Listening in…


In the early 1980s I lived near Las Vegas, Nevada, where I met a group organizing a barter system for exchanging goods and services. They wanted nothing to do with money, they said, because the government was putting magnetic strips into the fabric to track the money.

“They could drive by your house,” the barterers explained, “zap it with something like a radar gun and know exactly how much cash you got in there.”

The barter people tried to convince me to join by laying out more reasons to distrust the government.

“Did you know all our phone calls are tape recorded and stored on big reel-to-reel tapes? Been going on since the Truman administration.”


Oh yeah, and that eyeball on the dollar bill — that was our government’s way of letting us know they were spying on us.

This was too much for my 20-something naive mind. I dismissed them as paranoid and never saw them again.

Fifteen years later I lived on a farm in California where I discovered my house was bugged and phone tapped — not by any government, so far as I knew, but by a rotten neighbor next farm. That thug even knew every keystroke I made on the computer. I remembered the barter people and wondered if they were right. Is it so easy to tap someone’s phone without their knowing…?

Is what the humongous facility in Utah is for — storing some seven decades of tape-recorded phone calls?

One bright spot: I learned that listening and broadcasting devices need electricity. I plugged everything electronic into surge strips and easily shut them all off when not in use. Cool — my neighbor could no longer eavesdrop and my electricity bill dropped 30 percent. Thanks, creep!

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Cate Mueller is a web designer, editor, reporter and photographer in Bouse, Arizona. To visit her website, CLICK HERE.

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