A Brief History of Phone Wiretapping,,,how to avoid

Chris Soghoian

Chris Soghoian

There was some buzz in Barbados leading into the last general election that our security forces have been using wiretapping equipment procured during cricket world cup 2007 to spy on its citizens. Barbadians were promised by government surrogates more information […]would have been revealed to enlighten on the matter.

It is not surprising this matter has fizzled given the inclination of local political players to remain loyal to the political class.

To the skeptics; wiretapping is possible. Here is a brief (6 minutes) presentation from Christopher Soghoian, a technologist who is a champion of digital privacy rights.

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19 Comments on “A Brief History of Phone Wiretapping,,,how to avoid”

  1. Kammie Holder August 25, 2015 at 4:24 AM #

    Never stooped I would think


  2. Hamilton Hill August 25, 2015 at 7:02 AM #

    Pure coincidence that two big wigs from within were recalled right around the time that the most famous long leave session started. God Bless Bim!


  3. David August 25, 2015 at 7:13 AM #

    Note the unfortunate death of Bowen and his demotion before…


  4. de Ingrunt Word August 25, 2015 at 7:39 AM #

    David, anyone who is still skeptical about wiretapping has to be the proverbial peacock with head in sand so I hope that all Bajans are always cautious about what they say on their phones.

    In a country where this issue has been relegated as a non-issue and senior officials have been able to claim spurious national security concerns, I presume, and as you suggested have been able to call on political favors to avoid being hauled before the courts we should be very concerned that at anytime our conversations can be monitored.

    So we need to be sensible in making remarks that divulge too many details or names when we are on the phone.

    It is amazing that despite all the tech and the evidence of its use from the Service Commission’s letter to the GG that the police have not blown open the players in the drug trade. The druggists obviously are good medical people and know how to talk in an unintelligible code or they just don’t discuss their business on the phone.

    When will the cops get some directional mics to record voice over distance and other high tech stuff like small listening devices to help snoop on and corral these big time druggists!


  5. Stefen August 25, 2015 at 10:56 AM #

    It would surely make a big difference ,if Police were allowed ,without prejudice to use Wire taps in cases where known criminals ,drug dealers and the like are plying they trade openly . One would or should not be in any way surprised to see how many guns, and drug bust would result,saving many lives,and apprehending scores of the main culprits that bring guns and drugs to Barbados.


  6. Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right August 25, 2015 at 11:30 AM #

    Call the telephone number 4307100.

    That is Central Police Station and anyone will hear the delay as the equipment starts to record every conversation of anyone who calls in HQ.

    The former CoP knew well that this equipment had been deployed among “those who guard” and was very quick to deflect and redirect calls to him that would have possibly been of a deleterious nature when played back.

    “Wolf’s Ear” directional mikes and other such equipment WILL ONLY BE EMPLOYED when de fellows from Gaza, the 5 spliffs in he pocket nothings are trafficking

    The signal disruptors and SIGINT anti drug intervention devices that WILL BRING DOWN DRONES wont be employed against the hawkeye low lumen surveillance drones shadowing the Barbados coast guard, with their shiny Sterling weapons, and rubber dingy pursuit craft and the big boat tingy dat dem got, so that the quad motored mini subs can be deployed and brought close enough to ** for the transfer into the **’s yacht for ** to bring to shore and ** to distribute.

    The government of the USA is very much aware of these traffickers and while they know who they are, the latter has mysteriously taken a back seat in the internal politics of this small island Barbados.

    The question then to ask is not so much that “does the wire tapping go on” but “why, in the face of such intelligence data, is it still possible for the “kingpin drug pushers” to continue to thrive?

    And the answer that comes screaming back at you is “Who are the KingPins that would elicit such silence?”


  7. Simple Simon August 25, 2015 at 1:55 PM #

    There is nothing at all wrong with wire tapping. As a matter of fact it should be standard criminal investigative procedure. BUT it should always be done with a search warrant.

    I have a close relative who worked for more than 40 years with a telephone company (not in Barbados’) and the police routinely worked with the telephone company and the courts to obtain search warrants and carried wire taps to arrest drug and gun traffickers and murderers.

