Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Businesses Communications Apple Your Rights Online

FBI Illegally Tapped Phone Phreaks In 1969 296

Posted by kdawson
from the nothing-new-under-the-sun dept.
xmedar writes "In his talks about the history of Apple, Woz has often recounted how the 1971 Esquire article 'Secrets of the Little Blue Box' set him on the road to phone phreaking. Now someone has obtained the FBI file of one of the phreaks, Joe Engressia (who later changed his name to Joybubbles), via Freedom of Information requests. The file reveals that Engressia was illegally wiretapped by the FBI and the phone company back in 1969. J. Edgar Hoover considered the blind college student a national security risk and wrote a memo about him to John Ehrlichman."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FBI Illegally Tapped Phone Phreaks In 1969

Comments Filter:
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:10PM (#24011155)

    Claiming that illegal wiretapping must not be that bad if we've had it for 40 years without knowing.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:23PM (#24011263)
      The difference is that under the USA PATRIOT act, this could have been done legally, despite still being immoral and pointless.
      • The difference is that under the USA PATRIOT act, this could have been done legally, despite still being immoral and pointless.

        • by TarPitt (217247) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @10:56AM (#24015965)

          Firearms allow you to challenge jack-booted thugs that are smashing down your front door to take you away to a concentration camp.

          This is how the second amendment keeps you free.

          The correlary of this is that as long as no jack booted thugs show up at your doorstep, you have nothing to worry about.

          If you can't defend against it with a firearm, then it can't really be a threat, right?

          • by MarkvW (1037596) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:08PM (#24017047)
            Thank you for the insane comment. If you have a firearm, the jack-booted thugs will have a machine gun. If you have a machine gun, the jack-booted thugs will have a grenade launcher. If you have a grenade launcher, the jack-booted thugs will call in an airstrike. While you can "challenge" the jack-booted thugs with your puny little firearm, you won't be able to stop them. It isn't your little gun, dummy, that protects you--it's the respect that we citizens give the Constitution. When that's gone, your puny little gun will be gone too. . .
            • Spirit of the 2nd (Score:5, Insightful)

              by EgoWumpus (638704) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:21PM (#24017255)

              The second amendment was put in for a very good reason; to grant the citizens the power to overthrow a corrupt government. However, as with a number of things in the Constitution, culture and technology has outpaced the implementation of that reason. Guns cannot currently overthrow the government.

              Rather, the government is propped up by two things; it's ability to arbitrarily hide information about what it's doing (severely weakening the idea of 'for, of and by the people'), and massive economic support of corporations who have insane control over people's lives, and who similarly have the power to hide what they're doing.

              In the modern age, one or ideally both of these things need to change to protect the individual, and thus the People. The easiest to change is the governmental ability to hide stuff. Any law that reduces the amount of oversight or government transparency is something that works directly against the best interest of the people.

              If I could have a single constitutional amendment, it would be forcing the government to have a balanced budget. If I could have a second, it would be 100% transparency, the torpedoes be damned. I don't care if the 'terrorists' know what we're doing, I think our country's better angels would prevail if we could see what was going on: simply because we could overthrow anything that worked against our interests - and that's the spirit of the 2nd anyway.

    • by themushroom (197365) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:57AM (#24012239) Homepage

      Did anyone expect otherwise from the Nixon Administration? :)

      Funny... "illegal wiretapping" of an illegal activity on the phone wires. There's an irony in here somewhere.

      • by Tuoqui (1091447) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:27AM (#24012409) Journal

        Yeah its sorta like how if the police break into your home and find drugs but forget the warrant... Its illegal and because they used illegal methods to get the evidence they cant throw you in jail forever even if you have a monsterous drug lab supplying the entire country with .

        Same goes for wiretapping, if they dont get a warrant they cant use the evidence they obtain through that wiretap in a court of law which includes getting other warrants theoretically and even if they did once a lawyer dug up this they'd throw the case out.

