james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
If someone has sharp enough hearing to listen to conversation half a kilometer away, is it legal to do so?

Date: 2019-03-10 10:51 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
I'd think a decent lawyer would argue that super-hearing is legally indistinguishable from a parabolic microphone. As I understand it, the use of parabolic microphones by private persons for nearly everything except nature studies and film sets is Right Out.

Date: 2019-03-10 11:03 pm (UTC)
sylvanwitch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sylvanwitch
That's a refreshingly protective law. In NYS, where I live, our last neighbors had mic'd cameras mounted to the outside of their house and could hear every word going on inside of ours. We were told that we could do nothing about it because it wasn't illegal, even if they were recording us, as long as they only used it for their personal entertainment and did not post it on the internet or plan to use it for proof of wrongdoing on our part. Ditto with any still shots or video they took of neighborhood kids on their bikes in the street, etc. And this isn't even the best reason we had for moving from that hellhole.

That said, we did get some entertainment ourselves out of staging outrageous conversations just to see how they'd react to us when they saw us in the yard or whatnot.

Date: 2019-03-11 04:10 pm (UTC)
beamjockey: Gorilla playing accordion (gorilla)
From: [personal profile] beamjockey
This is a job for a parabolic loudspeaker, one aimed at each offending camera, paired with a loop playing gibberish, or nature noises, or perhaps noises recorded just outside the walls of the offending house.

Date: 2019-03-11 10:20 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
Recordings of amorous raccoons would seem to be ideal in this application.

Date: 2019-03-10 11:44 pm (UTC)
ironyoxide: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ironyoxide
Arguments about the difference between "super hearing", and naturally acute hearing, especially in a setting where super powers are not otherwise detectable--i.e. there's no genetic test for "mutants".

Also, how easy is it to deliberately fail a hearing test?

Date: 2019-03-10 11:54 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-46/section-184.html really doesn't care how you do it, but does specify "device". I still think it'd hinge on whether or not super-hearing is legally a device.

Regular hearing tests wouldn't detect super-hearing, they don't go down to anything that faint. It's pretty easy to fail something where you're asked to press a button if you hear the noise. The trick would be knowing which times to push the button; proving you can't possibly be hearing the doctors talking to you after you've obviously done so would give away that you were failing on purpose.

Super hearing has to come with an automatic filter of some kind, or turning it on in Toronto would utterly overload it, so probably not easy to force a super to admit they have it by making distant faint unkind statements. But maybe easy to turn it off and take the hearing test on a non-powered basis.

Date: 2019-03-11 12:20 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If you did have to design a test to determine if someone had superhearing, it would be something like a polygraph. Have someone five rooms away (in a building with better soundproofing than my office building!) saying inflammatory things and see if the test subject's heart rate increases (etc.). Doable, but quite different from a typical hearing test.

Date: 2019-03-11 02:35 am (UTC)
dewline: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dewline
They can't require people to self-mutilate (with or without medical assistance). Not for this.

Date: 2019-03-11 02:44 am (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
It's really darn easy to require people to wear earplugs, though.

If the super-hearing is actually hearing, and not some kind of psi power or whatever the standard handwavium is for the Superman kind that works in a vacuum, I'd think 33 dB earplugs would about do for it. Whatever miracle of signal processing is going on doesn't get the faint stuff as input.

If the super-hearing is a switchable power, it's easy to require you not to turn it on any time you couldn't legitimately turn on a parabolic microphone. It may not be easy to prove that you did turn it on inappropriately if you never mention or act on what you hear.

Date: 2019-03-11 12:36 pm (UTC)
armiphlage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] armiphlage
dB reduction alone might not be enough. It could reduce the signal amplitude to about the same level as the noise of blood moving in your ears, so the signal-to-noise ratio makes it effectively unintelligible. However, since the blood noises are being created by the same body that contains the mental signal processing, it's not really random noise. The brain would have access to extra data (such as heart rate and historic noise patterns) that could allow it to could filter out blood noises.

