The 2014 '30 Under 30'

Congrats to this year's 30 -- check out the full list here!

Government officials installing audio surveillance systems on public buses

The era of private conversations on city buses — and even on San Francisco’s iconic streetcars — may be coming to an end.

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.

“This is very shocking,” said Anita Allen, a privacy law expert at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s a little beyond what we’re accustomed to. The adding of the audio seems more sensitive.”

In San Francisco, for example, transit officials recently approved a $5.9 million contract to install a new audio-enabled surveillance system on 357 buses and trolley cars over four years, with an option for 613 more vehicles. The contract, signed in July, specifies both modern buses and historic trolley cars.

Read more at The Daily

 

Comments

Polititainment

'True Blood' star takes on Sarah Palin

Kristin Bauer van Straten, who plays vampire Pam Ravenscroft on the HBO program, hit back at the former governor of Alaska for criticizing a recent episode.

Cher rants against Rand Paul
Thrown in between tweets about toothaches, costumes and pool time, Cher decided to rant about Sen. Rand Paul on Twitter Friday night. It was not clear what prompted the Twitter tirade. Cher had just finished giving an update on her toothache and five new “unbelievable” costumes when she switched gears. Mediaite postulated that she may […]
Joel helps explain GOP view on jobs
Apparently John Boehner’s press team is made up entirely of Billy Joel enthusiasts. The Library of Congress announced on Tuesday that this year’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song will go to Joel. The prize “honors artists whose work has left a lasting impact on audiences and inspired new generations of performers.” And John Boehner’s press […]
Joan Rivers rips media over Israel

In which Joan Rivers takes a sledgehammer to the media.

Fla. pol proposes mandated D'Souza show

Florida State Senator Alan Hayes, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, is planning on introducing legislation to mandate that all Florida high schools show Dinesh D’Souza’s new film "America." That is, unless parents don’t want their kids to see it.

White House

Golfer finds Obama’s golf ball in the woods, says president’s game is ‘off line’
President Barack Obama is “off line again.” Or at least his golf game appears to be. Instagram user larrydoh posted a picture of a Titleist 44 golf ball labeled “POTUS” on Saturday. He found the golf ball at the Congressional Country Club, one day after POTUS played the same course himself. “Obama played at Congressional […]
Polls: Obama White House incompetent at managing, worse than Darth Vader

The job of the administrative branch is to, well, administer the laws. According to a new Fox News poll released on Wednesday, most Americans think that the Obama administration is failing dismally at the task.

Obama wants ‘idealism and optimism’ for millennials in face of Congressional ‘crisis,’ refuses to recognize he is part of the problem
Now that “hope and change” seems to be played out, President Barack Obama has come up with a new catchphrase for millennials – “idealism and optimism.” In a speech at a Democratic National Convention fundraiser in Seattle, Wash. Tuesday night, Obama asked young people not to give up their natural idealism and optimism because of […]
President Obama admits he does not watch the news

During a speech during a Democratic National Committee event in Seattle, Washington Tuesday night, President Obama confessed that he doesn't watch the news. Throughout the speech, Obama predictably complained about the incompetence of our "broken" Congress and urged his liberal audience to get enthusiastic about voting for Democrats in the midterm elections this fall.

Congress and the President actually take action, Obama says ‘it’s so much fun’
“Girls just want to have fun,” Cyndi Lauper belts in her famous song. Apparently President Barack Obama wants to join her. “Let’s do this more often. It’s so much fun,” Obama said at a bill signing on Tuesday. Obama gathered in White House with members of Congress to sign the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This […]

Congress

Congresswoman's 'miracle baby' turns one
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R- Wash.) and her husband Dan recently celebrated the first birthday of their “miracle baby,” Abigail Rose. The couple learned early into the congresswoman’s pregnancy that their baby had Potter’s Syndrome. The condition causes a lack of amniotic fluid which prevents the baby’s growth and development, especially of the kidneys. Jaime […]
Obama throws more fuel on lawsuit fire
It appears President Barack Obama plans to keep up his “So sue me” attitude this week. House Speaker John Boehner penned an op-ed Sunday in USA Today that outlined the specifics of the planned lawsuit against the president. He had announced in late June that he would file a lawsuit against Obama on behalf of the […]
Norton: 'You don't have a right to know'

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton played down the importance of government transparency during a House hearing Friday, speaking out against Republican-led attempts to compel a White House official to appear before the Government and Oversight Committee.

Politicians struggle to 'live the wage'

Goodbye three-course power lunches at swanky D.C.  steakhouses. Hello Ramen noodles and PB&J.

Paul Ryan unveils new anti-poverty agenda

In another example of the Republican Party expanding its policy tent, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled a new poverty-fighting agenda Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute.