Most everyone is familiar with 9-1-1, 4-1-1, and 6-1-1 numbers in America, but there are other equally valuable three-digit numbers worthy of remembrance or plugging into your contact list. And that includes the equivalent numbers in other countries, when you travel.
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I can’t think of anyone who has not used 9-1-1 to call for help in a law enforcement, fire, or medical emergency, or to report something in need of Police investigation or intervention. Almost everyone with a cell phone knows that 4-1-1 is directory information, and that 6-1-1 is commonly used to reach their carrier regarding issues with their cellular account or the phone, itself. But what about 2-1-1, 8-1-1, and other numbers in the series? Not so much. Even more problematic, is what happens when you are in another country. What numbers do you use, then? This post will answer that, and give you all the numbers for popular North American destinations.
While there is some international cooperation in assigning such numbers, there remain vast differences. The European Union, has its own set of numbers, and while the UK employs some of them, they also have their own set, devised before the EU had existed. Yet Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are slightly to vastly different from England, Canada almost identical to America. Asia and the Middle East is a hodge-podge, while South America is a bit of hodge-podge, but like Canada, also employs 9-1-1 for the main number. Some countries, like Mexico, have sort of ignored the issue (both the government, and citizens – see note), though they are at least using 9-1-1, as of late. Africa is just plain behind the times, you will need a different number everywhere you go, in most cases.
Fortunately, it’s not at all hard to find out what emergency numbers are available when abroad, and it can be done online easily before you travel, at WikipediA, where almost every country is cited. One can also search on ‘emergency phone numbers’ + (country name). Travel agents, airline and cruise ship firms, State Department offices and any Embassy (any nation), will generally have the answer. If already in the country, any citizen should be able to at least give you the key-most emergency number for fire/police/medical… if you both speak a common language.
You can see why programming them into your phone beforehand might be a good idea.When abroad, you should always program the local US Embassy or Consulate number into your phone, as well. And, btw, before you travel, check with your phone company about how to avoid huge phone bills while abroad. It is easy to run up bills into the thousands of dollars, if unaware. There are several things you can do, including purchasing a temporary sim card with a foreign carrier, or special temporary rate plans from your carrier. Just know that your cell carrier may not be interested in telling you about options they can’t make money on, if they do not have partnership arrangements in place, overseas. So your travel agent and the like may be a good second-opinion resource. Image: WikipediA.
The American system would seem to be far more robust than many other three-digit systems. The list shown here also includes Canadian numbers, which do not necessarily apply outside of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan:
America Canada Service
2-1-1 2-1-1 Community health and social services: suicide prevention, welfare programs, access to free services such as for food, housing, legal aid. Includes State, County, public/private entities. An operator will inquire as to need, and provide suggested local contacts.
3-1-1 3-1-1 Frequently available in larger cities, similar to 2-1-1, but Municipal.
4-1-1 4-1-1 Directory Information or ‘operator.’
5-1-1 5-1-1 Available in many areas: automated road condition reports, and a means to report accidents and road hazards not require 9-1-1 help.
6-1-1 6-1-1 Direct contact with the cellular carrier’s customer support.
7-1-1 7-1-1 Reserved, not in use.
8-1-1 In most locations, connects to a centralized information system for utility services, principally to locate underground lines. It is currently not used to report problems, but that may change in the future.
aaaaaa.aa8-1-1 Tied to the national health care system for urgent care requests.
9-1-1 9-1-1 Police, Fire, Medical emergency ONLY. Also good in Mexico*, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.
*Mexico is began implementing 9-1-1 in 2017, but may not be in service in less populated areas, and the person answering may not speak English and a transfer to someone who does may not be very fast. Previously, Mexico had separate 8 digit numbers for fire, police, and ambulance, and those numbers remain in place. The Military has its own phone number for crime-lord response, but Citizens tend to have no faith in any such services, there, because help seldom responds, or they do not trust Police/military. A group called Angeles Verdes (“Green Angels”) offers roadside aid and travel advices, tourist helps, answering in English: dial 0-7-8.
I almost forgot the handy ‘star codes’. It’s amazing how many people don’t know them… or have forgotten them (like me, almost). Star codes are also a three keystroke ‘number’ made up of two numerals preceded by an asterisk keystroke, found just left of ‘zero’ on the dial pad. They are also known as ‘Vertical Service Codes’ (VSC), Custom Local Area Calling Codes (CLASS, or LASS). They allow the you to directly interact with the digital telephone switching system, telling the hardware how to handle a given call situation differently. They can provide improved privacy/security or added feature-benefits in how you use your phone. Like the previous 9-1-1 numbers (save 6-1-1), they generally apply to both cell phones and land lines, though some function only on one or the other.
