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Feds Can Locate Cell Phones Without Telcos 199

Posted by kdawson
from the marco-polo-if-you-can dept.
schwit1 sends along an Ars Technica report covering the release of documents obtained under the FOIA suggesting that the Justice Department may have been evading privacy laws in their use of "triggerfish" technology. Triggerfish are cell-tower spoofing devices that induce cell phones to give up their location and other identifying information, without recourse to any cell carrier. "Courts in recent years have been raising the evidentiary bar law enforcement agents must meet in order to obtain historical cell phone records that reveal information about a target's location. But documents obtained by civil liberties groups under a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that 'triggerfish' technology can be used to pinpoint cell phones without involving cell phone providers at all. The Justice Department's electronic surveillance manual explicitly suggests that triggerfish may be used to avoid restrictions in statutes like CALEA that bar the use of pen register or trap-and-trace devices..." The article does mention that the Patriot Act contains language that should require a court order to deploy triggerfish, whereas prior to 2001 "the statutory language governing pen register or trap-and-trace orders did not appear to cover location tracking technology."
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Feds Can Locate Cell Phones Without Telcos

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  • by Joe Snipe (224958) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:34PM (#25794367) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, patriot act, rights violations, unecessary power, etc etc...

    Where can I get one?

    • Can I call the feds when I get lost and find out where I'm at?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I saw a poorly disguised cell tower in a shark suit just yesterday.

    I said it had to be a cop.

  • batteries ftw (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoFoQ (584566) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:41PM (#25794457)

    step 1, remove batteries.

    or get a potato chip (mylar) bag and stuff it inside. (who know that the movie "Enemy of the State" would be so handy).

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Zymergy (803632) *
      Removing batteries only protects from the active 'pinging' replies.

      The potato-chip bag only works if the mylar plastic's aluminum layer is sufficiently thick to act as an effective Farady Cage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage [wikipedia.org]
      Just as RFID tags do not require batteries to give disclose their location and unique identifiers, modern cell phones also have similar functionality batteries or not...
      • Re:batteries ftw (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anpheus (908711) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:52PM (#25794619)

        No, most cell phones have one and only one battery.

        And for low power EMF (cell phones) even very thin cages can be used, I wouldn't be surprised if most aluminum foil were more than sufficient.

        • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Monday November 17, 2008 @08:06PM (#25794847)

          I wouldn't be surprised if most aluminum foil were more than sufficient.

          And to think people laughed at me when I put a pocket in my tinfoil hat!

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by megamerican (1073936)

            And to think people laughed at me when I put a pocket in my tinfoil hat!

            Is that a tinfoil hat in your pocket, or are you just exercising your 4th amendment rights?

        • Grocery store aluminum foil would certainly suffice, but the foil on a chip bag might be too thin.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          It's not. Even multiple layers of aluminum foil will not block a cell phone signal. The best thing is to get a cell phone jammer, but those are often not readily available. Second is a faraday cage, but those are expensive and not really convenient. Third are EMF bags, which look like static shielding bags, but work slightly better, but realistically those don't work very well either.
          • by Anpheus (908711)

            One, have you actually tested this (I'm curious and would like to know) and two, cell phone jammer? As in, it would advertise your position to anyone scanning those frequencies?

            • Yes I have tested it.

              You are probably right, with the right tool it would probably be easy to find the location of the blocker, but for debugging purposes, nothing works better. Although I believe they are illegal.
          • by RockDoctor (15477)

            The best thing is to get a cell phone jammer, but those are often not readily available.

            Someone else has pointed out that by running a mobile phone jammer, you're effectively carrying around a beacon that shouts "Over here!" on the 2.4 (or whatever) GHz band.

            But I'm wondering if you're talking about the basic cellphone jammers, or the sophisticated ones. The basic ones simply blast out 2.4GHz white noise at high enough amplitude to be the loudest thing on that channel for [however far around]. These are ob

      • by mrmeval (662166)

        It won't do squat. Get an ESD nickel bag from uline.
        http://www.uline.com/BL_52/Static-Shielding-Bags-Reclosable [uline.com]

        Then test to see if I'm correct. Failing that wrap it in aluminum foil.
        http://www.missmab.com/Comics/Vol_321.php [missmab.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Facegarden (967477)

        Just as RFID tags do not require batteries to give disclose their location and unique identifiers, modern cell phones also have similar functionality batteries or not...

