Telephone tap / tapping detectors  (for the UK)- do they actually work?

Posted on 2011-04-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a client who in concerns his telephone line might be tapped. Googling the subject I can see some US based websites that talk of telephone tap detectors that claim to be able to tell if the line is tapped.

However these websites are always poor quality and I have been unable to find a reputable looking website to stock these products (Correct me if I'm wrong)

Does reliable  technology exist that would allow you in the UK to plug into, say your master telephone socket and detect if the telephone line is tapped externally?

If so can someone point me to this product?
Question by:afflik1923
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Accepted Solution

phototropic earned 500 total points
ID: 35481445
Here is a security firm based in Coventry:


I would be mindful of the legal consequences of phone surveillence...

Author Comment

ID: 35481979
Hmmm. OK great link thanks.

Looking at their product

It actually confusses me whether this is an item that will detect wiretaps or not? What we want is a device that will tell you is someone has tapped your telephone line.

From the description I am not clear (and I have phoned them and someone will call me back)
As for legalities, we are trying to protect our client from having his phone converstations tapped.
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Assisted Solution

btan earned 500 total points
ID: 35482206
We do need to acknowledge that govt (intelligence?)  may be tapping even at Telco centre and user could not do anything to it. There is no clear evidence but in the VoIP call, the saga of Blackberry in UAE, and India did state the need from govt to have the comms make available to them in view of terrorism scare. It can be real in unknown fashion
@ http://www.nerdylorrin.net/jerry/politics/Warrantless/WarrantlessFACTS.html

If it is at telco, I doubt it is straightforward. But I believe privacy policy stands. Can take a look at UK side in the wiki below. Companies that record telephone calls must ensure that their employees can make unrecorded personal calls, if necessary on a telephone on the premises which is not recorded; they may otherwise be in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
@ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_recording_laws

this is one article for information on how to detect, not necessary use device based
@ http://www.espykit.com/spy-security-articles/check-for-phone-taps.php

As for hardware type, you may be interested in this
@ http://microvideox.com/all-in-one-counter-surveillance-device.html

The one you suggested is possible and it is also one mean to detect as stated in article below:
@ http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/question250.htm

Just some thoughts ..... unless you go for encrypted VoIP services - but then again, do we also want to go extreme and suspect the provider. Maybe a peer to peer secure call will be preferred .....
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Expert Comment

ID: 35482283
OK. Good luck with that.  I have never used a device such as that, so I can't really offer any further advice.
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Assisted Solution

giltjr earned 500 total points
ID: 35483180
It will depended on the type of tap done and where it is done.

If done at the telco's CO, there is nothing you can do to detect it.

If done on the wire going into the house, or on a phone within the house, then SOME tap detectors will work.

This all of course assumes you are using hardwire land lines.

Author Comment

ID: 35754939
I might be buying one of these devices t expermint with it. i will update soon.

Assisted Solution

vop earned 500 total points
ID: 36208801
Phonetap detectors generally work by measuring the disturbance of the phone line's electrical characteristics in some way. Modern electronic phonetaps can be designed so that the load imposed on the line is negligible, making them impossible to detect. ADSL signals present on most modern phone lines would severely limit the ability of techniques such as time domain reflectometry to detect the localised line inductance changes produced by a wiretap. Modern telephone switching centres allow pretty comprehensive and largely undetectable means of routing phone conversations elsewhere. The majority of phone traffic these days is IP-based between exchanges. A better way may be to have a fictitious conversation with someone in the know, giving away some snippets of information, the effects of which you could detect in some way by a change in the behaviour of the person or persons you suspect of wiretapping, or is revealed by ensuing events.


Author Comment

ID: 36305801
will update soon
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Expert Comment

ID: 36716213

"...will update soon..."

 Did the equipment from SpyEquipment UK in Coventry work out OK for you?

Author Closing Comment

ID: 36976301
thanks for all the input on this. Still have not been able to try this properly but will do soon. Thanks again

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