There’s no such thing as a private conversation anymore.

In an age when phones are tapped, emails are read and conversations are picked up by bugs on walls and in ceilings, it seems like the only place to safely and securely communicate with someone is outdoors. Now, change that “is” to a “was.”

A matchstick-sized sensor has now been developed by a Dutch acoustics firm that can be tuned to secretly locate and record whispered conversations conducted outside. It’s known as an acoustic vector sensor and it measures the movement of air disturbed by sound waves to almost instantly locate where a sound originated. It can then identify the noise and, if required, transmit it live to listening ears.

Previously, this type of technology has only been used for military purposes. Larger sensors have been used to locate enemy planes and rockets. In fact, a single sensor can track and identify multiple distant jets, mortar rounds and sniper rifles in any environment.

The new matchstick-sized sensor can hear, record or stream an ordinary conversation from as far away as 22 yards, and signal-processing software filters out unwanted noise such as wind or traffic. Efforts are now being made to increase the range.

Add a battery and a small antenna and this type of device could be attached to traffic lights, a bush or a park bench. Detecting a disturbance, the sensor can direct a surveillance camera to the precise location, which is the same way that our ears cooperate with our eyes. The camera could then begin recording everything being said in that location.

This technology has to be music to our government’s ears. There’s nothing they love more than finding new ways to spy on people. They already had the indoors pretty much covered, as well as outdoor video. Adding outdoor audio to the mix will put smiles on many faces.

Do you think the day will come when people will be afraid to say what they think due to advanced technology and how it’s used by the government? Or do you think that day has already come? Please let me know what you think about this fascinating and potentially scary situation.

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