How To: Foil Wiretaps at Home

Think the Feds might be jacked into your home line?
Well, there’s no need to skulk down to the corner pay phone to
conduct your business. All you need is a C note. University of
Pennsylvania computer science professor Matt Blaze ­dissected the
wiretap equipment commonly used by law enforcement and found a few, um,
bugs. Spies, it turns out, don’t like to record dead air, so they
turn the system off by playing a special C-pitched tone when the target
phone is hung up. As a result, anyone with an MP3 player and a recorded
C can prevent eavesdroppers from snooping on their private chatter. It
doesn’t work with all listening devices, though, so there’s
no guarantee the NSA won’t come calling.

1. You’re starting to get the creepy feeling you’re being watched – or rather listened to.

2. Download Blaze’s C tone (www.crypto.com/papers/wiretapping)
and broadcast it continuously during phone calls. You can play the tone
at low volume so it just seems like ambient room noise.

3. Don’t stop there – befuddle your
foes. Play the C for a second in the middle of a call, then without
hanging up, dial another number. Analog wiretap systems will interpret
this as a new call. You may be chatting with a friend, but now the
spooks think you’re talking to Domino’s.

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