Saturday, September 6, 2008

Brian Shields explains the intricacies of international wire-tapping

New blogs take time to develop a personality, so checking back periodically is a necessary exercise, as with Brian Shields' The Mourning Constitution, where he has the first original thought about wire-tapping I've seen yet.

Brian points out that the government claims it will only tap international calls.

Then he reminds you of the last time you dialed an 800-number for customer service and ended up speaking to Vhopal, India.

After that:

Say you have a situation with John Druglord is in Arizona making a phone call to Joe Drugdealer in Sacremento. They plan on coordinating a distribution of a large number of goods. The feds want to catch these two and make a big drug bust.

Now, if they wanted to, the feds could tell the telecom company to reroute all of John Druglord's phone calls to a server overseas, and re route them back into the US on it's way to Joe Drugdealer's phone. It would take literally milliseconds. On the way back into the country, the feds would have the legal ability to tap the phone conversation between two US citizens that are within the country.


Of course, John Druglord could also be Sally Greenpeace, Bill the John Bircher, or somebody running a 527 who is critical of Barack Obama.

Good thinking, Brian. Now you've depressed me for the rest of the day.

2 comments:

Arthur Torrey said...

It is also a little known secret that it is even questionable how secure ANY phone call made in the US really is...

I used to work in the telecom business - the following is somewhat simplified, but...

There are two parts to a phone call, the actual connection between the two parties that are talking (what you hear) and the "Out of band" part which is the digital signalling network that (among many other things) tracks billing and "builds" the connection route between the caller and callee.

This out of band network is built with equipment from, and is largely controlled by, a couple of Israeli companies...

Back in the "bad old days" tapping a phone call required making a connection to your line either by climbing a pole somewhere, or connecting down at the local Telco Central Office. With the Out-of-band system, all that is needed is to enter your phone number into the right computer, and your call can be routed as Brian describes, and more importantly, routed to as many additional locations as desired...

Now keep in mind that except for a few highly specialized Gov't / Military networks, ALL phone calls are processed via this network. When a tap order is given, it is handed to the phone co, which essentially sends it to Tel Aviv for processing...

I know of no real protection on the system other than end-user encryption to prevent ANY phone number from being monitored this way, by some other gov't if not ours...

Some of the "911 Truthers" have attempted to include this in their arguments that Israel may have known more than they are admitting to, but I make no comment on it, beyond saying that it's possible.

ART (Who used to work for a different department of one of the companies mentioned...)

Brian Shields said...

Sorry about the depression. If it makes you feel any better, I am uncomfortable having what may be called a passing paranoid delusion become verified as indeed possible.

This type of post is what, hopefully, will be the real direction I bring my blog. Well, not the paranoid depression part, those may be just the side effects.