What are the risks of communicating sensitive information using a land line? Once my voice gets digitized does the carrier use encryption during transport?

We have all heard about rogue cell towers (stingray boxes) which render all cell phone conversations easily intercepted, however this question only addresses traditional land lines.

1 Answer 1


POTS lines (Plain Old Telephone Service) are not encyrpted by the carrier.

While the signal can be intercepted by tapping into the physical line, as in some guy climbing up a telephone pole, the more modern method of intercepting land line conversations is by tapping into the line at the switch level, which requires access to the telephone carriers' facilities control systems.


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    These days there is frequently a cross-conn etc box for a neighborhood at ground level. The phone and Internet are supplied to a neighborhood via fiber and then converted to coper phone lines. But a large portion of the population now is no longer using POTS in favor or cell and VOIP via the cable companies (a POTS connector on the modem).
    – zaph
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 7:48
  • 1
    I do not know how many times I have seen such curbside cabinets with their double doors wide open exposing its innards Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 0:40

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