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Privacy Canada Government Transportation

At Canadian Airports, Your Conversation May Be Remotely Recorded 211

Posted by timothy
from the perfecting-recipe-for-boiled-frog dept.
New Jazari writes "Careful what you say when traveling, since the authorities will soon be able to zoom in on your conversations and record them for an indefinite amount of time. The story is about Canada, but I see no reason to think that this capability will not soon be installed in most places (if it's not already)."
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At Canadian Airports, Your Conversation May Be Remotely Recorded

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  • Oh wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NettiWelho (1147351) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:30AM (#40350763)
    And that is actually legal?
    • Re:Oh wow. (Score:5, Funny)

      by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:42AM (#40350819)
      Doesn't matter. My conversation would be about pictures you see in 4chan and poop. I bet you if enough people do that, they will stop recording...
      • Re:Oh wow. (Score:5, Funny)

        by baegucb (18706) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @10:18AM (#40351265)

        Just hack, re-purpose, and sprinkle stuff like these around: http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/warfare/8c52/ [thinkgeek.com]

        Can I get a percentage of sales?

        • You don't need to do that. Airports have thousands of wetware annoy-o-trons running around all of the time.

          I really don't think this is much of an issue. 24 hours of listening in on the generally inane conversation of the traveling public should drive anyone working on the project completely insane. A human being can stand only so much Kim Kardishan and Jersey Shore before it becomes unhinged.

          • Hey! Someone of us talk about the lack of meaning in life, about materialism, about nihilism and sometimes boobies!
          • by DrEasy (559739)

            The people listening on those conversation probably aren't any more sophisticated than those they're listening to, so maybe they won't be bored at all.

          • Re:Oh wow. (Score:5, Funny)

            by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @01:41PM (#40352701)
            There's the thing - anyone listening to it won't be a human, but a program, at least in the long run. And when you drive that completely insane, well, that way lies Skynet. Ever wondered why our robotic overlords would want to exterminate us? Here's the reason...
            • I'm glad somebody figured that out. One of the problems for totalitarians is the data deluge. Correction - one of the problems *was* data deluge.

              Recording and processing all phone traffic is nothing for a government. Putting mics all over public spaces is just a matter of scale. Work your way down the marginal utility scale.

        • This won't work. It is possible to discriminate language and even multiple conversations using more than one recording microphones located some distance apart. That works wonderfully after signal processing.
      • they will stop recording...

        Are you kidding? These people are perverts. They'll only try to get more and whack off to it every night at home

    • Re:Oh wow. (Score:5, Informative)

      by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:53AM (#40350893) Homepage Journal

      Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org], ratified by all western countries, states:

      "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

      I don't know if you have a Court of Human Rights in Northern America, but that's the final instance that should grant you your human right for privacy.

      • Re:Oh wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by EzInKy (115248) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @09:08AM (#40350949)

        Aren't we talking about public airports here? My understanding is there is no expectation of privacy in public places, and personally I don't understand why there should be. If you say something in front of other people you should expect it to be heard by other people.

        • The Canada Border Services Agency is a government agency. If it implements a law or rule that takes away your human rights, the law does not stand up to protecting you against interference or attacks on your privacy.

          So you sue them until you reach the highest court where you win. IANAL :)

        • Re:Oh wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 17, 2012 @09:25AM (#40351029)

          That's the stupidest thing I've heard in a while. Please read the entry again, then come back.

          I wake up every day at 6 am and I go to the park. There's absolutely nobody there at that time, except for me and my wife. If I talk to my wife while I'm there, do you seriously expect me to assume that "somebody could have listened to us"?

          This is like walking around with a stranger listening closely to everything you say, even if you say it in a very low voice.

          I'm afraid I can't accept that.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            >> somebody could have listened to us

            Squirrels are clearly plotting the overthrow of humankind. Please be more careful with your conversations.

          • Re:Oh wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @10:56AM (#40351423) Journal

            I wake up every day at 6 am and I go to the park. There's absolutely nobody there at that time, except for me and my wife. If I talk to my wife while I'm there, do you seriously expect me to assume that "somebody could have listened to us"?

            As "good" people, we tend to see the world as "us," the good people vs "them," the bad people
            Cops see the world exactly the same way, except YOU are not included in the group called "us"

            Stop thinking of yourself as a good law abiding citizen and pretend you're a member of organized crime.
            That should help recalibrate your expectation of privacy.

            • As "good" people, we tend to see the world as "us," the good people vs "them," the bad people
              Cops see the world exactly the same way, except YOU are not included in the group called "us"

              Stop thinking of yourself as a good law abiding citizen and pretend you're a member of organized crime.
              That should help recalibrate your expectation of privacy.

