Canadian airports being wired with listening equipment that ‘will record conversations’: report

Canadian travelers beware -- 'Big Brother' will soon be listening to every word.

According to a PostMedia News report, airports and border crossings across Canada are being wired with high-definition cameras and microphones that can eavesdrop on your conversations.

At Canada's largest airports, listening devices will  be limited to "controlled areas" which  include the areas surrounding aircraft that have arrived in or are about to leave Canada, the primary inspection area where all travellers must report to a border services officer, the secondary inspection area where border services officers conduct further examinations of travellers and goods as well as certain holding and departure areas at the airport.

"It is important to note that even though audio technology is installed, no audio is recorded at this time. It will become functional at a later date," Canada Border Services Agency spokesman Chris Kealey said in a written statement.

But whenever that occurs, the technology, "will record conversations."

The measure -- like the airport body scanners -- is likely linked to other federal initiatives to combat terrorism and organized crime.

But how much confidence should Canadians have that our voice recordings will remain private?

If history is any indication, we should be concerned.

An audit conducted by Canada's privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart last November, found that CBSA officials were doing a poor job securing private information.

"Documents containing sensitive personal information were left on open shelves and in plain view in a room where passengers may be taken for security checks," the report revealed.

In one case, auditors visited the rooms where CATSA officials screen full-body scans and discovered a cellphone and a closed-circuit TV camera — even though these devices are forbidden under the agency's operating procedures.

By being loose on security procedures, "images — and potentially the identity of the passenger," were at risk of exposure, the report said.

As 'Big Brother' widens its reach, maybe the best advice for Canadian travelers is to just stay silent.