Thursday, November 23, 2006

Big Brother Isn't Watching; He's Listening

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.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Geez. How many stressed mothers are going to be arrested for child abuse because they snap at their kids?

Not liking this. But I don't like the cameras, either.

Maya said...

Susan: I know exactly how you feel.