Point, Click ... Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates

Wired Threat Level contributor Ryan Singel says,

The FBI has quietly built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device, according to nearly a thousand pages of restricted documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The surveillance system, called DCSNet, for Digital Collection System Network, connects FBI wiretapping rooms to switches controlled by traditional land-line operators, internet-telephony providers and cellular companies. It is far more intricately woven into the nation's telecom infrastructure than observers suspected.

DCSNet combines software with nicknames like Red Hook and Digital Storm, telecommunication switches with legislated backdoors and a private, encrypted nationwide backbone tying spying rooms across the nation together.

Link to Singel's extensive report, which features a slideshow of scans from those FOIA'd documents.


  1. I have this idea for an experiment that I’d like to try. Here’s how it would work:

    1. Record dozens of random phrases in Arabic containing such words as “bomb”, “Obama”, “terrorist”, and “airplane”, “public space”. Make no threats.

    2. Establish an open connection between two phones.

    3. Transmit recorded phrases in Arabic over these two phones

    4. See how long it takes for the Feds to show up.

  2. Re: Pyros

    I’ve seen this one-upped before (maybe on Politech? or Cryptogram?)…

    do steps 1 through 3 via email

    include a URL (e.g. in the email that no one else would know about ever in any other context.

    wait to see if anyone tries to connect… whoever does is a Fed.

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