              That would be true if we did not have a presumption of innocence.
              I think cops see boring, normal people and apparently "interesting" people.
              Also, members of organized crime have rights. Of course they lose some if they come under suspicion of a crime (such as being a member of a criminal organisation).

          • by mark-t (151149)

            I believe that it's less about expecting you to assume that you *WON'T* have any privacy in public than it is about expecting you to *NOT* make the assumption that you would have any privacy in public in the first place.

            Nor should you assume that those two notions are equivalent. There is actually a huge difference, and understanding that difference can give you the tools to be confident about the privacy that you do have.

          • by pooh666 (624584)
            It might illustrate things better for some readers, if we take out the high tech, and replace it with a plain cloths nobody, like the did in the old days. Maybe you want to share some of your picnic with him? Oh you will.. He won't come inside when you get home, but he might be looking in the windows.
          • I wake up every day at 6 am and I go to the park. There's absolutely nobody there at that time, except for me and my wife. If I talk to my wife while I'm there, do you seriously expect me to assume that "somebody could have listened to us"?

            Someone who wanted to listen to you could. Welcome to the 21st century.

            I don't expect you to assume that. Many people prefer to live in denial. You seem to be one of them.

        • My understanding is there is no expectation of privacy in public places, and personally I don't understand why there should be.

          It depends what you mean by privacy.

          Is there an expectation that if you're talking with a raised voice in a crowded mall, the guy standing two metres away from you might see you or hear your conversation, though you might catch him staring? Sure.

          Is there an expectation that any time you leave the privacy of your own home, you can be subject to systemic remote surveillance by unseen agents of a commercial or government body with vastly superior resources, the resulting data to be recorded in perpetuity in a

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Dunbal (464142) *
          "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." - Richelieu

          Don't complain when it's your turn to be dragged off.

        • by fredklein (532096)

          Aren't we talking about public airports here? My understanding is there is no expectation of privacy in public places

          There's just a little difference between 'being overheard while in public', and 'having all your conversations recorded and archived for future use by the State'. If you can't see it....

          • by fredklein (532096)

            Dammit. That was supposed to be:

            Aren't we talking about public airports here? My understanding is there is no expectation of privacy in public places

            There's just a little difference between 'being overheard while in public', and 'having all your conversations recorded and archived for future use by the State'. If you can't see it....

        • I wish people would stop equating random people accidentally overhearing your conversation with cameras picking up everything they see and hear. I'd say they're not the same at all. No one needs all this information, and I don't believe they should have it.

      • The "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" is not a treaty. The U.S. has ratified only one of the two treaties that together implement the UDHR. The one they ratified was ratified with legally binding reservations that state that the U.S. accepts no legal obligations from the treaty. Which means that in effect, not all western countries have ratified the UDHR.
        However, since this story takes place in Canada, which has ratified the two treaties which between them implement the UDHR, it is relevant to this a
      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        Did the US actually sign the human rights declarations or is it another one of those examples where they get everyone else to comply but then just ignore it?
        • Did the US actually sign the human rights declarations or is it another one of those examples where they get everyone else to comply but then just ignore it?

          The USA did NOT ratify it.

          Also, the USA did NOT propose it, support it, or otherwise push it upon anyone.

      • by gatzke (2977)

        Do you have some right to privacy when you are talking with someone in a public space?

        They are not recording folks in their home. You have privacy in private place. Maybe there is some relation between the two?

        It is like having a nosy person listen in on the bus. Don't want folks listening in? Find a private place for your conversation.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Why wouldn't be? its not really a public place. Tho they should put up signs to this effect so you agree to the restriction when you enter.

      • Re:Oh wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @09:54AM (#40351145)

        If organisations providing essential services to the general public can impose arbitrary conditions before you can use their services, you don't have any useful legal protection from abuse at all. That is why most first world countries have some form of statutory regulation in many key industries, such as power supply, transportation networks, communications infrastructure, etc.

    • As things stand now, probably not. But no doubt the government will modify the laws to carve out an exception. The real question is, would such laws make it past judicial scrutiny? I don't know the answer to that one, but the courts have become more friendly to privacy protection lately, so I'm hopeful.

      From the Criminal Code of Canada:
      Interception of Communications

      Marginal note:Interception

      184. (1) Every one who, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, wilfully intercepts a p

    • by Teunis (678244)
      yes. You have the freedom to have all public speech monitored (in Canada).

      In return for this freedom you have the right to say anything you want - but others have the right to not be forced to listen. You get call blocking as a basic service, and the freedom from harassment in many public venues.