        • by Curtman (556920) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @06:34AM (#24013593)
          That's okay, they can just skip the court of law now and lock people up for years and years without a trial.
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:11PM (#24011159)
    Well I guess this proves it. Government's ideas of what is a "security risk" and illegal wiretapping happened before Bush.
    • of course! that makes it so much less egregious!

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Narpak (961733) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:17PM (#24011211)
      "But... but... all the other world leaders are doing in!"
      "If all the other world leaders jumped of a cliff, would you?"
      /sulk
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:57AM (#24011923)

      This just in, governments afraid of people thinking outside of the box and applying this to means the government does not approve. Film at 11.

      It's hardly news that governments, no matter of what time and day, are mostly absorbed with the will to retain power and don't really enjoy giving away any to its subjects. That's why most governments are actually so keen on retaining the "power monopoly", i.e. being the only ones able to tell what's "right" or "wrong". That's the business they're in.

      • by mpe (36238)
        It's hardly news that governments, no matter of what time and day, are mostly absorbed with the will to retain power and don't really enjoy giving away any to its subjects. That's why most governments are actually so keen on retaining the "power monopoly", i.e. being the only ones able to tell what's "right" or "wrong". That's the business they're in.

        Though it dosn't always ensure that the government in question remains in power. See "German Democratic Republic"...
        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @04:46AM (#24013143)

          The reasons for the fall of the GDR (and the east bloc in general) are many. Most of them having to do with the "west" being there. First of all, they couldn't keep up with the arms race. Basically, the arms race between east and west was an economy war. Who could waste more resources on weapons that weren't meant to be used?

          And second, the people in the GDR had a prime example of a better world. They could see that their peers in the west were better off, driving better cars, living better lives and generally have it better than they do. Such a display of a preferable way of living does make people unhappy.

          We lack such a "better" country today. We don't have a Federal Republic of Germany to compare ourselves too and see first of all how inapt our governments are and second, that there is a better way to live.

          That's sorely lacking.

    • I'm still waiting for people to blame it on Bush. Maybe he made a time machine? I mean...they blame everything else on him, might as well this too.

  • by brxndxn (461473) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:17PM (#24011217)

    The law works like this: If YOU break it, you BROKE it. If EVERYONE breaks it, it is BROKEN. If the GOVERNMENT breaks it, the government is BROKEN.

    Just because the law has been broken for a long time does not mean it should be ignored now. Fix the government..

    Start with voting against every single incumbent - except for the libertarian-leaning and third-party outsiders..

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In other words, except for YOUR guys eh? Sure, completely benevolent and not self serving advice there...

      • by wellingj (1030460)
        Let's put it this way, since when has a libertarian ever wanted something from you or wanted you to give up a constitutional right? When was the last time a Republican wanted you to give up rights? When was the last time a Democrat wanted you to pay for something? These parties need slapped. We need to put the fear back into them. They need to know that they work for us, not the other way around. And we need to be slapped. We need to realize that it's government of the People, by the People, and for the Peo
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by The FNP (1177715)

          Ok, then how's about people start voting for leaders who will _lead_ rather than the guy they'd most like to have a beer with. I really don't want to hang out with the chief executive of my country, I'd rather he was busy doing his DAMN JOB!

          --The FNP

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Thuktun (221615)

            I know 'elite' is a bad word in politics. But the job you're applying for, if you get it and it goes well, they might carve your head into a mountain. If you don't actually think you're better than us, then what the f**k are you doing? In fact, not only do I want an elite president, I want someone who's embarrassingly superior to me, somebody who speaks 16 languages and sleeps two hours a night hanging upside down in a chamber they themselves designed.

            - Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 4 April 2008

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zappepcs (820751)

      Actually, you are right. Only those that want to shrink government give a damn about the constitution. The rest want to use things as they are. Both main parties have seen it as ok to break the law as long as they win. It IS time to stop this. Unfortunately, the populace is not informed enough to change things this election. God himself only knows what evil will seep out of the whitehouse in the next four years. "It's evil, don't touch it" as was once said. There are days when I think an unexpected Nuke in

      • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:51PM (#24011483) Journal

        The problem with government and large government is that it tends to feed itself upon the hard work of the populace, while not actually doing anything, claiming all the "good stuff" (we created 100k jobs last year ....) while denying any of the bad stuff.

        Hence the "Crisis" crisis (tm). Everything is a "crisis".

        Health Care ... CRISIS!
        Environment ... CRISIS!
        Energy/Oil ... CRISIS!
        Republicans ... CRISIS!
        Democrats ... CRISIS!
        Terroism ... CRISIS!
        Drugs ... CRISIS!
        Immigration ... CRISIS!

        Do I need to go on??? Every Crisis listed above (and all the others) somehow cry for government involvement as if government has solved any crisis.

        And all the reasonable solutions tend to be dismissed by those who are crying CRISIS!!!!! at every turn.

        The problem is, they don't have any good solutions besides "more government". More rules, More laws, more policy!

        NO MORE! All the rules and laws haven't solved a single problem, and many have caused more problems than they solved.

        Government is not the solution, it is the problem. Man barely (if at all) is able to rule himself, what make you think that some other man can rule you better than yourself????

        • by corbettw (214229) <.corbettw. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:01AM (#24011943) Journal

          You're absolutely right, every solution that our politicians are offering is just "more government", even though it's never been shown to solve anything.

          I was listening to some idiot on talk radio tonight, talking about how passing more laws would stop illegal aliens from coming into the country (never mind that they're already breaking one immigration law, why not two?) He seemed to think that requiring even more paperwork and proof of citizenship from new employees would accomplish something. I was struck by how far this country has come, when the concept of requiring huge amounts of papers to prove you have the right to a job is now a respectable enough position for people not to be shouted down over it instantly. Who in their right minds thinks that requiring (people claiming to be) citizens to produce evidence of their citizenship just to earn a living is a good thing?

          People need to stop thinking government has the answers. It barely even understands what the questions are.

          • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:18AM (#24012049) Homepage

            You're absolutely right, every solution that our politicians are offering is just "more government", even though it's never been shown to solve anything.

            An election is a job interview. When you elect a lawmaker, you are picking somebody for the profession of making laws. Naturally, if a person is good at that profession, he will make as many laws as possible. Every two, four, or six years, he has to re-interview for his job, so he wants to be able to get in front of people and explain what a good job he did making laws.

            Lawmakers offer "more government" because a careful (s)election process proved that the majority of people thought that person actually would be good at making more government. It's the whole point.

            Of course, if I ever run for office, I'll pledge to be incompetant at the job.

            • by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:26AM (#24012405) Journal
              a) get a group of people who regularly go through the laws and remove the crap.
              b) have most of your laws expire after a certain time unless manually renewed - the lifespan is linked to how many legislators required to pass that sort of law.
              c) all of the above.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by kellyb9 (954229)

                a) get a group of people who regularly go through the laws and remove the crap. b) have most of your laws expire after a certain time unless manually renewed - the lifespan is linked to how many legislators required to pass that sort of law. c) all of the above.

                Isn't that essentially the job of the Supreme Court? I like the second idea especially and would propose that the timeframe be 2 years to reflect the newly elected officials. I would also recommend that the laws could not be renewed until a month prior to their dismissal.

        • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:06AM (#24011967)

          For a long time, our laws were very ... "flexible". They were more like guidelines rather than exact definitions. Sure, there were things like "kill someone, go to jail 'til you die", but usually, laws required a judge to interpret them.

          The good thing about this was that people didn't look for loopholes. Flexible laws have none. When you're tried, you end up in front of a judge and those people COULD definitly see through your plot. When they smelled you trying to tiptoe around some legal definition, they'd whip out some obscure legal detour to jail you. At the same time, they let you off the hook when they noticed that, yes, you broke the law, but it was accidental.

