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UK Police Buy Covert Cellphone Surveillance System 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-a-better-net dept.
digitig writes "UK Metropolitan Police have purchased a 'covert surveillance technology that can masquerade as a mobile phone network, transmitting a signal that allows authorities to shut off phones remotely, intercept communications and gather data about thousands of users in a targeted area.' Other customers apparently include 'the U.S. Secret Service, the Ministry of Defence and regimes in the Middle East.'"
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UK Police Buy Covert Cellphone Surveillance System

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  • by tucuxi (1146347) on Monday October 31, 2011 @04:55AM (#37892704)

    This seems like a law-enforcement version of the WASP drone featured at last summer's Black Hat / Defcon [slashdot.org]

    The big question is, since the technology has been available for a while, and is obviously useful for its stated purpose, that of oversight. Privacy-invading technologies will always exist, will always be useful for law-enforcement, and are due to increase the more we mesh our lives with technology. How will authorities deal with data filtering, retention, probable cause, and the opportunity for discovering wrongdoers vs. the invasion of people's privacy? That is the big question.

    A somewhat-rosy scenario is detailed in Charlie Stross' [wikipedia.org] Halting State series. The ugly scenario looks like 1984. Which one we choose depends on an educated public steering their politicians, instead of letting their politicians be steered by ??? and profit.

  • Re:Question: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2011 @05:51AM (#37892926)

    But as a communication device it's worthless. No phone network, no wifi.

    No. "Flight Mode" is just a shortcut which can be used instead of manually disabling cell communication, cell data, GPS, and wifi. You can shut down everything except wifi capability, for example.
    From what I read in the article this system generates a signal which spoofs the cell tower networks, and asks the devices to respond with unique phone info, etc. So as long as you have just the cellular portion of your phone shut down, it won't release anything but still remain useful via wifi.

    Assuming Android here, I'm not sure if iPhone or Windows phones have the same capability or not.

  • so who are Datong ? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2011 @07:23AM (#37893328)

    Paul Lever
            Mr. Paul R.S. Lever serves as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Datong plc., since September 2005. He also acts as Chairman in a number of other organisations. He was formerly the Chairman of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (âoeNCISâ) and the National Crime Squad (âoeNCSâ), non-executive Chairman of BSM Group plc and Oxford Aviation Holdings Ltd and Chief Executive of Tube Investments â" small appliance operations, Crown Paints, Crown Berger and Lionheart plc. His early career included time in both the regular Army and in the Territorial Army, where he served in Defence Intelligence.
    Brian Smith
            Mr. Brian Mcqueen Smith serves as Interim Chief Executive Officer, Non-Executive Director of Datong Plc. He joined the company in November1998 as Sales Director, became Chief Executive in July 2000, became Deputy Chairman in July 2009 and was appointed as a Non-executive Director in June 2010. He previously spent 30 years with AGEMA Infrared Systems AB, the Swedish manufacturer of Forward Looking Infra-Red equipment, of which 15 years were spent as the Managing Director of their UK operations.
    Stephen Ayres
            Mr. Stephen Ayres serves as Executive Director - Finance, Company Secretary, Director of Datong Plc. He serves as Finance Director and Company Secretary in October 2006. Previously he held positions as Managing Director for the UK division of the international healthcare group Attendo AB and a number of senior financial and corporate finance roles within Rolls Royce plc. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1993.
    John Kirtland
            Mr. John Philip Kirtland is the Group Sales Director, Director of Datong PLC. He joined joined Datong as Group Sales Director in January 2010 from Quadrant Security Group, the security systems integrator and has a experience in sales and marketing leadership as well as relevant industry experience. His Previous directorships within the past five years include: Security Design Associates (1979) Ltd, SDA Protec (2001) Ltd, SDA Protec Ltd, Protec PLC.
    Grant Ashley
            Mr. Grant Ashley is the Non-Executive Director of Datong Plc in June 2006. He is the Vice President of Global Security and Crisis Management at Merck & Co Inc. He previously held a variety of roles within the United Stated Federal Bureau of Investigation (âoeFBIâ) culminating in his appointment in May 2004 as Executive Assistant Director for Law Enforcement Services until his retirement in January 2006. He is a qualified Certified Public Accountant and currently serves as a council member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
    Richard Brearley
            Mr. Richard Brearley serves as Non-Executive Director of Datong Plc., since September 2009. He is responsible for legal and compliance at Investec Bank. Prior to this he was responsible for the Listing Review project at the FSA and was a corporate partner at the law firm Nabarro LLP.

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    lets hope nobody tracks them down egh ?

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