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May 6, 2008

Who's got your keys?


I learned from Colin Harrison's superb new novel, "The Finder," that all New York City firemen have skeleton keys which allow them to enter any building in the city.

OK, that makes sense.

What I found very interesting (assuming it's true, which it sure would seem to be, judging from the ways of the world) is that though retired firemen are expected to turn in their master keys when they leave the department, few — if any — do.

Then yesterday, reading David Halbfinger's New York Times article about the Pellicano trial in Los Angeles, I happened on the following:

    Wiretapping is really, really easy

    Amateur spooks and crooks need only to learn which pair of wires, known as a cable pair, is associated with someone’s phone number to tap it. The wires can be found in a curbside neighborhood "b-box," if you don’t have the passkey to a central office.

    Every phone company service technician is given copies of two keys that can open nearly all of Southern California's b-boxes, and retired technicians apparently keep them.



May 6, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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It's scary that the department doesn't have a system for collecting things are serious as master keys! In most jobs, they make sure that you don't even leave with so much as a pen! As we move towards this who digital age, you'll find that all of the access systems have a work around.. things are going to get interesting..

Posted by: Roderick Griner | Jul 26, 2008 9:08:10 PM

I hate to add to the "observation", but Heating & Cooling Companies, Telephone Repair Companies, Cleaning Companies, Elevator Companoes and Companies also have a "Customer Key or Code" Key/Code location....usually open to techs!!! Business and Homes alike. Joe Peach

Posted by: Joe Peach | May 6, 2008 7:13:35 PM

Wiretapping is EXTREMELY easy...heck the dead simplest way is from the silverbox in the back yard. On the back of any house and has a test loop. Takes about 2 minutes even if you don't know what you are doing...back in the day, I use to use the bank next door's phone lines to dial long distance. Only time I screwed up was when I disconnected the alarm wires that instantly trigger the alarm downtown. Oops...they run on the same sorts of wires...

Posted by: clifyt | May 6, 2008 3:43:26 PM

For what it's worth, a screwdriver will get you into most doors without a deadbolt. And many with. The best security is a good neighborhood.

Posted by: itsrichard | May 6, 2008 3:08:08 PM

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