Disclosure: I have worked with both Ryan Singel and EFF.
At Wired’s Threat Level blog, Ryan Singel reviews documents on government wiretapping that the FBI turned over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation under Freedom of Information Act requests. He finds a number of problems including the FBI “accidentally listen[ing] in on one innocent American [sic] phone conversations due to a hack a phone company used to let people take port their phone numbers from one cell provider to another.” Wired continues:
At issue is a workaround used by CDMA providers, where a carrier assigns an alias number to a ported number in order to speed up switching at a user’s usual calling area. The workaround has the unfortunate side effect of occasionally reporting the alias — which could actually be a real person’s number — instead of the real caller to the FBI’s wiretapping software.
In the FBI’s own words, “due to misinformation in the call records, the unrelated subscriber was temporarily included in the investigation” and “this error has recently misled a few FBI investigations.
Read the whole story here.