          Our judges were actually quite good at sorting these things out. And behold, the jails were filled with crooks.

          This changed somewhere in the last 20 years. Now our laws are written down without much leeway to a judge. So now we have a lot of people in jail that didn't really do anything wrong but literally being in the wrong spot at the wrong time, while at the same time we have crooks ripping you off while dancing around the loopholes those rigid laws created, without a judge being able to do anything against it.

          Personally, I prefered the old version.

          • by slarrg (931336)

            Actually, I think the biggest change is that we've lost social norms. There used to be many rules and morals in society that people were expected to obey and people breaking these norms were admonished by others in society. Of course, these norms were often largely arbitrary, like a man shouldn't wear a hat indoors, but the act of society self-policing these behaviors helped to reinforce the following of society's rules. Today, however, political-correctness has made people stop criticizing people for these

            • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:59AM (#24012251)

              Also true to a point.

              I usually point the blame at the media. Basically what I call the "cult of the loser" that's running rampart.

              The examples are manifold. Let's start with afternoon talk shows. What do you get to see? Some washouts who sit there, telling you that they've been unemployed for years, living off wellfare and that it's all a great party. Message: Being unemployed and mooching off society isn't something to be ashamed of, it makes you a TV star.

              Then we switch over to court TV. Here again, petty cases that are little more than neighborhood bickering. Message: Be a jerk and sue without any reason, and you are a celebrity.

              We switch over to early evening shows and watch The Simpsons (as much as I love them, they broadcast the same message). A total and complete loser in a dead end job experiencing the most interesting adventures, simply by being a loudmouth and constant nuisance, his son being an elementary school soon-to-be-dropout and quite "successful" with his peers while Lisa, the brain in the family, usually gets the short end of the stick. Message: Be dumb and loud and you're successful in life.

              Works just as well for everything else, from King of Queens to Home Improvement.

              And finally the day culminates in American Idol, the show where it is carried to the extreme. Be loud, be a complete washout, have the intelligence of a doorknob and be a freak, as long as you can look cute and sing halfway decently (the latter is optional), you can become a huge teenage hero!

              Do you need anything more?

              People believe what they see on TV. They idolize the people they see there and they learn from them. Especially when it's "real" people (like in the first mentioned afternoon "reality" shows). They may not be heros, but they show you that it's ok to be a slob, that it's no shame to mooch off the rest of the country, that it's acceptable to be a nuisance to everyone around.

              And far too often the message that sticks is: Why not be an annoying, mooching slob yourself, "everyone" does it.

          • by TheLink (130905)
            AFAIK the UK style law thing (which we also have in my country) is "reasonable man".

            So if a "reasonable man" would do what you did in those circumstances, the judge is to look more favorably at you, even if you did something illegal.

            I've heard a high ranking US judge say that judges are to apply the law and not aim for justice.

            If you have lots of judges like that then the US legal system is in big trouble.

            There are lots of laws, many overlapping and applicable. If you do not aim for justice, what guides you
          • The good thing about this was that people didn't look for loopholes. Flexible laws have none. When you're tried, you end up in front of a judge and those people COULD definitly see through your plot. When they smelled you trying to tiptoe around some legal definition, they'd whip out some obscure legal detour to jail you. At the same time, they let you off the hook when they noticed that, yes, you broke the law, but it was accidental.

