If you ride public transit in Maryland, there’s a chance that a device installed on your bus is listening to and recording your conversations. Fortunately for you, you’re probably more likely to be silently hammering your way through Return of Candy Crush: Birds Who Are Both Angry and Flappy than you are to be talking to you neighbor, anyway.
It turns out that Maryland public buses have been conducting audio surveillance on their passengers since 2012. The Washington Post reports today that state lawmakers are attempting to curtail the practice. Currently, about two-thirds of the Maryland Transit Administration’s bus fleet are equipped with the devices, which are always recording. Legislators pushing a new bill would like the recorders to be activated only during an public safety incident or other emergency, the Post reports. ““What [the Maryland Transit Administration] is doing is a mass surveillance,” Democratic State Senator Robert Zirkin told the paper.
MTA buses were equipped with video cameras long before they added sound recording, and the new bill does not seem to impact video recording. Next time you whip out your smartphone for a few rounds of Temple Run: The Movie: The Game, make sure you play your hardest—you never know who might be watching.