Okay, now this story creeped me out. I read it on Listening Post. It was written by Eliot van Buskirk.
The Dutch town of Groningen has activated a system of street microphones in order to pick up aggressive sounding voices. The microphones have software that detects "high frequency vowel sounds [that] span a broader frequency range." The police have already made three arrests during a trial run of the system.
The developer of the technology is Peter van Hengel who claims: "Aggressive people tend to tense their larynx, and the sound made by their vocal cards is distorted . . . A truly aggressive voice is very hard to imitate."
I *think* I'm okay with cameras everywhere we go. While the idea of being watched all the time also creeps me out, I recognize that the safety value outweighs the intrusive element. However, when it comes to having my conversations *heard*, I feel completely differently.
I'd hate to think that, before long, our anti-terrorist efforts will be expanded to include sound systems like this.
Remember: Fifty-seven years ago, George Orwell wrote 1984, in which the citizens of Oceania were under complete surveillance by Big Brother.