There is top-level cooperation between the cable companies and the government as part of a giant surveillance and information-gathering network. The new range of cable boxes that all cable systems currently use are employed as a 'junction decoder'. All of these new junction boxes contain a tiny microphone inside, with a black and white fisheye camera behind the clear plastic on the front.The cable has return channels included into its specification for sending these signals back to the carrier. It is possible for the cable companies to tune in to any house with cable installed and listen in and see what is happening at any particular time. It has already been used on a limited basis in the US for detection of drug dealings and talk of tax evasion, without the user's knowledge, and also as a way for the government to "monitor and track its society's real movements and thoughts". Periodically the cable companies will give away a 'free' connection in a competition scam to the people that they want to target for monitoring. The second piece of the puzzle is something that many have suspected and some have been killed for discovering. I have a friend who has been in the telephone and cable business his entire adult life. During a recent conversation about orgonite and disabling the *mind control function of cell towers*, he said in a low voice that it was true that if you have cable TV or cable internet, the cable company knows everything that goes on in your house. Remember President Bush mandating that all TV go digital, shortly after taking office? The FCC has designated Feb 17, 2009 as the new date for all TV broadcasts to permanently switch to a digital signal. I had never seen my friend be so serious in all the years that I have known him. When he brought the subject up to his boss, he was told that "You don't know this"... and "For your own good, forget this conversation." Cable company's dirty little secret. By the way, my boss also said that he did not have cable in *his* house! An acquaintance who is involved with telecommunications told me that the snoops have the ability to listen in ("two-way interaction" is the way that he put it) through some kind of *Black Box* in our television sets, via the cable hookups we invited into our homes. He went on to say that a friend of his working through TV repair school was advised *NOT* to question the purpose of the "black box" in the television set that he was training on at the - time. Furthermore, he said that several former college roommates who specialize in telecommunications of various kinds WILL NOT allow the cable into their homes for just that reason. Obviously, we are way past George Orwell's wildest dreams as far as the snoop-tech goes, so my question is not so much "Can they?", but "How often Do they?" Is the black box already in my TV, do you suppose? Is it in your TV? Is your local cable network set up to carry reverse signals? If so, who is 'controlling' the plug at the other - end? First, I can confirm this as non-rumor, but as *FACT*. This has been the case for over a dozen years. The cable-ready set has had this ability ever since the term "cable-ready" came into being. I worked on a joint project between the power company, the phone company (Southwestern Bell) and the cable TV company, over eleven years ago. We discussed the "security options" that were available at that time. (This subject had nothing to do with the joint project, but was just something that we tossed around for the six months that we worked together. I made sure that the conversation came up from time to time).The electric company has a small unit that would fit into a standard two-plug wall box that was basically an FM transmitter. This sent a signal out over the power lines that could be picked up anywhere that another power line went. In fact, it was one of the "renegades" in that effort who joined with Radio Shack and started what we now call "nursery monitors". You know those things that you plug into your power line that send a signal to "any other power plug in the house." Well, it is also sending that signal to EVERY OTHER power plug on the ENTIRE SYSTEM! They also had a small fish-eye lens that replaced the middle screw in the plug, which could send out a visual signal, but because of its size and poor quality of the FM signal, it was limited to motion detection. These options were currently in use in some companies in the US and were marketed as a security feature in certain countries, mostly in Europe. It could not be sold in the US, because "if everyone knew the potential of this device, they would revolt." (this comment came from the power company man, showing me that they were already aware of this attitude, yet were still keeping the possibility). They (the power companies' main holding company) were, at that time, working on a small computer-like interface that went into your electric meter, that would allow them to monitor power usage AND CHANGE POWER CONSUMPTION from a central location. This was needed in order to allow certain places to be unaffected by "brownouts", we were told. The power companies could reduce the amount of electricity that private homes used in order to keep "higher priority" places at full power. Now, for the cable company. This was frightening to us, even at the time. The cable company person would not speak to us openly about ANYTHING that he was going to disclose to us, but eventually he SHOWED US HOW SOME OF IT WORKED! We didn't see all of what he told us about, but it was enough to believe what he was saying. All cable-ready TVs have at least two components that are NOT needed for the television to function properly. The first one is an electronic eye - which you are told is to help 'adjust the brightness'. The second one is the 'cable-ready' unit ... also known by its more familiar name as the "black box". What you need to understand is that it isn't necessary to have your television "ready" to accept the cable signal. My circa-1979-non-cable-ready unit has no problem with cable reception (when we had it). All you need is the connector that the cable wire plugs into and you screw onto the back of the television unit. Scary Points To Consider: 1. The electronic eye is a "two-way" unit that is sending back a fairly high-quality picture of what is going on in the room where your TV is located. The person telling us about this had actually seen some images from it, and described a level of clarity (remember, this was around 1983, so it is most likely much better by now) that was frightening. (his rather crude comment had something to do with him being able to count the pimples on your butt while you are doing the nasty on your couch). 2. The speaker is also "two-way". (this is one thing that we saw - or should I more accurately describe - *heard*). 3. Both are active, "even if the television is turned off"! Some of them can even remain powered on (with the set unplugged) from the signal power coming in from the coax cable itself. The ONLY way to protect yourself is to remove all cable television from your house. Physically remove the - connection to your house from outside and then remove the cable and other outside connections to your television. 