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A friend of mine who shall remain nameless (because I'm about to make fun of him here) sent me this link today, about some software that I can download on my phone to keep the FBI from wiretapping my calls. The story is from last May, but the apps are apparently still live, and the discussion is ongoing about just exactly what the FBI and other spy agencies actually can do, from a technological standpoint.
OK. As per usual, because this is a tech blog and not a political blog, I'm going to leave the discussion about whether or not the FBI should have a "right" to wiretap my phone for other bloggers, and Congress, and the pundits to hash out. Let's just take a few steps back, though, and break down the numbers:
1) There are approximately 300,000,000 people living in the U.S., and most of them make several phone calls a day. If you're one of those people, at any given time you have a .072333% chance of an FBI agent listening in on your conversation. Yes, I totally made that last number up, but seriously, what do you think the chances are that the FBI is listening in on any one of those calls at any given time? I don't know, either, but the odds are pretty slim.
2) Approximately 0% of the people I know have ever met a terrorist. This reduces my chances of attracting the attention of the FBI (see #1 above) by 93% (or thereabouts). Yes, I made up that number, too.
3) Approximately 50% of the time, the people I'm actually talking with on the phone don't want to listen to my phone conversations. That number may be a conservative estimate. Why on earth would an FBI agent want to listen to my calls?!
No, I'm not planning to download these apps on my phone. They would just use up much-needed memory, and may, in fact actually leave security holes for hackers, spammers, or malware programs. I'll just rely on my trust tin-foil hat. It's been working beautifully for me for years. Thank you. That is all.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.