I may have been 'spied on' in 2006

I have never posted about this online before, but it entered my mind a few times recently, and I thought others here might find it at least mildly interesting. Perhaps some have even had similar experiences of their own.

I don’t think I’m the kind of person security agencies would have much interest in. I’m not involved in anything especially politically subversive (unless being a supporter of the SAFE Network and similar technologies counts), and don’t imagine I stand out as anyone deserving of targeted scrutiny. However, I may have been ‘spied on’ by government-related programs in 2006.

In 2006, I was at my university, in Florida, and used my cellphone to call my mother, who lived in a different city. While I was talking to my mother, I suddenly heard my own voice talking in the earpiece. I assumed it was an echo from the cellphone signal, so I briefly paused to wait for it to stop. …But, my voice didn’t stop talking. I continued to hear my own voice speak. I listened to it, and then recognized the conversation I was hearing. It was a conversation (nothing out of the ordinary) I had had on the phone with her an entire year earlier. I, of course, had never recorded that phone conversation (nor had she). But, evidently, someone or something had. It continued for a minute, and then stopped. My mother had been able to hear it on her end as well. We were both surprised and confused, with no convincing explanation for what happened.

To this day, I still don’t know what it was. My mother and I were both using very simple cellphones (not ‘smartphones’), and neither of us had recording devices. Is there really a technical issue that could have caused something like that to happen? Or is a more likely explanation that my call had been recorded/monitored, be it by a person, or a machine? I would be curious to know if anyone is aware of an explanation for my experience—and, perhaps, if anyone has experienced something similar.

If it really is plausible that what I experienced may have been related to security agency data collection, perhaps this is one small example of how real such government programs may be—and why privacy-guarding technologies like the SAFE Network are important.

3 Likes