It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


What are the odds of having your phone or email tapped?

page: 1

log in


posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 10:25 AM
I lack any technical sophistication; I'm looking for input from posters who know about search engines and high traffic "sifting."

What are the odds that a given phone conversation is being monitored by the government?

Suppose they have software that scans phonecalls for the word "jihad." Certainly, that might point to terrorist cells. But it is much more likely to be friends debating American policy in an "armchair quarterback" sort of mode.

It might be me and my friends discussing "Team America: World Police," and saying "Durka Durka Jihad" to each other, in mimicry of a movie.

More seriously, when major news breaks, most of the phone conversations in the US will discuss the story, and ruin any kind of word-count program, won't they?:

sample conversation

A: Did you see the news?

B: What about?

A: There was a BOMB found at a starbuck's in California. . .

B: No, I haven't been watching the news, I'm taking advanced calculus this semester, and the first quiz is on Friday.

A: I thought you were going to drop that class . . .

B: I will stay in the course until the test this Friday. If I BOMB the first quiz, I always drop the class.

A: Dude. I thought you said "bong!"

B: No. I said "BOMB." I'm not planning to "bong" my calculus class . . .

A: That's good cause you need to clean it. It's a dirty bong

B: A DIRTY BOMB? What??!???!

Now, Compare that fairly innocuous conversation with a much more sinister one:

Sonny: "How's Paulie?"

Clemenza: "Oh, Paulie? You won't see him no more."

The same goes for email. Many of the emails I get from friends are political or topical in nature. That would be much harder to filter.

I have been told that any course of action that you can instruct a human to follow, you can program a computer to perform, at a speed of hundreds or thousands of operations a minute. Yet how could they quantify something as subjective as the "feel" of an artificial or forced conversation?

I would expect that profiling would be much easier. Get a list of new hook-ups from the city water department every month. Cross reference the names on the bill with foreign nationals, vehicle registrations, or applications for corporate charters for companies utilizing dangerous chemicals or international shipping.

Just sort of wondering how paranoid any of us need to be.


posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 12:31 PM
Tone of voice, your psychological profile, your entire history as a US citizen, your political beleifs, your intelligence, your salary, who your friends are, your percevied stress. All indiciations that they can use to try and figure out your intent in your telephone calls.

And if your using code, some conversations arent likely to make perfect sense all the time. Such as "Yeah the cat got out, it is on the way to hollywood". Now if you didnt have a cat or didnt live near hollywood it might throw up a flag in the NSA that you are talking in code and they may want to try and decipher the real meaning of your conversation.

Doesnt sound easy.

Im pretty sure they are at least trying though. Illegally.

[edit on 11-1-2006 by ImplementOfWar]

posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 03:19 PM
I think the odds aren't as wild as some might think...

Tice said the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions if the full range of secret NSA programs is used. "That would mean for most Americans that if they conducted, or you know, placed an overseas communication, more than likely they were sucked into that vacuum," Tice said.


The link has video of this story as well, from ABC News...

posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 03:22 PM

Originally posted by negativenihil

The link has video of this story as well, from ABC News...

Only if the NSA use their full power!!!!!
Need more power!!!!

posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 03:39 PM
The odds are very high depending what kind of job you do.

When my husband was in the military he always was very concern about our telephone conversations due to the fact that I always has been lose mouthed about the government.

I though he was paranoid but he told me that phones in the bases were tap.

Now that he is retired and works in a military base, he gets very nervous when I start talking about political matters over the phone to his office.

Until this day he still tells me to not talk about politics while calling him at work.

Now I don't think is paranoia I think he has known all alone that that is the way things are specially in military bases.

posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 03:42 PM

Originally posted by marg6043
Until this day he still tells me to not talk about politics while calling him at work.

Now I don't think is paranoia I think he has known all alone that that is the way things are specially in military bases.

Forget him. Talk all you want. Its called freedom.
You could play a hoax on him that a couple of men in suits knocked on your door to talk to your husband about something.
When he comes home from work of course.