Maybe earplugs, plus headphones playing multiple overlapping conversations?

Date: 2019-03-11 01:45 pm (UTC)
dwight_benjamin_thieme: My daughter Ellen in her debut as Rusty from Footloose (Default)
From: [personal profile] dwight_benjamin_thieme
Now I'm thinking Harrison Bergeron.

Date: 2019-03-12 12:38 am (UTC)
ross_smith: Dalek (Default)
From: [personal profile] ross_smith
Of course, the problem with trying to oppress people with superpowers is that you're trying to oppress people with superpowers.

Date: 2019-03-11 12:35 pm (UTC)
viktor_haag: (Default)
From: [personal profile] viktor_haag
I'd guess it might depend on how long the super person had their super hearing. I would assume that, after a while, a person with super hearing would have their ability to filter and discriminate sounds naturally increase as well.

Date: 2019-03-11 01:51 pm (UTC)
dwight_benjamin_thieme: My daughter Ellen in her debut as Rusty from Footloose (Default)
From: [personal profile] dwight_benjamin_thieme
I dunno about 'filters' and 'overloads', but when I first moved to Chicago all the city sounds -- trains, cars, late-night pedestrians -- made for several sleepless nights. Now (to the extent I can sleep straight through the the usual seven hours) I sleep like a baby.

Contrariwise, it's simply _amazing_ how noisy the animal life is after dark in my former old and sleepy little town.

Date: 2019-03-11 09:18 pm (UTC)
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
From: [personal profile] stoutfellow
I recall an issue of "Daredevil", back in the '80s, in which the last page read "Next issue: Daredevil's powers increase! (This is not a good thing!)" (or words to that effect). The following arc introduced the Mysterious Possibly Asian Mentor who had trained him originally and now had to teach him how to filter again.

Date: 2019-03-11 10:22 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
There's a splendid bit of Bill Sienkiewicz Daredevil art where someone gets away because Daredevil is standing on a subway grating when the train passes and loses the track in the train noise.

You know the joke that time keeps everything from happening at once?

Space keeps everything from happening to you, and super-hearing is sort of a space failure; lots of things that wouldn't regularly do so happen to you.

Date: 2019-03-16 02:40 pm (UTC)
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
From: [personal profile] stoutfellow
Interesting thought. At the other end of the spectrum (the "what do you mean, disability?" end), we have DD's invulnerability to the Purple Man's hypnotic power because he couldn't see him.

Date: 2019-03-11 12:41 pm (UTC)
armiphlage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] armiphlage
If you design the test properly, it will detect both user variation as well as hardware variation.

At work, we do gage range and repeatability testing. It's intended to catch human variation on the part of the tester (rather than the test subject), but would also detect someone trying to fake results.

ANOVA testing is a more involved method that might be better in this application, as human hearing would likely follow a non-normal distribution.


Date: 2019-03-11 02:46 am (UTC)
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
From: [personal profile] violsva
According to my sister the lawyer, as long as you did not use artificial means it is completely legal ... but the question is, can you convince the court that you did not use artificial means?

Date: 2019-03-11 01:28 pm (UTC)
dsrtao: dsr as a LEGO minifig (Default)
From: [personal profile] dsrtao
Demonstration under oath and controlled circumstances ought to convince the court.

Date: 2019-03-12 02:27 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Or if it was a specific past incident, witness testimony and security cameras (or bystander smartphone video). Parabolic microphones aren't particularly concealable.

Nathan H.

Date: 2019-03-12 09:17 pm (UTC)
violsva: full bookshelf with ladder (Default)
From: [personal profile] violsva
Assuming that superpowers are recognized as possible at all, yes. Otherwise, who knows?

Date: 2019-03-11 03:10 pm (UTC)
thewayne: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thewayne
In the USA, it varies by state law. In some states, if one person who is party to the conversation gives permission to record the call and does so, it's legal. In some states, it requires permission from both parties. This means that in states where it only requires one person's knowledge that if I'm talking to you on the phone, I can record the call because I'm consenting and there's nothing you can do.

