Be careful what you say in public. No, really – be careful what you say in public because you just never know who or what may be listening to your words. It could be the person sitting at the table beside you. It could be the waitress who overhears part of your conversation as she’s coming to take your order. It could be the person standing behind you as you’re waiting in line. Or, it could be one of the lamps residing on top of your table. Especially if you’re in New York City. I wish I was kidding, but I’m totally serious.

It has recently come to light that 2 people who wanted to try their hand at hidden surveillance did just that in the Big Apple. They went to Washington Square Park and put hidden wi-fi enabled listening devices inside of lamps at a bank, a library, McDonalds, and of all places, someone’s bedroom. But that’s not the end of the story. After the conversations are recorded by the lamps, they’re sent to Mechanical Turk, where they are transcribed and then tweeted out on Twitter. This has been going on for about 7 months under the Twitter handle @Conversnitch. Kyle McDonald and Brian House, who are behind the spying, state that they want people to be extra cautious about being watched.

Lamps That Spy On People & Tweet Their ConversationsLamps That Spy On People & Tweet Their Conversations

That Lamp Does More Than Just Light Up The Room

While this may seem (and probably is) slightly unethical, the pair seem to want to teach us all a lesson, that if they’re able to do this, just imagine what the government is able to do without our knowledge. It’s scary when you actually stop and think about it.

So, that old adage “be careful what you say” is never more true than in today’s world, because you never know who – or, what – is listening to your conversations.

A snippet of someone’s conversation tweeted by Conversnitch

[Images via motherboard & designboom]