Back earlier this year people in the US discussed the NSA “wiretapping” situation, although I always maintained that it was “electronic monitoring” rather than “wiretapping” as such as I felt that the Bu$h malAdministration was availing itself of all possible venues to spy on domestic dissenters, including the obvious ones, such as Democratic politicians, and probably well-known progressive and liberal public names such as Barbra Streisand, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon. These are names that just pop into mind instantaneously. The point is, I was trying to posit a full court press on all those leading and participating in a public process of opposition to the fascistic tendencies of the Bu$hies.
The purpose of such monitoring is to obtain information, which can be used to circumvent plans or even to obtain information that the holder might not want made public, if you understand where I’m going.
At the time, it was understood that land phones and computers were certainly subject to interception. There was also talk of “roving wiretaps” which was correctly understood to mean cell phones, however, there may have been a dimension here that was not clearly understood.
The TalkLeft webpage discusses an interesting FBI investigation into organized crime today, introducing a CNET.com article reporting another screwdriver in the FBI toolbox:
The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.
The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.
Nextel cell phones owned by two alleged mobsters, John Ardito and his attorney Peter Peluso, were used by the FBI to listen in on nearby conversations. The FBI views Ardito as one of the most powerful men in the Genovese family, a major part of the national Mafia.
The surveillance technique came to light in an opinion published this week by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. He ruled that the "roving bug" was legal because federal wiretapping law is broad enough to permit eavesdropping even of conversations that take place near a suspect's cell phone.
Who could have guessed some cell phones can be turned on by remote control? Winston Smith would not have been surprised.