        Umm... no they don't? That's BS.
        -Taylor

      • Re:batteries ftw (Score:5, Informative)

        by Fastolfe (1470) on Monday November 17, 2008 @08:26PM (#25795097)

        Just as RFID tags do not require batteries to give disclose their location and unique identifiers, modern cell phones also have similar functionality batteries or not...

        Do elaborate, please. RFID does, in fact, require power. It's just that that power is provided by the reader when in proximity to the tag. Are you suggesting there are RFID tags embedded into "modern cell phones"? Or something else? If you're suggesting that cell towers have the ability to blanket a region with an electric field capable of getting all of the cell phones to respond (loudly enough) to a "ping" for their location, I'm afraid I'm going to have to call BS. So what is this "functionality" that you claim allows cell phones to be identified and located without a battery?

      • Re:batteries ftw (Score:5, Informative)

        by IorDMUX (870522) <mark.zimmerman3@gmail . c om> on Monday November 17, 2008 @08:41PM (#25795283) Homepage

        Just as RFID tags do not require batteries to give disclose their location and unique identifiers, modern cell phones also have similar functionality batteries or not...

        I am a cell phone designer, and a phone reporting *anything*, even just a handshake, to a tower thousands of meters away takes significant power.

        It is possible that the little coin cell battery in most phones could handle the receiving of a signal, and then wake the phone up and have it reply with the main battery, (though to the best of my knowledge we don't let phones do that [and yes, I design power systems]), but if the main battery isn't there, that's a no-go.

        Passive RFID is a completely different batch of apples than active cellular communications. Passive RFID has a maximum range of around 10 meters (phased array antennas notwithstanding, but seriously...). You would need a specially designed phone to use some sort of active RFID when the battery is removed, and we don't make those.

        Now, this isn't to say that I'm not pissed at the Feds for doing something like this--perhaps even more so than the average user. I can see how they are taking advantage of perfectly innocuous and functional code and systems designed by my co-workers to agreed standards, and then using those standards to make our customers lose their privacy.

        *sheesh*

        • Let me tack on;
          Illegally.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rtfa-troll (1340807)

          designed by my co-workers to agreed standards

          most of those standards were specifically weakened for "the Feds" requirements (basically that meant USA & France over the interests of Germany if I remember right). It's a) clear that it's not really the cell phone industry's fault since they wouldn't get approval otherwise b) clear that "everybody" in some sense knew about this otherwise the weakening wouldn't have been done.

          A very specific change made in the UMTS standard from GSM is to require that the phone verifies the network. Without that it's

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by The MAZZTer (911996)
        RFIDs also have a much shorter transmission range than cell phones, this is the price they pay for being powered by the RFID reader that reads them. I seriously doubt cell phones are capable of doing anything similar, and even if so, it would be limited to about the range of an RFID reader. If someone was using it to track your cell phone, you could turn around and ask them to please kindly go away.
    • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:49PM (#25794583)

      >step 1, remove batteries.*

      *Does not apply to iphone owners

    • Re:batteries ftw (Score:5, Informative)

      by zippthorne (748122) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:53PM (#25794641) Journal

      For your Faraday cage to be effective, it has to be very conductive. The higher the resistance, the worse it works.

      A thin layer of metallised Mylar is not going to attenuate the signal very much. Certainly not enough to prevent my receiving a call just now. I even tried sealing the end with aluminium tape (which, btw, is much better than duct tape for almost everything, especially ducts).

      If you want to make sure some piece of electronics isn't transmitting/in a position to be heard, there are only a few tools that are up to the task. If you're in a hurry: hammer. If you want to be sure: nuke from orbit.

      • by HTH NE1 (675604)

        For your Faraday cage to be effective, it has to be very conductive. The higher the resistance, the worse it works.

        Pringles can? Gotta love a dual-use cantenna.

    • by ockegheim (808089)

      So if it's got to the stage where someone cares about where I am, maybe abandoning the phone while it's still on is a better option.

      After all, a phone without batteries isn't much good for making calls.

  • by Bomarc (306716) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:43PM (#25794503) Homepage
    Can a program be written to notify if it's information is being 'given' out? Anyway, this is one more reason to NOT get one (cell phone). I was finally going to break down, and get one. With this report, it one more reason to just say no.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185)

      Anyway, this is one more reason to NOT get one (cell phone). I was finally going to break down, and get one. With this report, it one more reason to just say no.