There are some 33 different codes in all, many in the form of paired codes, one to turn a feature ‘on’, and another for ‘off.’ Many are special functions tied to the type of phone account the subscriber has, or to optional features for an extra charge, and some would seem unlikely to be used very often. Some smart phones internally employ star codes such that the user is unaware, and does not need to know the code, such as when blocking a number. Because of these various variables, you should visit your service provider’s Web site to see which codes are specifically available to you under your service plan, and review your phone’s handbook to see how it might be handling such provisions.
However, there are several very important star codes which apply to everyone, which you should commit to memory, because all phones will work with them, and you don’t always end up using your own phone. Too many of them to detail, here, but there is a handy list at WikipediA. Scan the list and take a bit of time to mouse over the blue (hot link) text on their page, for a popup explanation, as the short description may not prove as useful in your evaluation. Click it if more text than will fit the box is apparent.
Take note of things like anonymous call rejection, call blocking, caller ID controls, and call trace. That last one is used when calls involve threats or are in some way malicious to you, your phone, or the phone company; it reports it to the phone company and can result in a notice being sent to Police and/or a joint investigation through the phone company. If particularly threatening or criminally harmful, you should also file a Police Report, and include the time/date along with the fact that you did use star 57… because Police will not otherwise contact you from just punching in the code, and just pushing the code alone won’t give Police the full story. I use it when I get calls from impossible phone numbers (scammers), and I let an appropriate agency know about it, if warranted.
How to prevent gross violations of your privacy by the Police State
by H. Michael Sweeney
Updated 6/17: two changes in red
Note: This is a complex topic and thus is a lengthy post of a somewhat technical nature, and though it is based on knowledge of the U.S. communications network, most things found here generally apply World Wide. Given the complexity, it will not be useful to undertake reading it unless you have time to devote free of distraction, as it is too important for hit-and-miss reading. It is an updated summary review of information (not excerpted) from my book, The Professional Paranoid: How to Fight Back When Investigated, Stalked, Targeted, or Harassed by Any Agency, Organization, or Individual (available in ebook, CDR, and hard copy)
I’ll start with an inflammatory statement, which I’m fond of doing if it criticizes our errant government. We live in a Corporate Police State. This, I’m arbitrarily defining for the purpose of this article, is a form of government which partners with corporations against the clients of both. As Citizen, you are client to Government (you pay them taxes, they sell you societal infrastructure), and in this case, you are also client to your cell phone service provider. No client should be ever stand for being abused by those with whom they do business; they should stop doing business with them, or find ways to fight back and neutralize the abuse.
The Police State part arises whenever you have a government which applies surveillance and perhaps targeting with Political Control Technology (PCT) of citizens over political issues due to government’s paranoia; they fear the power of individual free thinkers who dare to have and express opinions contrary to their own. And, frankly, they should fear it, because the more Police State-like a government waxes, the more such persons they create, and the more likely such persons will become active in working to replace government. As other posts on my blog site reveal, when governments defeat traditional forms of redress, that could mean outright armed rebellion, if they persist and grow worse over time. Governments get what they create for themselves.
What has your government earned for themselves from you? Acceptance of abuse or defiance and protest against it? Your answer then defines you as being either a common dumb and obedient Sheeple or being someone who is more aware and thus deemed politically incorrect, and therefore liable to being spied upon by government through your cell phone. Here’s how they do it, how to detect it (when possible), and what to do about it.
Threat One: Listening in
A cell phone can be listened in upon by several means with varying degrees of usefulness, and in ways which almost make irrelevant any dialog about warrants, roving, blanket, or otherwise. Dialog on warrants would justify is own blog because as a topic, it is its own area of political spying abuse. So there will only be brief references, here.
