FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool
update The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.
The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.
The FBI is apparently using a novel surveillance technique on alleged Mafioso: activating his cell phone's microphone and then just listening.
While it appears this is the first use of the "roving bug" technique, it has been discussed in security circles for years.
Nextel cell phones owned by two alleged mobsters, John Ardito and his attorney Peter Peluso, were used by the FBI to listen in on nearby conversations. The FBI views Ardito as one of the most powerful men in the Genovese family, a major part of the national Mafia.