trial never ends. You begin each day in a “pre-convicted” state, as it were. You are at all times viewed and treated by the government as a potential lawbreaker. The tone and the practical reality of this approach to “security” and “law enforcement” are perfectly Kafkaesque. You are not merely to resign yourself to the injustice of being presumed guilty by the authorities; rather, you must accept that you deserve to be presumed guilty, although you have done nothing wrong. “After all, I could have committed a crime, so why shouldn’t I be treated as a criminal?””

        Consider now how Barry lived his childhood. Does the life of a person under an overweening police state NOT closely resemble what Barry’s life sounds like it was when he was under his mother’s thumb? To psychoanalyze: Is he now acting out his childhood desire to BE the ruler and not the victim in an overweening regulatory “state”, like the one he suffered as a child? Turn the tables? Reverse the victimization? Revenge? No dreams from his mother. Just dreams from his imaginary father. I’m just sayin’.

  4. Reblogged this on News You May Have Missed and commented:
    Big Brother Is Watching and Listening to YOU!


    Great news: Your permanent record is now available on demand
    December 13, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

    Remember when government needed something called a warrant or even probable cause to look at your records? Good times, good times. I’m nostalgic for the halcyon days of, er, February of this year, before the Attorney General of the United States signed off on an order allowing the government to access pretty much everything it wanted in the name of counterterrorism. The Wall Street Journal found out about the order and got a FOIA request to force its exposure:

    Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March [2012] to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.

    Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

    A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.

    Through Freedom of Information Act requests and interviews with officials at numerous agencies, The Wall Street Journal has reconstructed the clash over the counterterrorism program within the administration of President Barack Obama. The debate was a confrontation between some who viewed it as a matter of efficiency—how long to keep data, for instance, or where it should be stored—and others who saw it as granting authority for unprecedented government surveillance of U.S. citizens.

    The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

    Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans “reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information” may be permanently retained.

    Well, hey, we can trust the American government to handle this properly, soberly, and with caution, right? At least the data will stay with accountable US officials. Whew. That’s a load off of my mind — er, what’s that? Um …

    The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.

    “It’s breathtaking” in its scope, said a former senior administration official familiar with the White House debate.

    The good news: Saudi Arabia might now have all of our firearm registration data. What could go wrong?

    Say, remember when Congress used to be involved in writing laws and making policy in the US? Good times, good times. Perhaps Congress might want to investigate what the Department of Justice and the National Counterterrorism Center has been doing with the 4th Amendment. Eric Holder should be subpoenaed and forced to testify under oath about his order, and find out whether Congress got consulted or bypassed entirely on this decision.

    It’s interesting how all this came out after the election, huh? Maybe the name “Julia” for one of Barack Obama’s campaign themes was well chosen.

    • Nah, no abuse of power can be seen here. Add that to the NDNA that passed, and Obama wishing he was a dictator. Add the stockpiling of ammo at locations that don’t need it, and then add removal of top military leaders. Add in selling arms to terrorists. Now realize that government agencies can examine any documents they want without a warrant when you might be “thinking” of doing something in the future. They can read your thoughts? Apparently so. Perhaps that is a provision under Obamacare – the reading of thoughts. They will know all about you, and can jail you without a care in the world. Think political prisoners. You thought something and now you are in prison for a thought, no crime, no investigation, no warrant, no due process, and no probable cause. If you are hosting a foreign exchange student – you are now going to be listed. So much for feeling safe in your home. That program will go down the tubes.

      In case you have forgotten the 4th Amendment of our once safely guarded Constitution it is below. The Constitution is the one that Obama, Holder, and Hillary believe is flawed, so they will just ignore its provisions and our rights as US citizens.

      The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. It was adopted as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, which is a type of general search warrant, in the American Revolution. Search and seizure (including arrest) should be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuing court, usually by a law enforcement officer, who has sworn by it. The Fourth Amendment applies to the states by way of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

      Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement must receive written permission from a court of law, or otherwise qualified magistrate, to lawfully search and seize evidence while investigating criminal activity. A court grants permission by issuing a writ known as a warrant. A search or seizure is generally unreasonable and unconstitutional if conducted without a valid warrant and the police must obtain a warrant whenever practicable. Searches and seizures without a warrant are not considered unreasonable if one of the specifically-established and well-delineated exceptions to the warrant requirement applies.