            The bad thing being that if you're a black man, then you're just fucked. We still have flexible laws - you can get a DUI just because, and you can get your house legally stolen because somebody found a joint inside it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bytesex (112972)

            I think you'll find that, in your melancholy world of long ago, when men were men and real judges put real crooks behind bars, that blacks were arbitrarily lynched for perhaps looking at a white woman, and that people went to jail for ten years for stealing an apple. Legal trends come and go, and good judges live among the bad during all those times. What changes is the way the rest of society is perhaps better able to understand the process, and that other people make statistics around verdicts to see ho

        • Man can rule himself. It's easy! Just make a decision based on whatever you want, and do it. Whether the ruling is good or not, that's up to you. These issues you mentioned, though, are kinda beyond the scope of individuals. That's where the government is supposed to step in. For example, an individual's policy on immigration might be to pick up a gun and shoot whoever he deems to be out of place. A government's policy on immigration will usually coordinate reasonable restrictions, border patrols, diplomacy

        • by NeuroManson (214835) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:20AM (#24012063) Homepage

          Hence the "Crisis" crisis (tm). Everything is a "crisis".

          Funny, I thought it was "FUCK YEAH!" (from Team America: World Police)

          Health Care ... FUCK YEAH!
          Environment ... FUCK YEAH!
          Energy/Oil ... FUCK YEAH!
          Republicans ... FUCK YEAH!
          Democrats ... FUCK YEAH!
          Terroism ... FUCK YEAH!
          Drugs ... FUCK YEAH!
          Immigration ... FUCK YEAH!

    • by corbettw (214229) <.corbettw. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:05AM (#24011585) Journal

      Screw that, voting probably won't help.* Do what I'm doing:

      I never got around to finishing my bachelor's because, frankly, I was too busy working. Now I'm doing it. And once that's done, I'm going to law school. Once I have a few years of experience with the law, I'm running for office, and I'm going to do everything I can to fix what's wrong with our government.

      If every decent, respectable, person on Slashdot did the same thing, we could make some real changes in this country.

      *I say this because we're not guaranteed of getting the right kind of people in office, unless we are those people. Don't wait for someone to fix all the problems we have, start being a part of the solution.

      • by ph4s3 (634087) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:10AM (#24011631)
        Decent, respectable people on Slashdot?

        You're new here, aren't you?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Paradise Pete (33184)
        Once I have a few years of experience with the law, I'm running for office, and I'm going to do everything I can to fix what's wrong with our government.


        Mr. Corbettw Goes To Washington. Say, you're not the leader of the Boy Rangers are you?

      • by DrSkwid (118965)

        I'd be more enamoured by your call to arms if you were studying Politics and International Relations combined with Economics and Philosophy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by evil_aar0n (1001515)

        I suggested, quite a while ago, as a topic of an "Ask Slashdot," whether a "Slashdot Party" would make sense. I got a form letter politely rejecting the idea. (Hey editors, kindly see "figure one...")

        Not that we can agree on whether the sky is blue - or, given our proclivities, to what degree - I still think it would be a great idea. Nerds need representation, too, and neither the Repugs nor the Dems are up to the job.

      • by asuzuki (305049) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @04:46AM (#24013145)

        I never got around to finishing my bachelor's because, frankly, I was too busy working. Now I'm doing it. And once that's done, I'm going to law school. Once I have a few years of experience with the law, I'm running for office, and I'm going to do everything I can to fix what's wrong with our government.

        Many politicians start off with the same idealism like you are describing. Chances are that when you reach your goal, you will have been robbed of it. It's naive to think that you can stay true to your ideas and still become successful (i.e. appear appealing to as many voters as possible).

    • by billcopc (196330)

      The law works like this: If YOU break it, you BROKE it. If EVERYONE breaks it, it is BROKEN. If the GOVERNMENT breaks it, the government is BROKEN.

      I tried to apply your logic to copyright, and it breaks!

      So does illegal wiretapping prove that copyright fails ?

      • Does anyone still need any kind of proof that copyright in its current form is broken beyond repair? While I do see copyright as a good thing, in its current form it is an abomination that has little in common with what copyright was supposed to be. Instead of protecting the rights of those that create, it protects the rights of those that distribute. Actually, it protects the rights of those that it should protect against, now how much more twisted can a law become? It's like laws against murder protecting

    • We instead ought to vote for the worst candidate instead of the best.