      Well, if you're planning on the overthrow of Western Civilization or other misdemeanors, good idea.

      If you just want to talk to people, perhaps this isn't such a problem.

      • by pithen (912739) on Monday November 17, 2008 @08:04PM (#25794797)

        Sure, what is the problem with gradually eroding civil liberties and ever increasing surveillance of the populace. Why don't we just throw the Constitution right in the garbage while we're at it?

        All in all, its almost as much a problem as this "If you've got nothing to hide, what are you worried about?" attitude that we're seeing more and more.

        • I think that you missed the point. The point here was not that we should give up our rights and freedoms because of "if you have nothing to hide, then who cares" mentality, but that this guy should get get on the bandwagon and get a cell phone.
          • I think that you missed the point. [...] this guy should get get on the bandwagon and get a cell phone.

            And that would, in your parent's mind, equate to giving up his rights to privacy in practice due to underhanded governmental practices. How do you make yourself accept that? "I've got nothing to hide"?

    • by bhtooefr (649901) <<gro.rfeoothb> <ta> <rfeoothb>> on Monday November 17, 2008 @08:01PM (#25794757) Homepage Journal

      The thing is, you don't have control over the GSM/CDMA radio - it's controlled by a completely separate processor, and get access to the microphone, speakers, and a serial link to the main processor, so that the processor powering the phone's OS doesn't cause spurious radio transmissions.

      Some data goes back and forth, yes, but you probably won't be able to tell when it's doing this versus a legit cell tower connection...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Facegarden (967477)

      Can a program be written to notify if it's information is being 'given' out? Anyway, this is one more reason to NOT get one (cell phone). I was finally going to break down, and get one. With this report, it one more reason to just say no.

      What? No, this is a reason not to vote for people that don't understand basic civil rights. The cell phones are not the problem. Do you also not have any bank accounts, a car, any credit/bank cards, or any taxable income? Because if someone wants to track you, there are plenty of ways.

      You seriously don't own a cell phone? On purpose? I mean, i know some people can't afford them, but you're telling me that you can afford one (i'm assuming that part) but you choose not to buy one because... what? Because the

      • by janrinok (846318)

        You seriously don't own a cell phone? On purpose? I mean

        No, what on earth would I want a cell phone for? I have a landline telephone that gives me very cheap phone calls throughout N America, Europe and elsewhere. Such a deal is not offered by any cell phone that I know of. When I am traveling, I do not want work colleagues calling me up - I work at work and the rest of my time is my own. You might be surprised, but life can go on even without your favourite cell phone being in your pocket.

        • When I am traveling, I do not want work colleagues calling me up - I work at work and the rest of my time is my own.

          Ah, so no friends then? I don't know if you realize this but cell phones are excellent for, you know, interacting with friends. You seem to think they are work-only devices? If you have a cell and your work colleagues keep calling, you could always just, um, *ask* them to stop. I keep my phone on me so i can call a friend and stop by for dinner, or so that someone can reach me if they'd like to do something - without having to drive all the way home only to find out that my friend wanted to get dinner near

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PPH (736903)

      Who needs a program? Just set your GSM phone near an FM radio. Every time the damned thing checks in with the tower, the radio starts buzzing.

      There's an outfit that makes a little LED gadget that flashes whan your cell phone goes active, receiving a call, etc. These also flash a little when the phone contacts a tower.

      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Why not have a program ? It could log every tower, geo-locate and pin point their positions, then upload the details to a central server. Then everybody would know where every tower was. Those that weren't owned by a cell phone company would soon stand out.
  • If it goes through the air, it can be tracked and located. This includes, to some extent, information that originates on the wire, but is then sent into space.
  • this is news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DM9290 (797337) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:48PM (#25794551) Journal

    The sentence "Courts in recent years have been raising the evidentiary bar law enforcement agents must meet in order to obtain historical cell phone records that reveal information about a target's location. But documents obtained by civil liberties groups under a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that 'triggerfish' technology can be used to pinpoint cell phones without involving cell phone providers at all. " is weasily.

    How does triggerfish lower the evidentiary bar required to authorize law enforcement to use special sensing technology to search for a cell phone?

