The Surveillance Telephone
According to SHOMER-TEC, "The Surveillance Telephone is a state-of-the art [sic] electronic device that allows you to conduct remote audio surveillance of an area via the telephone line." It's a cheapo touch-tone telephone that has an infinity transmitter built right in. Buy one for the bedroom before you move out and file for divorce. Give one as a gift to your girlfriend. SHOMER TEC promises that all you do dial the phone's number "from any phone in the world" and "you'll be able to listen in to all of the audio activity in that room." The phone rings normally on normal calls, the company says.

Just don't get caught: Remember, using these devices, or possessing them with the intent to use them unlawfully, is punishable by up to five years in the federal pen.

Think people aren't listening, because it's illegal? Think again. In 1991, during an internecine political battle between then-Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder and Sen. Charles S. Robb, the state's two most prominent Democrats, one of Robb's cronies intercepted a number of Wilder's cell-phone calls on a homemade receiver-tape system. Wilder freaked when the tapes leaked, and Robb's buddy Robert Wayne Dunnington ended up pleading guilty to a felony violation of the federal wiretap statute. Things have never been the same between Wilder and Robb.

If that's not enough, remember that Prince Charles, heir to the throne of the United Kingdom, was once taped expressing his longing to be a tampon. How would you like Mom to hear that?    </end>

Jack King is a Washington, D.C. criminal defense lawyer with a morbid fear of telephones.