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Canadian airports to start recording your private conversations

He’s with the government.

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You know the airport security drill. Toss out your water bottles. Take off your shoes and pad around in your socks. Walk through the body scanner – or not (just don't beak off at authorities; your junk will be touched as deemed necessary).

Soon, at an airport near you, you may want to be careful about what you say in private conversations, too.

According to Postmedia News, high-definition cameras and microphones that can record private conversations are being installed at airports and border crossings across Canada.

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The Canadian Border Services Agency told The Ottawa Citizen that unidentified sites at airports and borders are already equipped with audio-video monitoring to boost security. The audio technology, though installed, is not recording just yet.

"It will become functional at a later date," a CBSA spokesman said.

When it does, the technology "will record conversations," CBSA said in a statement to The Ottawa Citizen.

While the newspaper suggests the recording equipment could be linked to authorities' efforts to crack down on organized crime and smuggling, it also poses obvious questions about privacy – and not just for travellers either.

The union representing some CBSA workers at the Ottawa airport says it is concerned that personal workplace conversations could be recorded and used in an employee's official record. (Consider how you'd feel if your workplace was wired with microphones.)

For the rest of us, audio recording technology may present yet another reason to walk on eggshells while travelling.

What do you think? If it's meant to increase security and safety, would you mind having your private conversations recorded?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More


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