If you're being spied on visually, press 1; if you're being spied on audio-visually, press 2.
Here is a Canadian initiative: Airports and border crossings are being fitted with cameras and microphones that can eavesdrop on travelers' conversations. The Canadian Border Services Agency announced the installations this weekend, noting that audio-video monitoring and recording are already in place at "unidentified CBSA sites" at airports and border points of entry across the country. The new initiative will be an extension of that. The point will be, as it always is, to enhance "border integrity, infrastructure and asset security and health and safety."
The point will also be, however, to serve as a preemptive deterrent to drug smugglers and other criminals. A 2008 report identified at least 58 organized crime groups as "active" at major airports, corrupting airport employees and/or placing people in airport jobs -- from which they can easily move narcotics and other contraband to and from waiting airplanes.
The union representing some 45 employees at Ottawa's airport isn't pleased about the new plan, since workers' conversations will be recorded along with the criminals'. For the most part, though, the initiative is standard government-surveillance fare, done in the name of crime prevention, national security, and, in general, the interests of those being spied on. And the Canadian government's focus on the relatively public spaces of the airport and checkpoint make it positively tame compared to the massive citizen surveillance scheme the U.K. unveiled last week.