      There's 300 million people in our country, more than enough to enact change if they cared. There's one way to make them care: make this country go in the shitter worse than africas countries. We can do this by voting the worst candidate in, regardless of democrat or republican.

      I personally would go 8 yrs of repub and 4 years of dem just for the facts that repubs love wars, and dems love "feel good" laws, regardless of unintended consequenc

      • by TheLink (130905)
        I thought you had democracy? You're already voting whatever candidates you want. I mean you guys are doing stuff like reelecting Bush. Of course it may well be that your elections are diebolded, but the last I checked, most people in the USA don't care.

        Careful what you wish for, if the country goes to the shitter, you might get one of those african style revolutions.

        Once you have a dictator on the top it's quite hard to get rid of them. You'll have to wait for them to get old and either die or willingly pas
    • by DrSkwid (118965)

      I already vote against every incumbent, and their opposition but somehow one of the bastards always seems to win. I think other people must be voting because I certainly am not.

      It's like choosing which bullet to be shot by.

  • That's ok (Score:5, Funny)

    by pngwen (72492) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:23PM (#24011275) Journal

    The phreaks illegally tapped the FBI at the same time!

    • Re:That's ok (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jgardner100 (559892) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:48PM (#24011453) Homepage
      I still love Rutger Hauer's quote in Blade Runner "Aren't you supposed to be the good guy?" It applies more and more to the behaviour of Western Governments these days. (Yes I know a lot of the other's are misbehaving, but that doesn't mean they should become the norm that we strive for.)
  • by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:37PM (#24011387)
    It's sad, this guy had an I.Q. of 170 and it sounds from the article like his extreme potential was completely ruined by sexual abuse.

    To me, treating this guy like he's some hacker god is borderline mockery. He had a right to live his life unmolested, and he lost that. And instead of helping him, the government spied on him.

    When I look at my old collection of hacker books, I can still feel much of the pain that I felt as a child (never as extreme as sexual abuse) and I feel disgusted that Hollywood tried to make me feel like a genius because I was different and quirky and creative. In fact, if anything, my emotional pain put me at risk of not being able to use my potential at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smchris (464899)

      Met him once. When I mentioned he made the NYT list of interesting obits for the year at a Mensa gathering in January I was surprised to discover that several people maintained contact with him and were very fond of him. There are worse ways to make friends than start the Church of the Eternal Child. He wasn't unloved.

    • by Stellian (673475)

      TFA:

      His wish to remain an eternal child appears to be linked to the repeated sexual abuse he reported suffering from a nun at the school for the blind that he attended as a child...

      Calm down, he obviously enjoyed it and wished to remain an eternal child. Hey, who doesn't have a thing for nuns ?

  • by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:37PM (#24011393)
    The network was inherently hackable *by design*.

    Security by obscurity, it does not work.

    • by jd (1658)
      Security by obscurity, it does not work.

      It does, for the attacker.

    • Security by obscurity, it does not work.

      Hush, you. Could you please stop telling them, hacking has become hard enough as it is!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:44PM (#24011429)

    Seems way out of line, this kid could dial phones by whistling up 2600Hz, and this rates memos from Hoover (head of FBI) to Laird (head of DoD) to Ehrlichmann (WH Chief of Staff), in the middle of the Vietnam War?? Imagine the files they must have on the phreaks who could only whistle up to 2540Hz or so.

  • Well.. At least it's ironic when phone phreaks get their own phones tapped. Turnabout being "fair play" and all.

    Although.. If you tap a beige-box-er, who've you really tapped, then?

  • by KozmoKramer (1117173) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:49PM (#24011459)
    The FBI has got to be one of the most disliked agencies in America right now.





    But at least they have been consistent in violating American's privacy for the past half century.
    • Well, it has powerful rivals in the NSA (competing for the hate of people in the US) and CIA (competing for the hate of everyone else on the planet) for that spot, so it won't be easy for them.

