Sunday, December 16, 2012

Local Buses Listen in on Riders, Right Here in Eugene

My for now home town of Eugene, Oregon: local bus line LTD watches riders via cameras on buses, as well as listening to their conversations. All part of a federal program. Disingenuously, Andy Vobora, the bus company's media person, assures us this surveillance has been going on for "about a decade" and after all, we all want to feel safe:

Concern raised over bus surveillance systems | Video and audio monitoring have been part of LTD for a while, but many people were unaware of the devices: n article published on The Daily website last week said government officials are installing audio surveillance systems on public buses nationwide to listen to riders’ conversations. Eugene was included in the list of areas that already have or soon will have such surveillance, the website reported.

Some residents took to LTD’s Facebook page and other media outlets to air their concerns about the practice, which they say is a violation of privacy. But LTD spokesman Andy Vobora said many of the district’s buses have been equipped with audio monitoring devices for about a decade, and LTD has had video cameras on buses even longer.

LTD didn’t make its initial decision in secret to record conversations on buses, Vobora said. He said LTD invited community comment at that time. To this day, signs inside the buses remind riders they are being recorded, he said.

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