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Local collectives' phonelines tapped today?

According to two collective members of worker-owned businesses in SE Portland, rented vans (without logos for Qwest or any other corporation) were seeing fooling around with the phone lines outside the Red and Black Cafe, People's Food Co-op and a residence belonging to Portland Collective Housing. It seemed suspicious to one of the witnesses that the vans were in front of these three collectives at the same time. This report has been posted here to indymedia so that if the phone lines were indeed being tapped, that they will now know that we know!
Always remember security culture when talking on the phone. You never know when a line is tapped!

Possibly 17.Feb.2004 02:18

A collective member

It is possible, but unlikely. Taps placed on phones are done in the switching office. A good friend of mine worked for the Qwest office and had to often place legal taps.

Gee I'm glad that's not my house they're talking about 17.Feb.2004 06:52


I'm sure that some law/gov types will tap your phone one way while others tap your phone another way. Maybe going straight to the pole rather than doing the more easy thing(going to the switching office) is done because it's: top secret. Maybe they didn't feel like getting a court order. Or maybe it 's because it's they're idiots. Then again maybe Qwest hired a sub-contractor to look at some line issues they're having. Or it could always be the Mafia. Or maybe it's Natures doing market research.

If you are doing anything illegal, you should always assume that your phone is tapped. I use a cell phone. You don't need to tap cell phones. They transmit through the fucking air. Anyone can listen in. I use email. That's more or less the same thing. I know that all by my self with few tools and a hundred dollars or so, that I could tap anyones' phone in portland. Please don't trust your phone. Especially when talking about anything I'm involved with. This is not to say you should be parinoid. I mean I don't give a fuck if the FBI knows how I feel about my mother. If I'm going to buy a sack of weed though, I sure as hell don't go talking about on the phone any more than I would scream about it in the mall.

Any communications media you don't understand(telco networks) and don't control more or less compleatly(telco networks) should be considered public space.

yep!, sounds like a tap to me! 17.Feb.2004 08:03


yes indeedy...this is how they do it! so do be aware, be on the outlook, and
be careful what you say on the phone, or these folk's--with nothing meaningful
to do with their lives--will throw a taperecorder in your face someday and ask
you about it! Welcome to John Ashcroft's NEW WORLD ODOR Amerika!

Possible 17.Feb.2004 10:15


Standard taps are at the switching office, but field taps (the temporary kind that most cops don't use) can be put anyplace between the actual reciever (the part you hold to your ear) and the juncture on the pole that hooks into the main wireing (not necessarily at the closest pole to the tapped phone, can be a few poles down). Most commonly called "bugs," these still need a search warrant to be legal, but that is not even close to a guarantee these days.

Playing devil's advocate, I guess there are legitimate reasons for those vans to be there. There are companies other than the phone company that from time to time mess with wires, and even the phone companies use rented equipment occasionally, but these are very rare situations such as massive storm damage. The weather has been nice lately, so my money is on surveilance.

Best bet: Not local cops, they would go for the much cheaper and easier main office taps (a warrant is not even slightly hard to get against collectives). I would also say say state cops are unlikely for this. Federal cops and local/federal task force cops are about a 50/50 chance.

You should also consider non-police sources, there is a fair chance that corporate espionage can be targeting individuals these days, ask yourself "who could benifit the most from knowing what we are talking about?" You will find more than one answer.

And, as a general rule of thumb, even if you are 100% legal, NEVER say anything important over ANY phone line, even a pay phone (an old trick we used when I was a cop was to write a map of all pay phones in the area of our suspect, there really are not that many these days so they are easy to keep tabs on. If there is one pay phone near your house and I am watching you, how hard is it for me to plant a mic near the phone? No warrant needed for that.).

I hope this helps.

Hey Ashcroft! 17.Feb.2004 18:59

My number is 1 - 800 - FUCK - YOU

I see that Homeland Security didn't stop another 1,000 rapes. Good job, maybe you'll get a promotion.