Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Spy vs. Counterspy

This week's New York Magazine has an article called Spy vs. Counterspy. The subtitle reads: "Two private eyes face off on getting the goods and keeping your secrets." By Sarah Bernard, it's a fun piece that came in the wake of the Jeanine Pirro revelation about her wanting to bug her husband's boat.

The article focuses on five areas, Eavesdropping, Stalking, Digits, Visual Contact, and Cybersecurity. I'm the spy in the article. Todd Morris, of Brickhouse Security, is the counterspy.

Of course, I want you to go out and buy New York Magazine, so I'm not going to reveal any more about the article. However, there is one point that the writer, or the fact-checker, misunderstood.

Under Eavesdropping, the article says, "Inexpensive scanners pick up wireless calls easily." This is not true. The older 900 MHz cordless phones (and baby monitors) can be picked up easily with a Radio Shack scanner. Even the first analog cell phones had this weakness. Today, it's very difficult to eavesdrop on a cell phone. I know of one company that has a scanner that will pick up cell phone conversations. They sell it to the government for about $75,000, something the average person can't afford (They wouldn't sell to the average person even if they could afford it.).

Anyway, I'll write a Letter to the Editor about the misunderstanding. In any case, you heard it here first.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course they sold it to the Government for $75,000. It was on the same purchase order as the $490 hammer and the $6000 office chair. They do not need to sell it to the general public if they are getting $75,000 for a frequency modulator (FM) detector. The old 900 Mhz and analog "cordless" phones are not the same frequency modulation as a "cell" phone, analog or otherwise. Analog cell phones are essentially no more, and the digital replacements use FM to communicate through ground relay towers. Detecting the frequency IS easy.. and the detectors are inexpensive. However, it can get expensive if you have to hire a defense attorney do defend you for committing a felony. In the state of Arizona, for example, It is a class 5 felony to "listen" in on a conversation between two or more persons who reasonably believe their conversation is private if you are not part of the conversation, or do not have specific permission from one or more of the persons engaged in the conversation, with a device or not.