4. The signal from these cable-ready units that is sent out from your cable-ready television goes out through the antenna connection, so that even if you disconnect your cable connection to the house, the (then ungrounded) wire IN the house is transmitting a signal that can be picked up from some distance away. (this is another thing that we saw -- we actually went down the alley listening in on conversations going on in the houses we were passing) I don't know if the visual signal is also being transmitted, but I KNOW that the audio signal was going out bright and clear! There are places in Europe where these services were (and still are) being offered on a commercial basis. The cable person made comments about an agreement when the power-company person talked about people not accepting these things in the US, but said that nobody there had discussed those issues that openly. Part of what we were doing in the joint project was taking records from the three different organizations and verifying their accuracy (part of a requirement from the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC), which had a person accompany us from time to time). We spent six months riding around in company trucks, going from place to place, checking on the accuracy of the records for that place. Because of the requirements of the project, they used people who were "techies", instead of just installers, repairmen, etc. All of us were considered to be the experts in our fields. One week we would be in an electric company truck, one week in a cable company truck or car, and another week in my phone company car. The power company person showed us some of the FM transmitters at one of the companies while we were there, so I at least saw that piece of equipment. Now, the power company was not in the business of supplying the security for this company, they just had the listening devices installed that interfaces with someone else's unit on-site. The transmitters, he said, were turned down enough so that the signal didn't just go out over the entire electrical net. The cable company guy took us into one of the local cable company central sites, and programmed in some of the additional options (something that at the time he said not even the PUC knew about remember they were still not even talking about this much within their own ranks) for both the central unit and the cable-ready television that was in the break room there. Almost at once, we started to hear noises coming from the built-in speaker on the control unit that he was working on. Since nobody was in the break room at the time, he went in and started talking to us in a whisper. We couldn't hear everything he said, bue we heard enough to know that it was really working. He made sure that he disabled everything and removed all of the options from the menus, etc, that he had added. Getting back to listening in on the conversations in the houses. We were in the cable company truck while he was talking about this option. He pointed out some of the various units and repeaters (something that takes a signal and boosts it so that it can travel further) when he commented on the ungrounded cable becoming a radio antenna. I could see how that could work, but the power company person wanted something more than talk. So we went behind a rather large apartment complex. The cable person called in for a listing of registered users and services. These were compared with what was actually in use (at the central connection for the building), with the unauthorized services being disconnected (quite a lot of them, I might add). The cable person then went to the back of the truck and took out a pole that exteneded quite a ways (perhaps fifteen feet) with a dense antenna at the end. This got plugged into a box with a speaker. There was a lot of static and noise and stuff most of the time that the pole was being passed across the various connections, but every once in a while, there came through a very clear signal. Noises that were clearly from various parts of the apartment were being heard a baby crying that sounded fairly far away, like from another room, etc. We were then told that if the units were truly programmed properly, like was done at the central office, then each signal "might" be heard a little better. Also, that if the unit was programmed properly, that there was some sort of way that they would be (in future tense) able to put them on separate frequencies, but at that time, it was not possible. This future time was awaiting the advent of fiber-optic cabling (then still mostly a theory). This person, knowing that we were both as technically knowledgeable as he/she was, WOULD NOT give out more details than that (notice that I have been trying to keep my descriptions as generic as possible), so I don't know anything more. I did try to contact a cable company in one of the towns in Germany that I had lived in, to see if they were aware of these things and could give me more details, but was never able to really make them understand what I was wanting (I don't speak German well enough, and they either did not understand English enough, or faked that they did not understand what I wanted). That's all that I can provide for now. I've called around here, and none of the cable people will give me an answer, and no matter who I call (service, cust reps, etc), I am transferred to some glibb, slick-tonged, public relations type, who tells me that I'm not even in the same solar system as reality. Not even when I tried to fake it by saying that I was living here on a temp visa, and wanted the same security features that I had in Ramstein ... I can confirm a similar practice within satellite communications products. I have not been involved with this for several years, but I used to work for a company (which no longer exists) that pioneered the development of commercial use of mobile hand-held 2-way satcom transceivers. At the time, the hand-held models were in prototype form only and (at least during the company's "official" existence) were never completed. The system prior to the hand-held devices were somewhat larger devices which were typically used on big rig trucks for tracking, as well as 2-way communications between the driver and company headquarters (HQ).I worked for about three years within the heart of this entire system. As it was all a big prototype, it was quite open (internally). I was involved to the link-level of this experimental protocol and discovered that the manufacturer of one of the transceivers we used had built-in "master" codes that could be used to activate or deactivate any function of the transceiver from the manufacturers HQ, since of course, not only the customer, but also the manufacturers themselves had full access within our system, "for diagnostic and testing purposes". The bottom line is the transceiver manufacturer had absolute control of all of these devices at any time that they wanted to use it (of course, so did I, but I digress). Some of these devices were being used as unmanned communications devices monitoring and controlling offshore oil rigs, refrigeration units on trucks , etc. In one experiment that I was part of, we even used these devices to download and execute new software for various computing devices that were connected at the other end. Meaning computers that controlled whatever, in an unmanned remote location (wherever) could be reprogrammed and executed via this satcom transceiver. This was *1991*!! I'm sure if "they" wanted to fully develop all of these capabilities, it would certainly most likely have been accomplished by now. The transceiver manufacturer in this case was a Japanese company. The stated intended use of this technology was "to vastly improve air traffic control" (too much 'control', if you ask me). When I presented the complete proof of this capability within the protocol and demonstrated it, I was simply told "who cares"? Just another example of what goes on behind and within the scenes. I have been intentionally vague about certain details for privacy as well as safety concerns.