Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Big brother time?

I've been out all morning giving evidence at an Industrial  hearing. That seems to be the reason for the blog bits being sent  that I blogged about yesterday, though they were never actually referred to in my hearing. Who said what to whom is not important and neither is the reason for the hearing or its outcome. What is extraordinary is that someone who had rung me up a little while ago was able to recount a private conversation I had had with my husband after the call.
The chairman of the meeting found this strange thing when he was going through a log of various calls.
The first one was of 5 minutes the second was for one minute. There was one unanswered call and then another one of 17 minutes.
I could not account for the last one at all.
The person in the room who had made the calls told everyone present quite happily that after ringing and getting no answer she had listened to what was being said in the room!  How is this possible?
She really had heard  because she was able to tell me what was said...fortunately nothing untoward!  But I had had no idea that this was possible until today....If you ring and the phone is not answered how can the caller hear what is said in the room.....for 17 minutes!
Is this the start of the ever intrusive society getting out of hand? Are we all under some sort of supervision?  Who knew?


  1. To be honest, Jean, it isn't possible. So there are a couple of possibilities. 1. The conversation didn't take place after the unanswered call, but after one of the others, when you inadvertantly left the receiver on and she was able to listen. 2. A sort of mind trick, as practised by magicians, whereby she has guessed what you are likely to have said and then persuaded you that she somehow knew already. 3. That she has wind of the conversation by some other route. This is not as difficult as it sounds, either of you might have unwittingly referred to it in a different context. Then if she is already snooping on you, she would hear about the remark and associate it with her phone call.

    Sorry to hear this, not a nice situation to be involved in.

  2. Jean, I am sorry that you have had to confront what seems on the face of it an unlikely situation.

    Charlies seems to have sized up the issues quite nicely, I cannot see how someone could have overheard a conversation and recalled it verbatim unless they had some access to knowledge either through a telephone which was not properly seated or inadvertently left on.

    And I don't think that they are psychic.

  3. Steve Day (@therevsteve)27 April 2011 at 10:48

    Charlie, I'm not so sure it's impossible. In a previous life I worked for a well known telecommunications equipment company on a product which connected home phones to exchanges. Depending on the exact design of the home phone, and with the appropriate control messages, opening a circuit would be possible. The messages could be generated by either a hardware or a software fault - there's so much of both involved !
    This doesn't rule out the other options, but would square more easily with the 'unknown' 17 minute call.

  4. Well thanks very much for all of this. We have experimented tonight with our various phone,,,three altogether on the land line. The B and O ones are I think suspect...but the main thing seems to be that once you have rung a number unless you yourself cancel it it remains in place.
    Thank you for all your comments....they have definately helped!