Lauren Weinstein writes to point us to his essay on the realities of using an idle cell phone as a bug, as a recent story indicated the FBI may have done in a Mafia case. From the essay: "There is no magic in cell phones. From a transmitting standpoint, they are either on or off... It is also true that some phones can be remotely programmed by the carrier to mask or otherwise change their display and other behaviors in ways that could be used to fool the unwary user. However, this level of remote programmability is another feature that is not universal... But remember — no magic! When cell phones are transmitting — even as bugs — certain things are going to happen every time that the alert phone user can often notice."