    • How does triggerfish lower the evidentiary bar required to authorize law enforcement to use special sensing technology to search for a cell phone?

      Because a using a triggerfish means they don't need to produce a warrant to a third party before executing the warrant. This leaves a big opportunity for a compliant judge to issue a predated warrant after the fact.

      It's not that I think telcos are going to act in the public service by refusing to comply with non-warrant requests... it's that there are now negati

      • but this is a mobile, non-documented technology, so the information gathered would be hearsay, not enough to be evidence and not enough for a real warrant. Nice to follow somebody around so they don't run away, but crap as proof if you're trying to gather evidence of a crime unless you can catch them in the act a little more quickly.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by number11 (129686)

          but this is a mobile, non-documented technology, so the information gathered would be hearsay, not enough to be evidence and not enough for a real warrant.

          You're kidding, right? All they need to get a warrant is to tell the judge that the request is "based on information and belief" or due to "a reliable informant". The judge is unlikely to ask hard questions, even less likely to go back and check afterward to see if what they were told was true, and unheard of for there to be any consequences (to the pol

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by digitalchinky (650880)

      The theory, in Australia at least, is this: (With some background info)

      I first heard about these kinds of devices in 1997. (From a tin foil hat kind of person) At the time they were said to be the size of a regular briefcase and were used largely in airports or places where interesting people might be seen nearby. The reason for their use was simply to ID a specific handset of interest, tie it to an individual, then do the actual grunt work via all the little black (beige really) boxes installed at various

      • see http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article3945496.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
        Shops track customers via mobile phone
        Signals given off by phones allow shopping centres to monitor how long people stay and which stores they visit.

        This is using the Path Intelligence mini cell box.

        Customers in shopping centres are having their every move tracked by a new type of surveillance that listens in on the whisperings of their mobile phones.

        The technology can tell when people enter a shopping centre, what stores they visit, how long they remain there, and what route they take as they walked around.
        The device cannot access personal details about a person's identity or contacts, but privacy campaigners expressed concern about potential intrusion should the data fall into the wrong hands.
        The surveillance mechanism works by monitoring the signals produced by mobile handsets and then locating the phone by triangulation - measuring the phone's distance from three receivers. It has already been installed in two shopping centres, including Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, and three more centres will begin using it next month, Times Online has learnt.
        The company that makes the dishes, which measure 30cm (12 inches) square and are placed on walls around the centre, said that they were useful to centres that wanted to learn more about the way their customers used the store.
        A shopping mall could, for example, find out that 10,000 people were still in the store at 6pm, helping to make a case for longer opening hours, or that a majority of customers who visited Gap also went to Next, which could useful for marketing purposes.
        In the case of Gunwharf Quays, managers were surprised to discover that an unusually high percentage of visitors were German - the receivers can tell in which country each phone is registered - which led to the management translating the instructions in the car park.
        The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) expressed cautious approval of the technology, which does not identify the owner of the phone but rather the handset's IMEI code - a unique number given to every device so that the network can recognise it.
        But an ICO spokesman said, "we would be very worried if this technology was used in connection with other systems that contain personal information, if the intention was to provide more detailed profiles about identifiable individuals and their shopping habits."
        Only the phone network can match a handset's IMEI number to the personal details of a customer.
        Path Intelligence, the Portsmouth-based company which developed the technology, said its equipment was just a tool for market research. "There's absolutely no way we can link the information we gather back to the individual," a spokeswoman said. "There's nothing personal in the data."
        Liberty, the campaign group, said that although the data do not meet the legal definition of 'personal information', it "had the potential" to identify particular individuals' shopping habits by referencing information held by the phone networks.
        The receivers together cost about £20,000 to rent per month. About 20 the units, which are unobtrusive, cream-coloured boxes about the size of a satellite dish, would be needed to cover the Bluewater shopping centre.
        Bluewater, in Kent, said it had no plans to deploy the equipment. A spokesman for Gunwharf Quays was not available for comment.
        Owners of large buildings currently have to rely on manual surveys to find out how customers use the space, which can be relevant to questions of design such as where the toilets should be located or which stores should be placed next to one another.
        Other types of wireless technology, such as wi-fi and Bluetooth, can be used to locate devices, but the regular phone network signal is preferable because it is much more powerful and fewer receivers are needed to monitor a given area.
        Phone networks have long been capable of gauging the rough location of a handset using three phone masts, but the margin error can be as great as 2km. The process is also less efficient when the phone is indoors. Path Intelligence's technology can tell where a phone is to "within a couple of metres."
        "You're basically going to know that that person has been in Starbucks," Toby Oliver, the company's chief technology officer, said.
        Even when the owner is not using it, a mobile phone makes contact with the network every couple of minutes, which is enough for the receivers to get a reading on its position.

    • suggest that 'triggerfish' technology can legally be used to

      There's a word missing. It doesn't lower the evidentiary bar, it's just a possible way to commit unconstitutional spying.

  • by darkmeridian (119044) <william@chuang.gmail@com> on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:54PM (#25794653) Homepage

    McNulty and Co. used "trigger fish" to collect info after the Barksdales moved to disposable cell phones. The devices would collect info without the use of pen registers and obviated the need for a lot of paperwork such as search warrants.

    But this is like going through the trash. It's clearly an end-run against privacy laws, but I don't see where the deviousness is. If you carry a cellphone around that emits radio waves, you probably don't have a great expectation of privacy if you leave it on all the time. And it's not like the triggerfish are recording the conversation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "If you carry a cellphone around that emits radio waves, you probably don't have a great expectation of privacy if you leave it on all the time. And it's not like the triggerfish are recording the conversation."

      Maybe I'm underestimating the average individual, but I'm not so sure that the "normal" person would see it that way.

      Anecdote: I'm taking a driver's ed course and the instructor was casually asking where everyone goes to school / does for a living. I told her that I'm in online advertising and she sa

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday November 17, 2008 @08:29PM (#25795133) Journal
      This isn't like going through the trash at all. Besides, where are your manners? This is Slashdot, and the decision to opt for a trash analogy instead of a car analogy is just plain rude.

      This is like you're driving down the highway, listening to tunes and shit, and some dude on the side of the highway is using x-ray vision, man, X-RAY VISION, to look at the driver's license in your wallet to see who you are...

      Except he's got a bunch of machines to do it for him, and get this -- with three machines, he can not only see who you are, but he can also see exactly *WHERE* you are, dude. He's all violating Heisenberger's Uncertainty Principle or something... and the worst part is, he can ALSO tell if you're alive or dead *before* he gets a warrant, so he's violating the fundamental laws of physics not once, but twice.

      Put that in your trashcan.

      Besides... The Wire? As a source of tech knowledge by a Slashdot reader? What is the world coming to?
      • Heisenberger?
        • by smoker2 (750216)

          Heisenberger?

          I'm not sure, but I think they have the best burger of all time ... or not, I haven't checked yet.
          I've heard it's a bit gamey, like rabbit, or some other small mammal.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by darkmeridian (119044)

        The show actually used the term "trigger fish" when referring to the devices. Apparently, they were sitting in a storage room somewhere, a part of a federal grant that none of the other police officers had the sophistication to use. The Baltimore PD wanted to borrow a trigger fish from the FBI when the FBI agent said, you have one! We gave it to you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      But this is like going through the trash. It's clearly an end-run against privacy laws, but I don't see where the deviousness is. If you carry a cellphone around that emits radio waves, you probably don't have a great expectation of privacy if you leave it on all the time.

      If it is illegal to receive broadcast signals like satellite television, then logically this sort of interception should be illegal too.

      And it's not like the triggerfish are recording the conversation.

      No, they are going one step further. Recording the conversation would be simply passive - in this case they are gaining unauthorized access to a computer (the one in the phone).

      A similar goose and gander comparison comes to mind - if it is illegal for joe blow to gain unauthorized access to a computer, then it should be illegal for the government to gain unauthorized acces

  • Patriot act (Score:5, Funny)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:54PM (#25794655) Journal
    The article must be in error. Bush passed the patriot act to allow this to happen without warrants, not to impose the need for warrants, right?
    • by riceboy50 (631755)
      It's a matter of the new definition of what is covered. By grouping this technique in with other surveillance techniques, the bar went from none to low.
  • by AdamTrace (255409) on Monday November 17, 2008 @07:56PM (#25794687)

    I wonder why they didn't use the Hawaiian name, "humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua'a"...

    *shrug*

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cailith1970 (1325195)
      Interestingly enough, that's the same interference sound that comes through my radio in the car when my phone rings... :)
  • Apparently, cell phones are designed to transmit everything they know: phone numbers, call logs, etc. Why are cell phones designed to be so insecure?

    Surely there are cell phones that are not so lame, unless the government is requiring anonymous access for snooping purposes.

    • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday November 17, 2008 @08:35PM (#25795195) Homepage

      > Why are cell phones designed to be so insecure?

      For the same reason bank accounts, Web sites, etc. are. Not more than one user in a million cares.

    • Billing and e911 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pavon (30274) on Monday November 17, 2008 @09:33PM (#25795813)

      As far as I know, phones don't transmit call logs. But the reason they transmit it's serial number and phone number and GSM IDs, is because they need to have a unique identifier to hand off call from one cell tower to another, and that ID must be traceable to an account in order to bill it properly. So you can't really opt out of this even if you controlled the hardware, although I suppose you might be able to filter the towers that the phone will talk to.

      The rest of the privacy invading features are intended to provided a more accurate triangulation for use with the e911 system. This could be evaded except it's against the law to manufacture/distribute a phone without e911 support.

      • they need to have a unique identifier to hand off call from one cell tower to another,

        that's true, but there is already a feature built into GSM networks which stops you from tracking with this. The actual number used to track you is a temporary local number (TMSI) and the IMSI isn't used in normal communications.

        there are definitely techniques which could protect against these attacks. You could encrypt everything between the phone and the local network and even encrypt all identity information even back to the home network.

  • by gd23ka (324741) on Monday November 17, 2008 @09:09PM (#25795569) Homepage

    http://www2.rohde-schwarz.com/en/products/radiomonitoring/product_categories/signal_intelligence/overview/ [rohde-schwarz.com]
    Click on the GC128 datasheet. They have a firmware for that device that turns it into an IMSI Catcher. There is
    also a portable suitcase version of the device.

    IMSI Catchers basically work by impersonating the cell tower of the network the subscriber is on, forcing his
    handset to it by protocol and higher signal strength and then (this is important) flipping whatever calls are
    made into non-encrypted mode. Some phones have a debug mode that will show you whether encryption is activated
    or not so if you're making a call and encryption is suddenly off - you know what to do at least I hope.

    Basically an IMSI catcher is a still a device that is used on the levels of industrial espionage or espionage
    by foreign services that don't have access to the normal national monitoring - which incidentally _all_ (cell)
    phone networks are hooked into. The claim US intelligence services are not plugged into their telcos and have to
    go outside for surveillance by using a device like this is what it is: Disinfo.

  • by PPH (736903)

    Maybe they can tell me where I left it.

    I eagerly await the application of this technology to my car keys.

  • whereas prior to 2001 "the statutory language governing pen register or trap-and-trace orders did not appear to cover location tracking technology.

    It shouldn't have to. What part of "surveillance of American citizens without judicial oversight is illegal" do they not understand?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jc42 (318812)

      What part of "surveillance of American citizens without judicial oversight is illegal" do they not understand?

      I'd guess that they probably do understand that, where by "they" we presumably mean the top guys in the current US administration. But in their own words, such laws are "quaint" and "irrelevant".

      To put it in some sort of perspective, such laws have historically only been relevant when the government actually wants to take you to court, since illegally collected evidence is usually not accepted by t

  • Unlike older generations of phones, 3G GSM standard requires base stations to authenticate themselves. Finally, a reason to go out and buy that iPhone.
    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      Ah, but there's a threshold on all those UMTS handsets in the US - All the UMTS providers already have a GSM network; the phones have a signal strength threshold that will switch them back to GSM.

      Throw that GSM radio and the software behind it in a van or thirty, drive around town until the thing pops up.

  • It violates rights assured you under the Patriot act....

    Also, doesn't/wouldn't this constitue spoofing or man in the middle? Isn't that unlawful access to a network? or put another way, if I did it would they worry the legality before throwing my A$$ away? It also makes me wonder if acting as a proxy with such a device would evade the wiretap/recording rules.....

    any illusion of security at the cost of, oh, wait, maybe not.....

  • IMSI-Catcher (Score:2, Informative)

    by guruz (645678)
    By the way, since ages there is also a technique/device called IMSI-Catcher. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMSI-catcher [wikipedia.org]

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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