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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 warns 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 article in the 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.

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By CMcIntyre on 12/4/2006 2:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I'd rather be in canada, even if I had to pay a tax to get in. Everybody pays tax's who cares, The whole point of the U.S. gun rules was to so call "Protect Each other" but most U.S. deaths are caused by guns. Canada is a lot safer because they do not allow guns and as well there health plans are 100% better, Canada focus's more on there country and citizens then there army like America does. Canada does not send there troops in if it doesn't concern them or if they need to. Remember vietnam U.S. citizens? Need I say more?

By rykerabel on 12/4/2006 3:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
I have many friends in Canada that have suffered under that 100% health care. It sucks. I've personally suffered under US government healthcare (both Army and Medicaid). It sucks.

There is no such thing as free. You better stick up for what few liberties we have left, or you won't have any.

PS. A suburb of New Orleans during the Katrina recovery passed a law greatly encouraging gun owners to turn in their guns... most did, now its crime rate is 288% higher only 6 months later... you don't see that on the news here, but luckily, i remember both news reports that were seperated by 6 mo and can see for myself the significance.

Democrats believe people are stupid and need to be controlled. Republicans believe people are stupid and can be fleeced. Of the two, i'd rather be robbed than caged, but neither's idea of "for my own good" corresponds to my idea of "whats good for me"

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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