A covert listening device, more commonly known as a bug or a wire, is usually a combination of a miniature radio transmitter with a microphone. The use of bugs, called bugging, is a common technique in surveillance, espionage and in police investigations.

A bug does not have to be a device specifically designed for the purpose of eavesdropping. For instance, with the right equipment, it is possible to remotely activate the microphone of cellular phones, even when a call is not being made, to listen to conversations in the vicinity of the phone.[1][2][3][4][5]

Remotely activated mobile phone microphones[edit | edit source]

Mobile phone (cell phone) microphones can be activated remotely, without any need for physical access.[1][2][3][4][5][6] This "roving bug" feature has been used by law enforcement agencies and intelligence services to listen in on nearby conversations.[7] A United States court ruled in 1988 that a similar technique used by the FBI against reputed former Gulfport, Mississippi cocaine dealers after having obtained a court order was permissible.[8]

Automobile computer systems[edit | edit source]

In 2003 the FBI obtained a court order to surreptitiously listen in on conversations in a car, through the car's built-in emergency and tracking security system. A panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals prohibited the use of this technique because it involved deactivating the device's security features.[9][10]

Examples of use[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

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References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Schneier, Bruce (December 5, 2006). "Remotely Eavesdropping on Cell Phone Microphones". Schneier On Security. http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/12/remotely_eavesd_1.html. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 McCullagh, Declan; Anne Broache (December 1, 2006). "FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool". CNet News. http://news.cnet.com/FBI-taps-cell-phone-mic-as-eavesdropping-tool/2100-1029_3-6140191.html. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Odell, Mark (August 1, 2005). "Use of mobile helped police keep tabs on suspect". Financial Times. http://news.ft.com/cms/s/7166b8a2-02cb-11da-84e5-00000e2511c8.html. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Telephones". Western Regional Security Office (NOAA official site). 2001. http://www.wrc.noaa.gov/wrso/security_guide/telephon.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Can You Hear Me Now?". ABC News: The Blotter. http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/12/can_you_hear_me.html. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  6. Lewis Page (2007-06-26). "'Cell hack geek stalks pretty blonde shocker'". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/26/cell_hack_geek_spook_stalk/. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  7. Brian Wheeler (2004-03-02). "'This goes no further...'". BBC News Online Magazine. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3522137.stm. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  8. FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool., CNET News.com, 1 December 2006
  9. Court Leaves the Door Open for Safety System Wiretaps, The New York Times, 21 December 2003
  10. Court to FBI: No spying on in-car computers. CNET News.com, 19 November 2003
  11. "Fumigating the Fumigator". Time. September 25, 1964. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,876162,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-06.  (subscription required)
  12. Hyde, Hon. Henry J. (October 26, 1990), "Embassy Moscow: Paying the Bill", Congressional Record: p. E3555, http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1990_cr/h901026-embassy.htm 
  13. AUSTRALIAN SECURITY & INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION (ASIO) at the Wayback Machine (archived May 3, 2009) "In 1990, it was learned, that the ASIS, along with the help of 30 NSA technicians, had bugged the Chinese embassy. The story had originally been picked up by an Australian paper, but the ASIS asked them to sit on the story. Shortly thereafter, the Associated Press also picked up the story, but the ASIS also got them to sit on the story. However, the story somehow made its way to Time magazine, where it was published, compromising the operation."
  14. Johnston, David; James Risen (1999-12-10). "U.S. Expelling Russian Diplomat in Bugging of State Dept.". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D01E0DF1431F933A25751C1A96F958260. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  15. Damien McElroy and David Wastell (20 January 2002). "China finds spy bugs in Jiang's Boeing jet". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1382116/China-finds-spy-bugs-in-Jiangs-Boeing-jet.html. 
  16. "UK embassy 'bug' angers Pakistan". BBC News. 2003-11-10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3257265.stm. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  17. "Vajpayee govt tried to bug Blair's bedroom in Delhi". IBNLive. July 20, 2007. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/vajpayee-govt-tried-to-bug-blairs-bedroom-in-delhi/45265-2.html. 
  18. "Delhi clumsily bugged Blair's room". The Times Of India. 2007-07-30. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi_clumsily_bugged_Blairs_room/articleshow/2243144.cms. 
  19. Moore, Matthew (2008-11-25). "Russia's teapot gift to Queen 'could have been bugged'". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/theroyalfamily/3515927/Russias-teapot-gift-to-Queen-could-have-been-bugged.html. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 

External links[edit | edit source]

de:Abhörgerät eo:Subaŭskultilo it:Microspia pl:Pluskwa (podsłuch) tr:Böcek (cihaz) wuu:窃听器 zh:窃听器

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