[edit on 11-1-2006 by deltaboy]

posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 03:46 PM

Originally posted by deltaboy

Forget him. Talk all you want. Its called freedom.
[edit on 11-1-2006 by deltaboy]

Actually I do, but he do not answer back specially when I said "Bush" immediately he said "No, now" and change subject.

I found that weird specially when I ask him "Why not" he said it can cost him his clearance and eventually his job.

Does he knows something I don't?

Or is just paranoia.

I wonder.

posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 04:07 PM
Hello Friends:

I got news for you all! The "governtment" is all ready
monitory your regular phones conversations, cell phones
and E-mail!!
I'm From Puerto Rico (A U.S.Territory) and a Radio Amatuer
when the "Machetero" lider Filiberto Ojeda Rios got kill in here
I heard in my scanner that he was talking to his son on his cell
right before he was killed. They can do this and a lot more.
I was in the U.S. Navy and the have cameras in space tha can see
what kind of hand you have if you are plaing poquer!!

posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 04:10 PM

Originally posted by warriorwolfpr
Hello Friends:

I'm From Puerto Rico (A U.S.Territory)

I am glad to heard from a fellow PR, my family lives in Rio Grande. I miss my littler Island very much.

posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 02:02 PM
Of course there's monitoring here of all citizens. The Bush's greatest threat comes from internal dissent not outside sources. There are apparently about 400 key words which will bring further scrutiny to a phone call or e-mail. This site is monitored continuously. The Neocon's really only fear one thing "critical thought". Most everything else they can work around.

posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 02:08 PM
I have no idea what the odds are of phone/email being tapped, but the safest thing to do is automatically assume that 'they' are listening. I would never send any sensitive information by email or discuss it over the phone. (and besides, I don't have anything 'they' would be interested in, anyway)

posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 04:17 PM
I would say pretty high. The NSA's soul purpose is to spy on people around the world. And with an at least near unlimited budget, an extremely wide array of equipment, much of it we don't even know about, I would say it's highly likely that you will have you phone or email tapped. I believe much of it is based on keywords, but sometimes they tap everything that you do.

posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 05:28 PM
I feel my phone has been tapped for awhile and its really crazy that they would tap mine but I figure some of the folks on another website that kept accusing me of hating Bush because I did not agree with his policies must have turned the Feds onto me due to no other reason than they think I hate Bush.

I've always joked about such things to the few people I talk to on the phone and none of us took it seriously but then I started noticing two hangups instead of one after whomever I was talking to hung up, it was not long after that they mentioned that they were hearing someone else hanging up if I hung up first. ( I had not mentioned my noticing this to them) Also I started noticing my mail had been opened then I started getting all these survey calls. Anyway now everything is back to normal. I guess they got so bored they could stand it no longer.

posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 08:15 PM
I think something needs to be said about the probability of a given person being a threat.

Bush-haters? There's so many that you'd have to be a bit more spectacular than simply feeling ill-will in order to draw government attention.

I was tickled to see the site owners mention "COINTELPRO" which was a system of "vacuum sweepers," fringe groups that were used to attract dissadents during the vietnam war. The FBI actually funded some of those groups, so that there'd be a group for you to "join" instead of really working to change to the world.

While I'm sure that ATS is not a government OP, it probably fulfills a "pressure relief valve" function by giving us all a place to vent.

No, if the NSA would need to be focused on people who are on the verge of terrorism.

For instance, the hand grenade wedged into the road surface in the Dallas area. That shows someone who wants to be a terrorist, but is scared of getting caught--the perp would rather do something meaningless for the PR value than to risk their future and create a genuine threat. That indicates a young person, probably from an affluent home with a "bright" future they are unwilling to give up for the sake of revolution.

So, my question comes back to, if you're the NSA what are you looking for?

-repeated hits at al jazeera and al arabiya websites?

