Heads must roll

The day has begun badly with a double-barrel blast from the Philippine Daily Inquirer: its editorial says the issue of the tapes is more than politics while Amado Doronila says heads must roll. Newbreak has published in advance of its regular edition a looking into whether ISAFP did it (the bugging).

Members of the House are meeting behind closed doors on how to handle hearings on the tapes, while Ong’s lawyers say they have no idea where he is -and that Bishop Bacani no longer has the “mother of all tapes”. Incidentally, for foreign readers, a “solon” is Filipino press speak for “legislator.”

jed (who, if you didn’t know, is the fellah who administers all the domains in the Philippines) wrote in his blog on the technical considerations of bugging:
So where did the President get her recording? An ex-CIA operative once told me that ISAFP has about 30 lines connected to PLDT’s switches. With this, the AFP can listen in on virtually any phone conversation in PLDT’s network. (I have no doubt that ISAFP also has lines to Globe, Digitel, Sun, and all the other carriers). It is important to note that wiretapping today is very different from the way things were in “Mission Impossible”. Nowadays you wiretap with digital devices. It is certainly possible for a device to listen in on various phone conversations simultaneously, and identify the speakers (and then record the conversation). For this to happen, you need to have a huge database of audio recordings of people you wish to monitor. There are algorithms to analyze the frequency spectrum used by each speaker (z-transform, fourier transform, etc). There are algorithms to use this data to fingerprint and later ID the speaker. In fact, some stock brokerages today utilize this software. (eg – if the stock market is crashing and you can’t get through your broker, and automated attendant will ID you then let you enter you stock trade using touch-tone keys. Identification is done by having you say random words that the auto-attendant generates. eg say “five seven three one”.)

And his brother, Atty. Disini, writes in turn how government cannot impose prior restraint on media.

A series of interesting “blog lectures” by punzi’s corner blog, including the following: the anti-wiretapping law; on sedition; and on presidential succession. La Vida Lawyer, meanwhile, advises the President to sieze the Sun Tzu moment.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi department: the last media outfit leaves London’s Fleet Street.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

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