    Your friendly telephone company has the capacity to record any conversation, including conversations between two people or between three or more people. Thetelephone companies will do so, but the police must first present a search warrant because the police would be searching your personal communications, essentially the same as searching your house or car)

    The police know this. The Directors of Public Prosecution know this. The Attorneys General knows this. Our Justices know this. The Ministers of National Security know this. Every single member of Parliament ought to know this.

    If the communications of suspected drug and gun dealers are not being searched we need to all all of these well paid officials why not.

    It is time to stop pretending that we are foolish people, that we are a backward people.

    I ALWAYS assume that my telephone and internet communications are being listened to/read by somebody or the other. I don’t care since I am doing nothing criminal.


  8. Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right August 25, 2015 at 2:34 PM #

    And therein Simple Simon lies the crux of the matter in your statement “If the communications of suspected drug and gun dealers are not being “monitored” we need to “ask” all of these well paid officials. why not.”

    You are not a criminal and, unless and until the Law Courts so grants that privilege under law, YOU ARE NOT TO BE TAPPED!!!


    The EaseDropping of the Former Prime Minister by his Attorney General and Party Deputy IS NEVER TO OCCUR in this cuntry based on the whim and fancy of any megalomaniac!!!

    I should be able to talk to you on the phone and arrange a private encounter where I lick you in parts unknown as I promised to do on the phone without Constable Hinds at District A Police Station in Station Hill hearing what you plan to do to me in return OTHERWISE WE ARE IN A POLICE STATE!!!!

    SO if I say to you pun my phone you ent know dat Uncle Jerkoff want killing and tomorrow Undcle Jerkoff turn up dead, them easedroppers gine turn up at me as a potential killer

    So Leh we say dat you . me and Bush Tea on a three way conversation and I say that the minister of finants want a knife in he botsie or the Minister of Edukashun want a doggie in his and unfortunately when Stinkliar in a crowd at Foreday morning wid he outside umman some body juck he in he pooch, of when Ronald we Jonesing in one of his hunts dat some fellows how he and do dem tings to he, you know dat me and Bush Tea automatically lock up fuh Stinkliar.

    Of course we ent gine get lock up fuh We Jonesing, he gine only get we numbah and call we fuh some mo’ servicing

    As Jones would say “IT ARE WRONG, IT ARE VERY WRONG AND insults DE CUNTSTITUTIONAL writes of de sitizens of Bulbados”


  9. Simple Simon August 25, 2015 at 4:09 PM #

    @Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right August 25, 2015 at 2:34 PM “And therein Simple Simon lies the crux of the matter in your statement “If the communications of suspected drug and gun dealers are not being “monitored” we need to “ask” all of these well paid officials. why not. You are not a criminal and, unless and until the Law Courts so grants that privilege under law, YOU ARE NOT TO BE TAPPED!!! Fullstop.”

    Dear Piece:

    With all due respect you are incorrect. It is true that none of us are criminals until we plead guilty or have been found guilty by a jury of our peers.

    However the law has always permitted searches as long as the police have reasonable and probable cause that a crime has been committed or that preparation are being made to commit a crime, and as long as a search warrant has been obtained from the court.

    A search of my telephone or internet communications is no different from a search under my bed and in my closets.

    If the police believe that I have drugs and guns hidden under my bed or in my closets and they obtain a search warrant then they can search. They do not need my permission, They need only the court’s permission. In fact the police would be VERY VERY FOOLISH not to obtain a search warrant in order to search under my bed, in my closets, and my electronic communications.

    However if the police are listening in when all I am doing is having a gossip fest with my cousin about the prowess (or lack thereof) of my latest lover, then that is “maliciousing”up in my business and none of the agents of the state have any right to search in those circumstances.

    But me being a “bad” person sometimes my lovers and I I do engage in a little sexting just to give the boys and girls in uniform a little bit of fun.



  10. Simple Simon August 25, 2015 at 4:17 PM #

    reasonable and probable cause

    These are the key words.

    The police must have reasonable and probable cause.

    They must have a search warrant.

    And if what you said above is true, then the politician[s] and the police were both committing unlawful acts. And since so many politicians and police are lawyers they would certainly understand that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Simple Simon August 25, 2015 at 4:22 PM #

    I ALWAYS assume that my telephone and internet communications are being listened to/read by somebody or the other, just like I always assume that if I plant 100 holes of cassava chances are that I won’t get to harvest all because I understand how wufless and tiefing we human beings are.


