FBI Activates Cell Phones Remotely for Wiretapping
December 2, 2006 3:57 PM
comment(s) - last by
They can see us, read our emails, watch our IM conversations, and now even hear us whether we want them to or not
It seems as though George Orwell hit it the bullseye again when he wrote about Big Brother and the government's way of keeping track of the general public. It has been recently revealed that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has a way of
tapping a cell phone and using the microphone to listen in on nearby conversations
The method used for listening in on conversations held by alleged members of Cosa Nostra is called a "roving bug" and was ruled to be a legal method of wiretapping by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. The bug was alledgedly used on two Nextel phones. It looks like all cellular phones are vulnerable to this sort of wiretapping according to CNet's findings:
The U.S. Commerce Department's security office
that "a cellular telephone can be turned into a microphone and transmitter for the purpose of listening to conversations in the vicinity of the phone." An
Financial Times last year said mobile providers can "remotely install a piece of software on to any handset, without the owner's knowledge, which will activate the microphone even when its owner is not making a call."
Kaplan further added that the functionality of the roving bug was in place even when the phone was powered off -- or at least when the phone looked to be powered off. One possible method that the FBI used to tap into the two Nextel phones is by getting the network to install a rogue firmware update which gave the agency access to such features.
Such capability has long been rumored to exist in Motorola phones after it was discovered how the 9/11 terrorists used cellular phones to coordinate most of their activities.
Still there are some skeptics who believe that this method does not exist and that the FBI had to have physically planted a bug into the cellular phone to monitor conversations. But with the recent boom of PDA phones and devices that support custom software it was only a matter of time before hackers, or the government found a way to exploit similar features.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
This is a good and bad thing
12/3/2006 2:25:50 PM
The real danger behind a capability such as this isn't misue by the FBI, but by the NSA. The FBI is part of the Federal court system, and to a certain extent there are checks and balances. The FBI can tap anyone's phone if they wanted to, but then that evidence isn't usable in a court of law. An agency such as the NSA does not operate in the Federal court system. They were never intended to operate domestically, which is why there was such a bug fuss over Bush's decision to use the NSA to intercept outgoing international calls. The NSA can basically do whatever they want to since they were never intended to be used to monitor the activities of those inside the United States. The other problem with the NSA is anything that they, or the CIA do for that matter, is not usable in a court of law. I read an article forever ago, wish I had a link to reference for this, which stated that the CIA knew about the 9/11 hijackers being in the country prior the attacks. However, at the time, there was a disconnect between the CIA and FBI, because of legal reasons. Anything the CIA knew the FBI could not use domestically for legal reasons.
I have no personal issues with the FBI using technology such as this. There is a system of checks and balances in place with the FBI. The real potential for abuse exists with our intelligence gathering services abusing this technology. Granted the potential is small, but given the state of the world today, it is only a matter of time before this is abused. We have already kidnapped people by accident, so this too will be abused with time.
"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
Sprint Intros Free Wi-Fi Calling for Overseas Travelers
August 29, 2014, 11:30 AM
Nokia HERE Maps to Arrive on Samsung Galaxy Smartphones This October
August 29, 2014, 9:14 AM
Microsoft's Standalone Kinect 2 Goes On Sale Oct. 7 for $150
August 28, 2014, 4:33 PM
Apple Builds Not-So-Secret Secret 3-Story Tower for iPhone 6/iWatch Unveil
August 28, 2014, 3:41 PM
Intel Offers up Penny Sized 3G Modem for Smart Appliances, Etc.
August 28, 2014, 3:25 PM
T-Mobile Will Also Carry the HTC One (M8) for Windows
August 28, 2014, 2:59 PM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft's Surface 2 Tablet Family Gets a $100 Price Cut
August 25, 2014, 1:16 AM
Owner of "Decepticon" Maserati Ordered to Appear in Court This Thursday
August 25, 2014, 7:55 AM
SpaceX Falcon 9-R Rocket Suffers Malfunction, Self-Destructs During Test Flight
August 23, 2014, 9:36 AM
LG Posts Teaser Video of Its “Round Face” G Watch R Smartwatch, Set for IFA Lauch
August 24, 2014, 2:49 PM
Windows 9: "Upgrade Now" Button Coming for Enterprise Updates, ARM Preview in H1 2015
August 26, 2014, 8:00 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information