While the information below talks about detection methods, most are not detectible usefully. At best, you may need to rely on situational evidence, such as people seeming to know things only possible by having overheard a conversation, or habitually ‘coincidentally’ showing up while you travel. It is all about being alert to your situation and surroundings. That is the price of politically incorrect (in a Police State). Here are the means:
a) If covert access to your phone was possible, it could have been cloned. Not all phones can be easily cloned, and some older phones may resist altogether, depending on who is doing the cloning (their sophistication). That means any use of the phone will be ‘duplicated’ on another phone somewhere as if the user thereof were inside your own head. This cannot be detected by you (assuming the user has set to mute) and, while the phone company could detect it in real time, they don’t try. It cannot be detected after the fact. Anyone using the tech would not likely rely upon a warrant, but it is possible that one could be involved. The technology to clone is hobby grade and above and thus almost anyone can construct the means to clone most phones.
b) Some cell phones have an undocumented diagnostics mode accessed by a keystroke sequence which lets the user hear all cell phone calls going on near to the tower at the moment, in random rotation. Since the number of users at a given instant could be just a handful, that often allows sensitive information to be gleaned, especially if one recognizes a voice. These codes are generally available on the Web, so anyone can use them, and no warrant is required. There is no means to detect its use.
c) The NSA (National Security Agency) worked with the phone industry to develop the modern digital telephone system which includes cellular technology as well as land-line phones. This has become a de facto World standard. The design incorporates command codes sent at ultra high-speed along the network mixed in amongst other call signal data. Phones generally cannot detect these codes (with some exception), but they do respond to them, and that is how they can be manipulated. The range of capabilities (and thus, the threat level) is broad:
1) Calls can be remotely listened to by NSA by computerized systems looking for keywords, in which case the call is escalated (see next). This cannot be detected and NSA routinely listens into almost all call traffic regardless of who the caller or recipient might be. This is under the umbrella of Operation Echelon, one of the earliest paranoiac efforts of the Cold War era intelligence community. Its been going on for decades.
2) Calls can be rerouted to a secondary location for recording and live listen-in capability. This allows thoughtful analysis of call content. This feature can be ‘preset’ so that all calls to or from a given number are recorded, which is exactly how they would choose to target the politically incorrect or a criminal suspect. A warrant is required by the phone company to set it up but anyone who knows the codes can bypass asking the phone company to do it. Virtually the entire military-industrial-intelligence complex knows the codes, and therefore, so do many individuals. It requires special black boxes anyone could build from scratch.
There is a subtle way to detect this form of eavesdropping on inbound calls, but it requires happenstance or deliberate query. If anyone mentions that it took a long time for you to answer the phone but at your end it only rang a few times, the call was rerouted and the caller heard extra rings while the secondary phone system took time to answer, initiate the recording process, and then pass the call along to you. This does not tell you if it is you or the caller who’s the target of the listen in, but you can query on outbound calls as to how many rings they heard at their end, and if calling several numbers at random with consistent results, you have your answer.
Another clue (very rare) can be when a call seems not to hang up and you continue to hear what is going on at the other end. That is a malfunction at the recording site which causes the call not to be released, and the line is held open. It is usually true that the other phone in the conversation was a land line. This brings us to the next threat:
3) The microphone of the phone can be turned on without the need of a phone call being placed or answered. The phone is then a ‘bug’ you carry with you. This can be detected in many cases by paying attention to battery consumption. If your battery life on a charge is normally many hours to days even with general use of the phone, but suddenly it dies or nears death within significantly fewer hours with the same level or less usage, it is being listened in, upon. This happens to me whenever I’ve announced I’m leaving the house, especially if to meet someone. Funny that the battery which normally lasts 2-3 days will crap out in six hours with a fresh charge, but return to the normal performance the following day.
4) I’ll mention as an additional capability less commonly employed is the ability to spoof a destination or point of origin call. You could dial, for instance, the Police to call for help, and someone else could intercept the call and pretend to be Police and sending help. Very useful when their own people are breaking into your home to cause you harm. The reverse is also possible, a call could come in from someone you know but be someone pretending to be calling from that number for some strategic value.
5) The original design did not anticipate the introduction of cameras into the system, but it is widely believed that it has been modified and may therefore allow the camera of the phone to be remotely activated with no means of detection. This has (since the original post) been verified as easy to achieve on all phones other than iPhones, and even iPhones are susceptible to more sophisticated conversions for the purpose.
There is no way to detect these spoofs at the time unless there is a flaw in their verbal dialog which triggers your suspicion and you are able to quickly devise a test question. This function generally relies upon black boxes, again, but are of hobby grade. I’ve received such a call as part of a break-in incident, the proof of it in the after-the-fact means of detecting the spoof, which is that such calls do not show up on the phone bill. That also means, of course, you have no proof for any legal recourse.
d) A more exotic use of the system as a dirty trick is that such systems can play tricks on you with respect to radio shows, where you are a guest speaker. These are often detectible as there will be a call to you just prior to (turns it on), and just after the show (turns it off) which entails an obnoxious squeal of digital codes which are similar to a Fax tone, yet clearly NOT a fax tone. I’ve been hit with this three times, and in each instance the effect was different, as was the tone set employed.