  12. David August 25, 2015 at 4:58 PM #

    The issue here is that the same ‘backdoor’ the police may be using others can exploit as well.


  13. David August 26, 2015 at 8:01 AM #

    Have we forgotten the incident during the AX Commission Inquiry between Hal Gollop and Jeff Broomes when there was a concern cellphones were being tapped?

    Have a reread:

    Jeff Broomes to Hal Gollop, Hello?


  14. Simple Simon August 26, 2015 at 12:58 PM #

    Two very different things.

    People maliciousing up in the business of others. Same as if I searched your cell phone, bag, briefcase, car, or home without permission. Illegal. Immoral. Unethical.
    Legal searches conducted after a search warrant has been issued. Legal. Moral. Ethical. Excellent procedure. Highly recommended. Not a police state.

    We must not confuse the two,

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Simple Simon August 26, 2015 at 1:07 PM #

    If in the 21st century police are not searching electronic communications when they have reasonable and probable cause and when they have obtained a search warrant then I blame the police. They are failing us. If the courts are not issuing search warrants once the police have presented reasonable and probable cause to them then I blame the courts. They are failing us. If Parliament has not passed legislation to permit the police to conduct searches of electronic communications then I blame the Parliamentarians. They are failing us.

    If others are failing in their duties then there is plenty of blame to share around.

    The bad boys on the block are not blameless but they cannot take all of the blame either.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. David August 27, 2015 at 12:01 PM #

    David of BU
    Have you ever contacted the Fair Trading Commission for assistance or advise on any consumer issue?That entity is a waste of time.
    I am having great difficulty with the horrible service Digicel is providing me.I tried to reached Digicel on their automated telephone system.A virtual impossible task – dial this number,press this sign and all the foolishness they ask you to do,yet no contact is made with anyone to voice your issue.I believe this is deliberate on Digicel part to frustrate callers so that very few complaints would reach them.
    I called the Fair trading Commission for assistance.The advise I received from a representative there left me more confuse and frustrated than anything else.The lady at Fair Trading Commission informed that if I have an issue with the service I am receiving from Digicel such as not getting through to the company with my complaint,then I must write the company.She indicated there is nothing that the Fair Trading Commission could do in that regard.
    The lady opined that the Fair Trading Commission mainly deals with protection of consumers with purchases they have made that might be defective or not up to standard.The perceived provision of bad service by providers of services in Barbados must be addressed by corresponding with those providers because the Fair Trading Commission basically does not have the mandate to intervene.
    What the the hell is the role of the Fair Trading Commission?
    No wonder Flow and Digicel could provide us with horrible service and get away with it.
    The Fair Trading Commission is a wasted government entity.


  17. David August 27, 2015 at 12:42 PM #

    Agree the FTC needs to morph to being a customer centric agency. It is current configuration it is geared to satisfying the utilities.


  18. Dompey August 27, 2015 at 6:42 PM #

    If the aim of wiretapping is to keep us all safe then I am all for it, but anything other than that I will have to vehemently repudiate it because it produces an undemocratic-order which undermines the political process.

    Moreover, the act of overreaching by government for the mere purpose of obtaining information to be employed for political leverage, ought not be to tolerated.

    In any event, could somebody give me a valid reason why the government of would want to spy on the citizens of Barbados? I could hazard an educated guess: to see for whom their are voting for?


  19. Dompey August 27, 2015 at 8:16 PM #

    @David, Bush Tea and Piece

    I have a question for the three BU savants: what national-security interest is there to be secured or protected from foreign-enemies that the government of Barbados would even entertain the thought of wiretapping its citizenry?

    Now, is there a counterintelligence
    program in Barbados that is charged with the responsibility of covertly monitoring those persons who works with top-secret information, and highly sensitive equipment, or has there been terrorist threats made again the small island?

    I am only trying to process as well as to ascertain the rationale behind why the government of Barbados would sought/seek to wiretaps its citizenry?

    What is there to be had from this unethical conduct on the part of government, in view of the fact that Barbados does not possess anything of international importance that a foreign enemy would wish to have?

    To reiterate: what is the purpose, aim, design, and ulterior-motive behind the government wiretapping of its citizens?


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