      But they really try hard, I have to give you that.

  • by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:06AM (#24011597) Homepage
    The current wiretapping scandal has to do with violating FISA which was not passed until 1978.
  • by ScottFree2600 (929714) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:47AM (#24011843)
    If it CAN be done, it WILL be done. Back then "being paranoid" was standard for Phreaks and considered a good thing. Honestly, I think that things are FAR WORSE now, then under Nixon. If they want to get your for something, they will. We've had enough examples of "the law be damned" over the past dozen years or so that it should be clear to all. The things that you have to fear are getting caught up in the "justice system" at all. You'll be facing incompetent, sometimes evil, always political and usually aggressive investigators, lawyers and judges. Anybody who's ever done work with or for an attorney knows that they are the most technophobic people you'll ever meet, and while this can work in your favor, most often it doesn't. This won't get fixed because they don't recognize a problem. Be very afraid!
  • No suprises there (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:54AM (#24011893)

    Illegally taped phones are pretty minor compared to some of the other things they did back then. Google cointelpro, mk-ultra.

  • Joe was amazing! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Newer Guy (520108) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:55AM (#24011905)

    Though I never met him personally, I know that he had perfect pitch. In other words his ears WERE a frequency counter! Rumor was that he could whistle MF tones-he didn't need the blue box that the rest of us used.

    My BB was made with 555 timers in a calculator box and keypad bought from Poly Paks (anyone remember them?). I used a simple 1N914 diode matrix on the back of the keypad (with all its traces hacked away so it was just a bunch of SPST pushbuttons) to apply power to the different 555's configured as astables. For example, pushing the #1 powered on the 700 and 900 Hz oscillators, etc. The astables were all summed by a 741 opamp and then fed an old telco earpiece with the clipping diode across the back removed. Though everything was square waves, the switching equipment didn't seem to care at all and the box worked GREAT! I'd simply acoustically couple it to a handset mouthpiece and call anywhere I wanted.

    The display on the unit lit up: 'FUCH BELL' when the CE keypad button was pressed. I couldn't make a K with an 8 segment display :)

    I came very close to being busted-a NET security person came to my apt. about 3 months after I left school. Apparently they had a pen tracer on our dorm telephone there and heard my name mentioned. I called his bluff by confronting him ("How did you HEAR my name if all you had a court order to do was use a pen tracer?") and he went away. That day I stopped MFing.

    I never met Woz-though we had some common friends. John Draper (AKA: Captain Crunch-called that because he discovered that a small whistle that came with in some Captain Crunch cereal boxes whistled 2600 hz-the main frequency that the entire tandem long distance system ran on) did come to visit me for a few days-he was ok but socially inept. If they illegally wiretapped Joe, then I'd be sure there's also an illegal file on John D. as well-he was HUGE in the phreaking scene at the time.

    Ahh, the good old days-today it's too not worth phreaking because VOIP and other technologies make things so cheap that it's not worth the risk any more.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:17AM (#24012041)

    Mustard: "Why is J. Edgar Hoover on your phone?"
    Wadsworth: "I don't know. He's on everybody else's, so why shouldn't he be on mine!"

  • by Alibaba10100 (1296289) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:20AM (#24012061) Journal
    I can't decide whether things are better or worse now. Back then, the FBI put wiretaps on whoever they damn well pleased without any legal justification. There was no public debate on whether warrantless wiretapping should be allowed. Law enforcement acted with impunity, but technological limitations kept the number of wiretaps small. Now, those technological limitations have evaporated. Wiretapping requires much less manpower. Law enforcement agencies would like to be able to wiretap anyone they want without a warrant, and they want to do it legally. If we pretend that no illegal wiretaps are placed, I wonder if its better to have a broad wiretapping program in public view or to have a small scale wiretapping operation with absolutely no public oversight.
  • by BcNexus (826974) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:24AM (#24012081)
    Joybubbles was a frequent contributor to the Pioneer Press feature "Bulletin Board." His entries to this print-based forum were fun and insightful.