The first time was when I was one of the top three on-line civilian investigators (as media and government would prefer, ‘conspiracy theorist’) who was revealing new information never before known that served as proof of a missile bringing down Flight 800. I was guesting on Coast to Coast with George Noorey. The moment I announced I had this new information and began to speak of it, the show was sabotaged in the entire region of New York and Long Island where Flight 800 went down. It was a hot topic there moreso than elsewhere, because there were so many eye witnesses, not to mention investigators which we would presume government would prefer did not hear something that might redirect their investigation. The sabotage was truly clever; listeners in that area stopped hearing Art Bell’s show, and instead got an old recorded Art Linkletter show, ‘Kids Say the Darndest Things’, as confirmed to me by listeners afterward. As soon as the topic changed back off of Flight 800, the got Art Bell again.
On another show hosted by the late Michael Corbin, the effect was different. Callers were complaining that they could hear the host, but not me. The Engineer confirmed everything was correct, and the prior guest had been heard just fine with no changes in the set up, as was true of the next guest. More interestingly, my voice also did not record and so the show could not be offered on-line via download. An effective censorship. A similar third instance rendered the entire audio dead to listeners. The digital system is very powerful, it seems, especially when other digital equipment such as found at radio stations, is involved.
Threat Two: tracking you by cell phone
Your cell phone is constantly saying to the phone network, more or less, ‘Here I am, anything for me?’ Each cell phone tower nearby relays it to the phone company to find out. If anyone wanted to know your location, all they need do is figure out which tower(s) have your signal. This is supposed to require a warrant, or permission of the phone account owner (i.e., a parent trying to find a child), depending on company policy and service features (some do not allow owner access). But as the ACLU informs us, they often freely give this information out to law enforcement without a warrant. You see TV show cops and the folks at NCIS get at it all the time, as media is trying to train you to think it’s a good thing that should be allowed.
The above is true for all cell phones regardless of age or features, and provides an accuracy of varying usefulness dependant upon the number of towers and other factors. It can be as broad as a 4-6 mile radius, or as narrow as a few hundred feet when circumstances are right. The new GPS equipped phones will rat on you automatically to within about 50-200 feet in most cases. No way to detect any of this, of course, and a phone call does not need to be in progress. It merely needs to be turned on.
Threat Three: EEG functions
Cell phones are based on low wattage microwave signals in a relatively high frequency bands in the range of hundreds of Megaherz (millions of cycles per second) to several Gigaherz (billions). The human brain operates at ELF frequencies below 15 Herz (15 cyles). The difference does not deter those intending the need from using the phone in unique ways against their target.
A cell phone, like any other phone, can be used with voice-stress analysis to detect lies almost as usefully as if an EEG monitor were attached to the user’s head for the purpose. Anyone can buy the gear needed for a few hundred bucks, which lights up when you lie. They can be as small as and made to look like an ordinary deluxe ball-point pen, but are more commonly larger as size tends to relate to accuracy.
But a worst threat exists for Targeted Individuals (TI’s). These are persons who are commonly assaulted daily by a wide-range of Political Control Technology (PCT) in order to render them social, financial, and political zeros, usually by trying to make them seem delusional Schizophrenics. It is a form of mental, and in some cases, actual painful physical torture, as many forms of electronic weapons can be involved. The cell phone can easily become such a weapon.
In addition to all the other potential cell-phone abuses, which will be in constant use on the typical TI, they must worry about EEG manipulation. Signal processing methods used by the kinds of sophisticated agencies or firms (most commonly the intelligence community, military, and their corporat contractors) who employ PCT, can allow a cell phone’s signal to be embedded with a modulated signal in the same range as the brain’s own EEG.
When the phone is placed to the ear, it is close enough that the weak microwave signal with the embedded ELF signal, is still stronger than the normal EEG signal put out by the brain. When the brain is subjected to any signal simulating a given EEG signal that is stronger than its own, it adopts the external signal as its own. This is called ‘entrainment,’ and it is instantaneous.
This technology allows mood manipulation as well as manipulation of select physiological sensations such as feeling fatigued and in need of sleep, nausea, and headaches. Generally, such signals are mixed and alternate between extremes to emotionally and physically exhaust the victim, making them irritable and less than fully functional.
This threat is not normally detectible except by extremely expensive and sophisticated signal analysis by experts using costly special equipment. However, one very alert to how they feel before, during, and after use of a cell phone may detect or have a sense that this kind of abuse is being used against them. The threat also applies to cordless land-line phones, by the way.
