Boondoggles: Hackensack on the Line

Hackensack on the Line

Police Detective Steve Moger was the first to notice that something strange was going on in Hackensack, N.J. Starting in February, hundreds of people were lining up at pay-phone booths all over town, chatting for hours at a time. A two-week investigation by local police and New Jersey Bell uncovered the cause of that loquaciousness: a computer glitch that allowed 400 pay phones in the Hackensack area to be used for worldwide conversations without costing the caller a cent. After bugging selected phones, the authorities realized that almost half the international calls placed in an eight-week period bypassed the operator and...

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