    He lived the last 19 years of his life as a five year old. Crazy as that sounds, it seems like a nice way to live: free-spirited and fun loving.

    I had no idea he was a phreaker. Small world, eh? Especially with Bruce Schneier living in the Twin Cities too!
  • 8038's? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ScottFree2600 (929714)
    He was! Are you sure that it wasn't intersil 8038's? I'm familiar with that design. What area did you live in at that time? We may know a lot of the same people. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Newer Guy (520108)
      I lived in Massachusetts and went to Lowell Tech. Institute (now U Mass Lowell). I was familiar with the Intersil 8038 design, but went with 555s configured as astables because their output frequency only depended on their R/C time constant and wasn't affected by the battery voltage changing as the 9 volt battery went dead like so many other designs (like the 8038) were. I used 10 turn trimpots to set the oscillator frequencies and found that they only needed to be set once. Someone I know was selling boxe
  • The Middle Way (Score:2, Insightful)

    by larryau (983008)

    It is a bad idea that government should be whittled down to almost nothing, so much so that it would cease to function. The idea that the democrat wants to turn the USA into a communist country is just plain propaganda. It is fear mongering.

    The republican is just afraid that what they have might be taken away from them or be expected to play fair. And whatever tools are available are used to keep you in check. The republican is guilty of using the fear of socialism all the way to claiming it is a gods p

  • FBI as criminals (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @10:15AM (#24015413) Homepage

    When the only distinguishing characteristics between a so-called law enforcement agency and a criminal enterprise is a government seal of approval and non-profit status (sometimes not even that apparently), it's time to disband it.

    The FBI has consistently demonstrated little regard for the law or the citizens it is charged with protecting. Much of that has been attributed to J.E. Hoover, but I can't imagine that he lead the organization so long without imprinting his casual disregard for the law and the Constitution on all levels of the organization. That would naturally include the promotion of agents who fit his mold.

    After Hoover's death, there did not appear to be the sort of massive re-organization that would be required to purge itself of such criminals in the guise of law enforcement.

    It's hardly surprising that decades later, the organization still demonstrates a casual disregard for the law more befitting organized crime.

    Given the problems that have been discovered within the organization including a crime lab that thinks voting is an acceptable scientific procedure, were it not for the pass that our courts routinely give law enforcement, I would think the FBI's testimony should carry negative credibility by now.

    While I'm aware that cops are people too and that we can't expect (nor would we necessarily want) Dudley Do-Right, I don't think respect for the law, the Constitution, and the citizens is too much to expect of law enforcement. A sense of proportion would be a good thing as well.

  • J Edgar Hoover came into his own during the Roosevelt Administration and ultimately formed such a powerful force that he became almost a branch of government in his own right. He was universally reviled by every administration over the years from Kennedy to Johnson although they ultimately allowed him to continue.

    Now Nixon was mad enough to at least contemplate removing Hoover from FBI, but he ultimately let him stay on because he, as previous administrations though, that Hoover had the goods on him. As it turned out, this decision ultimately lead the number 2 at FBI to go Deep Throat and this ultimately did bring down the Hixon government.

    So clearly, the FBI had become a national problem.

    In the wake of watergate, a bunch of liberals stormed the national elections, and although they did a lot of stupid stuff, they did form an unusual coalition with libertarians and enacted a number of laws designed to prevent the likes of Hoover from happening again. It is these laws that were torn down during the foolish "we're tougher on terror than the other guy" legislative race between Democrats and Republicans and lead directly to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

    The most important point to make is, just because your party has absolute control of government, does not put that government in the right when it abuses civil rights. You can't let yourself be sullied into believing that the targets of immoral arrests and searches are in fact, anything more than political targets. If the police have the evidence, they can cough it up, and have a trial, for any citizen of the United States who is supposedly accused.

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell

Working...