      IANAL though.
      • yes. You have the freedom to have all public speech monitored (in Canada).

        In return for this freedom you have the right to say anything you want - but others have the right to not be forced to listen. You get call blocking as a basic service, and the freedom from harassment in many public venues.

        Which means you're free to say anything you want that the government censors don't find offensive. See Canadian Human Rights Council for details.

    • That's the custom made and local version of Twitter in Canada. Welcome in Canada! Do you have something to not declare?
    • by mcavic (2007672)
      Probably. You're in a public place, and could be overheard anyway. I think it's actually a good idea. There should be more looking and listening going on, and less invasive searching.
  • FIRST things FIRST (Score:4, Interesting)

    by w.hamra1987 (1193987) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:30AM (#40350767) Homepage

    is canada the FIRST country to do so? i doubt it, but what IS a FIRST is publicly admitting they're going to be recording people in the airport.

    • Egg meets face.
    • by garcia (6573) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:34AM (#40350789) Homepage

      Who gives a shit who was first? It's a bunch of wasted effort.

      Terrorists are going to do shit that authorities are not going to be able to combat with tools like these. The terrorists know there are checkpoints and their limitations. They know their conversation may be overheard so they don't talk. They know that they could walk into a mall or megachurch and do the same damage they did with an airplane.

      We're wasting our fucking time and money chasing ghosts which will bite us in the ass regardless of the freedoms we continue to happily and passively give up.

      • by w.hamra1987 (1193987) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:38AM (#40350801) Homepage

        i highly doubt any terrorist is going to be reviewing his plan in the airport, even in a hushed voice... if he does, then he's one of those too stupid to be of any danger.

        • by tqk (413719)

          i highly doubt any terrorist is going to be reviewing his plan in the airport, even in a hushed voice...

          Or, he's hoping to lure more LE closer into the blast radius of the bomb he's about to detonate.

        • by finity (535067)
          Clearly, then, the solution is to install listening devices in everyone's homes.
      • by tomhath (637240) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:49AM (#40350861)
        FTFA:

        the union representing about 45 CBSA employees at the airport is concerned personal workplace conversations and remarks could be captured and become part of employees' official record...A 2008 RCMP report said at least 58 crime groups were believed active at major airports, typically by corrupting airport employees or placing criminal associates in airport jobs to move narcotics and other contraband to and from planes.

        Sounds like the employees are more scared than the terrorists.

      • by reboot246 (623534) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:54AM (#40350897) Homepage
        The real terrorists are the ones who record your private conversations in airports.
  • by Froeschle (943753) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:33AM (#40350779)
    I feel safer already!
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:37AM (#40350799)
    This is ridiculous, I use to do risk assessments and anti-terrorism work in the aviation sector protecting airport assets and I see no practical reason for listening in on conversations. If a threat is already within the area-of-interest then you've this doesn't help with detection because the main threats we are meant to look for these days aren't the sort of people who are going to go blabbing on their cellphone about what they're about to do within the AOI. This technology does nothing about reducing attack surface area or reducing the impact of a successful attack. However, if we shift focus away from anti-terrorism this technology becomes slightly more useful in monitoring crime within airports, which believe it or not, happens more often then you think. Either way, it's still unethical and I know that this would be illegal in the jurisdiction I worked in at least.
  • This is news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by beaverdownunder (1822050) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @08:47AM (#40350843)

    I'd suspect that anyone who traveled through a post-911 NORAD-airspace airport who hadn't already assumed that their conversations might be monitored and / or recorded is either:

    A) Naive, or
    B) a fool (and also A.)

    If you're standing inside a modern-day airport in North America, consider that you may have had more liberty hanging out in a Stalinist Gulag. The airport is just a cage slightly more gilded.

    • Re:This is news? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @12:23PM (#40352125)

      Oh, look, a angry little child with no knowledge of history! Do your parents know you're using the internet?

      It's very easy to fall into the trap of "this thing that is happening right now" is the "worst/best thing in all of history!". I'm no fan of the TSA, but when you spout crap like that, all you do is drive people away from your line of thinking.

  • Reading stories like this makes me extra glad I'm sequestered away on my mountains surrounded by 300 Ninja guard pigs. Besides, I'm not saying anything that matters. :)

  • You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place anyway. I can't speak for Canada, but in the US case law is already being made that establishes that recording in public places is not an invasion of privacy. This includes photography, videography and audio.

