Adventures at the Smithsonian

Last week I went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Museum of American History.  Hal Wallace, the Smithsonian’s Associate Curator of Electronics and Electricity, was my guide.  Hal showed me a number of fascinating devices that professional eavesdroppers have used since the mid-1800s. Here are two pocket wiretaps from the 1860s, each no biggerContinue reading “Adventures at the Smithsonian”

The Conversnitch

Wired published an article yesterday about Kyle McDonald and Brian House, two artists who recently constructed an eavesdropping device that resembles a household light bulb. When plugged into a lamp or light fixture, the aptly named “Conversnitch” has the ability to listen in on a nearby conversation and then post its contents to a liveContinue reading “The Conversnitch”

360 E. 55th Street, 10022: The Wiretap Nest

Here’s a recent Google street view of 360 E. 55th Street, just off of First Avenue in New York City. On February 11, 1955, NYPD detectives burst into an apartment on the fourth floor of this building and discovered a private wiretapping headquarters linked to 100,000 of the city’s telephones.  It was one of theContinue reading “360 E. 55th Street, 10022: The Wiretap Nest”