-a college student who doesn't seem to be attending classes, and is using a credit card hundreds of miles from campus while class is in session.

-someone who has developed a sudden interest in learning Arabic, when they have no arab heritage or friends from that ethnicity?

-someone buying a whole stack of "cash cards" at walmart, allowing the holder to buy gas pretty much anywhere in North America, without talking to a gas station clerk.

Any other suggestions??

posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 10:09 PM
Hello Friends:

Heck, If they tap or follow every persons that hates Pres. Bush
or speaks badly about our governtment they would need a army
to do so!!

posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 10:14 PM
Every conversation, be it on the phone or thru email or posted to boards such as this one is passed thru echelon.

You ARE being monitored.


posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 10:22 PM
I think its very possible a call or two of mine have been monitored, based on what I've heard lately - in the mainstream media, no less!

In the course of my job, for example, I interviewed a couple people in Russia. Sochi, to be exact. My contacts lived right down the road from President Putin's private resort.

I'm not necessarily offended. I didn't say anything classified that I know of. And I'm used to this, having been in the Army during a war.

I don't agree it the snooping though. I think it's unconstitutional.

posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 12:50 AM
If you have a security clearance then I think you should give up your right to be free from electronic surveilance.

Else I think the government should have reasonable probable cause and a court authorizing it.

That would be Constitutional, as long as people with security clearances were aware the rights they sacrifice

[edit on 15-1-2006 by ImplementOfWar]

posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 04:03 AM
Well I don't know why other than the other board I went to that they would choose to surveil me but the events I wrote about were noticed and mentioned by others not me.

My friends and family mentioned the second hangup (there should have only been one) and my hubby mentioned the mail being opened. He was upset by it. This was easy to notice everything we got was practically falling out of the envelope or a third of the way down the envelope was just torn enough to take the letter out.

Since I do know I am prone to be slightly paranoid my way of dealing with it is just to ignore it and laugh about it hence the jokes with the family. But like I said the family and friends noticed it and mentioned it to me first. They all said this only happened when they called my house, so I do not think I am wrong.

posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 10:40 PM

Originally posted by dr_strangecraft

I lack any technical sophistication; I'm looking for input from posters who know about search engines and high traffic "sifting."

What are the odds that a given phone conversation is being monitored by the government?

It's actually fairly simple with todays supercomputing power. The NSA has acres of high-end machines parsing and sifting through any email, phone calls and other forms of communication that they choose to, when they choose to.

Having played 'hacker' for the past 25 years, I can quite easily tell you that what you see in movies regarding hacking is either dead on, or simply watered down. In any movie that comes out, they probably have a 1 year lag on representing the technology possible to them at the time due to production delays. But even then, maintstream hacking and subvert hacking are different as well, and they could be years off.

I'll tell you this much: just as the radio waves that carry your favorite radio station are free to grab from the ether, the packets at the 3rd layer of the internet are just as easy to grab off of ethernet.

I can answer some very technical questions if you'd like. Please, fire away.

A: That's good cause you need to clean it. It's a dirty bong
B: A DIRTY BOMB? What??!???!


And as far as your paranoia goes -- you are fully justified in running around in a tinfoil hat if that's your poison picked for this type of thing. I can say that I assume I'm being monitored 24x365, plain and simple. For no other reason as just to archive it.

Put it this way, when I'm done with a hard drive in an old PC, I use a little cool program called DBAN (Deriks Boot and Nuke) that effectively wipes out the magnetic positions on my drives in a method and repetition that stands up to US DOD standards. I recommend that too. I shred all paper trash-- twice and then burn it.

I mean, the thing is: if they want any information that I have, ( a ) I'm honored and flattered and ( b ) they are going to get it one way or the other. I'm just making it hard on them.

Want to make it VERY hard? Encrypt your email with 4096bit PGP. VOIP doesn't yet have a reliable encryption method, but it's coming. Outfits also sell scramblers for cellphones, have been for a while now. I think they're cheaper today also.

new topics

top topics


log in