Canadian government wants to fill airports with KGB-style hidden microphones

The Canadian border agency wants to cover the nation's airports with spy-ears that can listen in on and record your conversations from a distance. They've already done it for some airports, though they're not saying which.

Don't worry, though, they won't turn them on without a "privacy impact assessment."

Because the impact this will have on privacy isn't totally fucking obvious.

The recording equipment may also be linked to a federal initiative to help CBSA combat organized crime and internal smuggling conspiracies at big Canadian airports.

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.

The Customs Act was amended in 2009 to allow for the creation of "customs controlled areas" within airports, starting with those in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, followed by Ottawa and other international Canadian aerodromes.

Listening equipment 'will record conversations' at Canadian airports: CBSA (via /.)

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    1. If you have any concerns about the way the Government is behaving, bring it to the attention of your local MP by sending an email to… well, anyone really.

  1. Cameras and microphones at airports and border crossings, ACTA, warrant-less Internet spying …. I’m betting Harper has the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms printed on his toilet paper.

  2. The mason jars full of ‘scents’ in a huge storeroom can only be next. Don’t forget to inform on your neighbors, or loved ones, and be there at the book burnings and the windows smashing. They’ll be accepting bids for special camp signage, soon, but must be private industries only.

    1.  If you have a large number of microphones spread around  you can combine them with signal processing to pinpoint sound sources and cancel out everything except from the area you are interested in.

      Such many receiver devices often go under the name “phased array” and are common in a lot of areas such as radar..

      Here is just one vid about source localizing:

    2. “Hey, Zonker, is it true about you doing drugs?” 
      “Not me, Mike! I get high on life! And America!”

  3. Those “bath bombs” advertised very prominently at that LUSH store near some of the gates  at Pearson are really gonna cause some grief.

  4. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.The white zone is for loading and unloading only.

    1. Not in Canada.  The Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to the Queen, or her government.  There are no real absolute rights there, just tiny crumbs of cake thrown out to the plebes.

  5. There are so many things that people say in casual conversation that could be misunderstood as dangerous if taken out of context. What an awful idea.

    1.  You’re not supposed to have casual conversations in airports – only tense, fearful ones.

  6. So, I should keep to myself how totally and utterly dysfunctional it is trying to exit through Canadian airports to the US? The next time I am confronted with three separate extended queues in a row from three separate agencies, that will prove somewhat challenging.

  7. I feel safer already! Thanks, Comrade Harper! (Or, if you prefer the Godwin version, Herr Harper.)

  8. awards for whoever can script and execute the filthiest, most depraved and disgusting speculation into the personal lives of airport security monkeys.   No law against two people having a quiet personal conversation at the airport.  If the eavesdroppers don’t like it, they don’t have to admit they were listening.

  9. Similar system have been deployed in Europe since the 90’s. My employer has a strict rule to never speak of destinations, layovers, or work while in an airport or public conveyance.

  10. about time, does anyone here really  belive that this is not being done already.

    friend cover your mouth when you speak for the lip reading today is pretty great.

  11. Wow. Now they’ll have thousands of hours recorded of people complaining about Air Canada delays.
    That’ll show them terrorists!

  12. So

    Step 1: listening in as my husband and I have another pointless conversation about whether or not we arrived at the airport too early, or spell “ladder” for the forth time in ten minutes so my daughter can solve another Scribblenauts puzzle.

    Step 2: ????

    Step 3: Protect the world from drug smugglers and terrorists. 

  13. So let me get this straight…  The West won The Cold War and we’re winning the War on Terror as well, right?  You know, in a fight for “our freedoms” ™, correct?

    Sure doesn’t seem like it to me.

  14. Now I understand why TSA employees  beat up pregnant women,  strip search 89 year old people in wheel-chairs and require mothers to throw out their baby’s milk. It’s now so understandable. The TSA and its Canadian counterpart is the sucessor of the GESTAPO. With clandestine video  and audio recording devices, no one can ever challenge any authority whatsoever.  Its accepted by the public under the ruse of public safety and for your own protection.

  15. A lot of foil-hattery going on here. If they stationed humans with ears instead of microphones (Mikes instead of mics, lol), would anyone care?

    Airports are public places. There is no expectation of privacy in public places. Therefore there is zero impact on privacy, and it certainly isn’t some kind of civil rights violation.

    Stop distracting yourselves. There are plenty of real issues.

    EDIT: The system won’t let me reply so I’m putting my response to Antinous here.

    “Did you really just ask if anyone would care if the government hired spies to stand around in airports and eavesdrop on citizens?”

    Yes. They already have “spies” like that. They’re called “guards.” And, by definition, it’s not eavesdropping in the legal sense because they’re IN PUBLIC.

    “I don’t think that you understand the difference between ethics/civil rights and rules of evidence.”

    You’re wrong. There is no civil right to expect privacy in a public place. The rules of evidence don’t even enter into it. Certainly no one will be convicted of anything solely on something said in an airport.

    1. If they stationed humans with ears instead of microphones (Mikes instead of mics, lol), would anyone care?

      Did you really just ask if anyone would care if the government hired spies to stand around in airports and eavesdrop on citizens?

      There is no expectation of privacy in public places.

      I don’t think that you understand the difference between ethics/civil rights and rules of evidence.

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