Now, while the method is quite workable when the phone is at the ear, it can have a gradual, lessened effect if a few feet away. It is thought, by the way, that the use of an earpiece does not deter the method because the earpiece is also communicating with the phone at Gigaherz levels (Bluetooth).
Note: Another way Targeted Individuals are threatened by cell phones is Mob Flash. The victim’s picture and suggested things to do (called Street Theater) or say if they see them (usually described as a harmless joke associated with a birthday or similar) are sent to everyone in the same cell phone tower’s range. When you see people looking at a cell phone and then doing the same sort of thing, that evidences the practice. I suggest you have fun with them at their own expense and formulate an unexpected nonsense response. Booga booga!
Threat Four: the Software Mod threat
All of the above threats to one degree or another, including remotely activating its camera, can also come from yet another source; software mods to your phone. Even very old cell phones with seemingly no programability can be modded. It can be achieved by covert access to your phone, or by a phone call to the phone using a black box (which tend to show very odd phone numbers as the calling source), or even by a virus attached to a text message. Most phones do, after all, use Microsoft OS, which is quite prone to virus catching.
The obvious exception is iPhone, which wile not susceptible to such virus attacks, can still be modded by the other means. Regardless of the phone, unless a technician, you cannot detect the mod’s presence, and even technicians have doubtful capabilities. The only safe solution is to periodically have your carrier wipe your phone’s memory and download your approved apps and phone lists, etc., fresh.
For all but the Mod threat, above, simply deny them their signals, and limit the phone’s usefulness as a weapon against you. Most people use the phone for relatively infrequent inbound or outbound calls. Anyone who uses it more frequently should also read up on the threat of cancer, which is so significant, that I refuse to put one to my head, and use speaker phone, only, unless absolute privacy is required, in which case I defer the call to another time and place, if possible. Frankly, the cellular industry is headed toward that time when class action lawsuits threaten to bankrupt them, as happened in the Asbestos and Tobacco industries. It’s exactly that bad.
Therefore, the simple solution is to turn the phone off when not in use. Power it up once in a while to see if you missed a call, and call them back. Your threat of tracking is limited to quite narrow windows of opportunity and tells them at best where you are the time of the call, which does not tell them how you got there or where you will be going next. Some newer phones ignore the power switch for tracking purposes, and it is thought they also allow listen in even when turned off.
This feature is not documented so we can’t say a specific phone is or is not a threat, but you should presume it so if built after 2005, and instead of turning it off, remove the battery. One indicator it may be an issue is if the phone stays lit up briefly after full completion of the power down (where it normally would not), or briefly lights up for no reason at all when not in use (someone has polled the phone with some sort of signal).
There are some who say that phones after 2009 also ignore battery removal. I have no confirmation, but you can also avoid power off and battery removal, as well as this added potential worry by simply placing the phone in a foil wrapper, even if just an empty foil-lined potato chip bag. And, by the way, put your credit cards in there to prevent people from using black boxes to steal your credit by cloning your card’s smart card chip. I use a foil lined oversized phone case to keep everything, including cash, and do not even own a wallet.
Deterring a listen-in threat is a different matter. Obviously, if you are using the phone, it is at risk. If you have a reason to suspect listen-in, it is likely because of a specific topic of sensitivity. Simply arrange in advance with persons with whom you likely need to speak openly about such topics to employ a simple code in conversations. A simple key word or phrase might mean ‘watch what you say,’ and then additional keywords might be translated as key sensitive elements of conversation. For example, you might agree that a given person’s name will simply be ‘Mr. Smith’ when, in fact, its not.
But don’t forget that there are two kinds of things one can say over the phone: things which are true, and things which are not. Thus if you suspect or know your phone is being used against you, try to avoid letting on that you so believe. That will give you the luxury of providing deliberate disinformation to any listening in. I’ll leave the usefulness of that up to your imagination, and suggest only that the person on the phone with you should likely have a means of knowing when you are using the ploy. Again, a keyword or phrase might help.
Where defense against listen-in seems impractical, simply avoid talking in specifics altogether, or offer to call them back later when you can do so from a phone thought more secure, such as a pay phone. Of course, the problem there, is, that government may be looking for your voiceprint with NSA’s help, so that any call you make is listened into. But land lines and topics like that will have to wait for another post… or you could get my book.
Seriously – email me if you have these kinds of issue: proparanoidgroup at gmail com.
Next post in this series: In the Rearview Mirror: When You Think You’re Followed