But outside, you're in a public place and there's little to no expectation to privacy unless you're on private property and speaking quietly. There was a big kerfuffle about a California courthouse where an overzealous district attorney bugged the steps outside the courthouse and conducted surveillance on defenders and their clients, then used the recordings against them. Very much a no-no.

I don't know how much Canadian law varies from one province/territory/city/town to the next. Here we have Federal/state/county/city law levels.

If your hypothetical conversation is in a private residence and held at a normal conversation level, it's probably an illegal access. If it's someone screaming under torture or for rescue from kidnapping, then good samaritan laws might come into effect.

Date: 2019-03-12 01:52 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] keith_morrison
In terms of superhearing, the case law is pretty clear: it would be considered interception of a communication to which the person with the hearing was a third party and for which there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, thus illegal. So if you were eavesdropping, even without using any kind of mechanical or electronic assistance to do it, and the situation was such that the person doing the communication had no reason to believe someone might be listening, it would not be legal.

So it would depend on context. If the people were talking in a public place where other people were around, say in a park, there probably wouldn't be a reasonable expectation of privacy; they might not notice someone sitting on a bench, and if that's true of someone a few meters away it would be true of someone 500 meters away. On the other hand if they were sitting in a car in a parking lot with the windows up, even though it's a public place, there's a reasonable expectation they won't be overheard.

On the other hand, if superhearing was recognized as a thing, that's inherent to a person and exists, that might alter the situation; if they know they could be overheard while standing outside, then there's a question as to whether there's a reasonable expectation of privacy to begin with.

Date: 2019-03-12 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] keith_morrison
....and, I just realized R v Jarvis came out a few weeks ago, which alters what I said above.

Further, the impact of new and emerging technologies needs to be carefully considered. It is possible that “technology may allow a person to see or hear more acutely, thereby transforming what is “reasonably expected and intended to be a private setting” into a setting that is not.” (at para 63). The majority also noted that “’reasonable expectation of privacy’ is a normative rather than a descriptive standard.” (at para 68). This means that a person’s expectation of privacy should not be determined simply on the basis of whether there is a risk that they might be observed or recorded. If this were the case, advances in technology would shrink reasonable expectations of privacy to nothingness. As a result, the majority framed the core question as “whether that person was in circumstances in which she would reasonably have expected not to be the subject of the observation or recording at issue.” (at para 70)


For the majority, the determination of whether a person was in “circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy” should be guided by a non-exhaustive list of contextual considerations. These considerations should include:

1. The location the person was in when she was observed or recorded

2. The nature of the impugned conduct, that is whether it consisted of observation or recording

3. Awareness of or consent to potential observation or recording.

4. The manner in which the observation or recording was done

5. The subject matter or content of the observation or recording

6. Any rules, regulations or policies that governed the observation or recording in question.

7. The relationship between the person who was observed or recorded and the person who did the observing or recording.

8. The purpose for which the observation or recording was done.

9. The personal attributes of the person who was observed or recorded.


So contextual. Number 8 would factor in here; if someone was using their superior hearing to listen in on someone just for amusement, that's one thing. If, however, someone with superhearing saw someone in a public park who appeared to be aggressive or violent toward another person and the person with superhearing was trying to figure out if something was going on in which someone was in danger, then they'd probably be okay.
Edited Date: 2019-03-12 02:10 am (UTC)

Date: 2019-03-12 03:08 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
What about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Love_Call

Super-hearing does not seem to be required.

Robert Carnegie

Date: 2019-03-12 04:18 pm (UTC)
bolindbergh: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bolindbergh
All Those Overheard Conversations Were Someone Else's Fault


james_davis_nicoll: (Default)

March 2019

      1 2
34 5 67 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 1920 2122 23

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Mar. 24th, 2019 12:36 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios