Telephone tapping in the Eastern Bloc

KGB telephone tapping room in Vilnius KGB Museum, Lithuania

Telephone tapping in the countries of the Eastern Bloc was a widespread method of the mass surveillance of the population by the secret police.[citation needed]


In some countries, telephone tapping was an open and legal practice. During martial law in Poland, official censorship was introduced, including open phone tapping. In fact, the Polish secret police did not have resources to monitor all conversations, despite the introduction of the new censorship division.[1]

In Romania, telephone tapping was conducted by the General Directorate for Technical Operations of the Securitate. Created with Soviet assistance in 1954, the outfit monitored all voice and electronic communications inside and outside of Romania. They bugged telephones and intercepted all telegraphs and telex messages, as well as placing microphones in both public and private buildings.[citation needed]


The 1991 Polish comedy film Rozmowy kontrolowane (Monitored Conversations)[2] capitalizes on this fact. The title alludes to the pre-recorded phrase "Rozmowa kontrolowana" ("The talk is being monitored") a person repeatedly hears during a phone conversation.

The 2006 film The Lives of Others concerns a Stasi captain who is listening to the conversations of a suspected dissident writer in a bugged apartment with equipment including telephone-tapping.


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