    It applies not only to the public but to government agencies as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Those rulings are foolish and need changing. If I can see a camera pointed at me or a microphone in my general vicinity and it's a public place, fine. Hidden and secretive monitoring should not be permitted by the government, and police should be absolutely prohibited from interfering with citizens recording them. The penalties should be just as disproportionate to the offense as our stupid drug, sex, and "intellectual property" laws, complete with mandatory minimum sentencing, registering on a list when

    • by Mattwolf7 (633112)
      IANAL, but you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy in public. You give up certain expectations, but audio recordings in the U.S. are very different than video recordings. Oral communications falls into a different category (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2511). My understanding is that reasonable expectation of privacy regarding oral communications is basically that if it is unaided (no technology or device to enhance) then it is fair game, but when you need to use something to increase y
      • by Mashiki (184564)

        In Canada there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public. It is a 'public space' and in turn, public areas don't have the same level of privacy as private areas. There is however reasonable expectation of privacy in private, and on your private property. Meaning that if you're walking naked in your house, and you leave the drapes/blinds open. It's the other persons fault for staring through the window.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        What difference should technology make? Should a formerly deaf person who has been fitted with a high-tech hearing aid that actually gives him more sophisticated hearing than most be prohibited from eavesdropping on a conversation? If not, why should somebody else be prohibited from using technology?
        • I'd say the difference between what is described in this comment [slashdot.org] and what is described in your scenario (a hearing aid) is obvious. I don't believe the government should be spying on its own citizens (even in public), and I don't believe they should be wasting their resources on nonsense.

  • I found out some time ago that all conversations at my local bank (and therefore all banks, eh?) are recorded when you are banking at/with a human teller. The public is not made aware of this, but I can confirm it. My understanding is due to bank robberies, this system along with video recording was put into place, but how much more can it be used or is it used for?

    This makes me wonder then if the same thing is not happening at all other "public" spot where you interact w

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @10:05AM (#40351201) Homepage Journal
    Try reading from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150281/REVEALED-Hundreds-words-avoid-using-online-dont-want-government-spying-you.html [dailymail.co.uk]
    See what words trigger the US voice to text dictionary alerts.
    • Thank you, I will try to incorporate as many of these words into my innocent conversations as possible and will try to convince everyone else to do the same. Looking for a needle in a sea of needles won't be easy for them.
  • Ket [answers.com] ... although that would probably be enough to brand me a terrorist.

  • Recording telephone conversations, e-mail, tweets, etc. between suspected terrorists might be useful if one has the time to analyze them and act on the analysis. But until accurate real time multi-language speech processing becomes available, recording stuff in an airport is a bit too late.

    Sure, it would be interesting to play the tapes back (I know. Get off my lawn, kid!) after the airplane slams into a high rise. But what good is that going to do?

  • by Technician (215283) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @12:26PM (#40352141)

    Many people are thinking that if I am not near a microphone, it is hard to record my conversation and pick it out of a room full of people. This is normally the case. There is a recent technology advancement being used in sports using a phased microphone array.

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/10/picking_a_singl.html [schneier.com]

    This has alrady been posted in Slashdot.
    http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/10/11/1838252/high-tech-microphone-picks-voices-from-a-crowd [slashdot.org]

    If you record each microphone as a seperate track, and maintain timing syncronasation of the tracks, you can steer the array after the event to pick out individual conversations in a crowd.

    Live or recorded, the beam forming can be steered either way.

    The article was too thin on details to confirm if this is the tech being used, but I I was going to impliment recording for a room full of people that needed later seperation to review the drug lord converstaion, this is the tech that could do the job.

    A for privacy, there is littel chance anyone would steer the array from the stored recording to have any interest in what you were saying to the lady next to you that isn't your spouse.

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @12:28PM (#40352165)
    This is what happens when we look to our governments to make us feel safe and secure because we fear the boogeyman or we have an irrational fear of crime and the dark. If we thought for ourselves and didn't have knee jerk reactions to the news, we might actually protect what little freedoms from government incursion that we still cherish.
  • Nice out-of-context headline. Yes, this is happening at certain Canadian airports (YVR, YOW, YUL, YYZ) but only in Canadian Customs areas (e.g. international arrivals). This posting makes it sound like it's everywhere.

    It's primarily intended to help bust smuggling efforts by airport employees.

  • Unless we (as a society) take some very concrete legal steps to make it illegal for our governments to use the results of certain types of surveillance, our children will read 1984 and ask "so, what's the big deal?"

    This is not some paranoid worry. If the marginal cost of recording everything you say (online or offline) is near zero (and technology is driving it there), why shouldn't they keep it on file, just in case? (Think of how easy it would be to prosecute certain crimes if you could go back and re-p

  • "Mom, our school play totally bombed in the trials. The competition just obliterated us as the audience burst into applause. We just felt plain down.........Hey, who are you guys? Leave me alone! Mooooom!?"

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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