      • OMG,Bridgett, after reading your post here, I just had the most vivid analogy that matches your post of government’s take over of its citizenry. What other body of people can already examine a most personal history of you today with all the technology and can indicate whether you are a healthy(good) individual or a sick(bad) individual. We are already prisoners to the health care and medical profession,just like home land security imposing more invasive techniques on its people. Government doctors will perhaps perform heartwarming beneficial procedures for SOCiety’s sake, like maybe once a year body scanning and mind scanning to see who fits the criteria of the governments “healthy” individual. Remember that group we looked into long ago…..was it the Sunlight Foundation( some name such as that) where groups of the health profession would follow pregnant women’s complete utero to birth till the individual was about 20 years old. Remember, new tecnologies and whole computor systems, and large famous medical facilities were coming on board to record these efforts. Isn’t this great? If the science and medical profession can just read our thoughts too, the human species is finally the safest thing on the planet……NOT! Those search and siezure laws will be used like never before,won’t they….it makes me think of a REMAKE of The BOdy Snatchers. Gosh , no wonder government health care is such a win,win situation for everybody…. and all that new science inovation that Obama keeps harping on makes sense now.
        I can see it now, I’ll get my yearly screening downtown at the county health department and if things don’t look too bad, maybe they’ll just walk me over to that new fancy DNA redistribution contraption and tweak my DNA and then readjust my thinking,while they give me that new steroid shot that makes me either more complient or ….if the Doctors conclude I’d make a good warlike specimen, they’ll give me that new vitamen and march me off somewhere for the cause. Perhaps that new machine that can read my daily thoughts can electronically just send me emails or prompts on my cell pack to keep me abreast of my health needs. Remind me to take my meds and keep thinking passive thoughts . Or if I’m not the individual they had hoped me to be, the doctors will strap me with a fancy ankle bracelet ,or implant a small divice in my whatever so they can keep tabs on me and induce small shocks to my brain via satellite. Wow, now don’t people say “now listen to the doctor and do what the doctor says”? Spooky

        • You got it, alfy. Obamacare mandates computerized health records, and they ALL will go into a central database in DC. YOUR MOST INTIMATE DETAILS available to any obot in this administration. The Clintons had to be satisfied with FBI files! Now imagine how wonderful it will be for the DemoncRATS when they can just call up anybody’s intimate details. My doctor recently offered me a “service” that would allow me to see results of medical tests online. Oh, what a deal! It sounded great, until I went to log on. First, the service is provided by a third party. A contractor. Who’s to ensure us that our medical records are secure? I don’t even know whether or not, even if I don’t sign up, nevertheless the doctor sends my results to this third party anyway. I’m betting he does, because it’s simply easier that way. Guess what was REQUIRED? My user name and password for GMAIL (or Yahoo!). If I don’t have GMAIL or don’t want to give them another email address/password, then guess what? They said I had to sign up for a GMAIL account and that would be my password for the medical system. Yep. SAME PASSWORD as my email. They said this was to make it EASIER for me. Right!

          GMAIL IS GOOGLE. GOOGLE SPIES. Google hands over to the government whatever they want. So they want to TIE my email to my medical records and they want to know my email password! They can kiss my rear.

          But the day is coming, most likely, when we will all be forced to get our results this way because doctors won’t have the time or inclination to take calls or to see us to give us the news.

        • I wasn’t looking for this but while looking at some stuff on HAARP by Dr. Begich (I love this guy) from Alaska, I came across this and since I was speaking about DNA and you were talking about Google….I have to submit this. It’s short, sort of all over the place but it’s not far off and not untrue.

    • Amendment IV

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    • I read the story in the WSJ yesterday, but it’s not yet available online. Two women left the administration, the subtext being because of the way this decision went. They “lost” the debate against it. Here’s a video:!DFE5FDA7-9E91-4D26-8D95-85C3D592714A

      There’s a loophole in the so-called ’70s-era “privacy law” that allows government agencies to post in the federal register what they plan to do, and then all’s hunky-dory. So far, it’s only “government records” like flight data that can be copied over to that huge trollable database. This quietly happened in March. What a surprise that this was decided by Eric Holder and that it’s only now being publicized. There will be no “will” to overturn this in Congress, as the woman in the video suggests might be done, IF THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT IT!


    On Your Side: Privacy concerns over children’s apps

    BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – There are now privacy concerns over children’s apps after Federal Trade Commission announced information about kids is being collected and shared without parents’ permission.

    The FTC examined hundreds of apps for children and the organization was not happy with what the staff found out.

    The FTC released its findings in a new report saying mobile apps for kids should tell parents what data is being collected from children, how it is being shared and who will have access to it.

    Many of the apps included interactive features, like connecting to social media. The apps also sent information from the mobile device to ad networks and third parties, without disclosing these practices to parents.”

    What a surprise! Parents don’t even have disclosed to them what ad networks and third parties invade their own privacy! Why should anybody expect them not to spy on kids, too?

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