Privacy rights advocates and civil liberties campaigners in Europe are raising the alarm about a new surveillance system that monitors conversations in public.
The surveillance system, dubbed Sigard, has been installed in Dutch city centers, government offices and prisons, and a recent test-run of the technology in Coventry, England, has British civil rights experts worried that the right to privacy will disappear in efforts to fight street crime.
The system's manufacturer, Sound Intelligence, says it works by detecting aggression in speech patterns.
"Ninety percent of all incidents involving physical aggression are preceded by verbal aggression," the Sound Intelligence Web site says. "The ability to spot verbal aggression before it turns into a violent outbreak delivers valuable time to security personnel and enables speedy intervention."
That's right, just like in that Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report , where you could be arrested before you committed a crime. So, not only might you be watched by cameras that are Big Brotherishly staring down at you from every corner, you'll be listened to at the same time. Let's get some pigs on the scene every time someone raises their voice! I don't know about you, but I've seen many situations (and been in a few) in public places where voices were raised and things got very verbally hostile, but nothing physical happened.
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