Detect Spying on YOU

coderman coderman at
Sat Dec 31 17:44:32 PST 2005

On 12/31/05, Tyler Durden <camera_lumina at> wrote:
> ...
> BUT, true to my "Local Authorities" rant these days, it MIGHT snag a local
> MwG in your area, if not NSA. (My assumption continues to be that NSA and
> that echelon of extra spooky spooks doesnt share info with local
> authorities.)

i could see some county sheriff's office doing something stupid like
that with seized evidence perhaps. ("ooh! here's a bookmark labeled
'sekrit stuff', let's check it out!")

but the NSA and any other intelligence agency worth half a shit is
going to have clue.

> And frankly, unless youre actually WOMD-type dangerous, the
> state police or whatever are going to be what you have to worry about, if
> you are the identifiable Cordian type.

early this year i was collecting information on telecommunications and
electrical power distribution infrastructure to see how detailed a map
publicly available sources could provide to such facilities and the
trends/assessments possible when combining data sets for pattern

i had a number of custom search tools, bots, and databases built up
internally that pulled large amounts of GIS data, LERG, industry
investments/research, maps, press releases, product catalogues, web
searches, cached documents, etc. (court documents pertaining to
telecom and power industries are full of informative details,
especially when the redaction performed in PDF for confidentiality is
only visibly obscuring text [white on white] while keeping content in
place :)

after about 6 weeks and many 100*GBytes of traffic i noticed a
peculiar echo on my line begin abruptly one day.  i'm off an old
analog switch ESS style in rural oregon and this echo/line noise was
associated with my number only (not others off same CO).

i suspected this was a one way conference / tap, which is completely
undetectable for digital systems but alters the line characteristics
of an analog switched circuit.

this was the only hint ever given that i might be under scrutiny. 
given the nature of my internet usage and the *.gov sites used (among
others) it would have been clear to anyone watching what i was up to. 
the data mining programs 'rumored' to be in use by the various
government agencies would be able to detect this type of activity
easily, so i suspect this was visible to somebody.

even still, the only clue, if it is one, was the analog conference on
my line, and this was noticeable only because i'm still hanging off
antiquated analog equipment that is rarely in use today.

while i think honey tokens are an interesting approach to independent
evaluation of intelligence / surveillance process and capability, it
would be incredibly difficult to get any information out of such a
project.  NSA and others are very skilled at the one way function of
information: a lot goes in, very very little ever comes back out, and
even then it is tightly constrained.  (i would guess no other agency
the world over has "least privilege" mastered so thoroughly)

an interesting subject for discussion perhaps, but not really useful
in the real world (tm)...

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