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Systems That Can Secretly Track Where Cellphone Users Go Around the Globe 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the oh-watching-the-places-you'll-go dept.
cold fjord writes with this story about the proliferation of companies willing to sell tracking information and systems. Makers of surveillance systems are offering governments across the world the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cellphone, whether they are blocks away or on another continent. The technology works by exploiting an essential fact of all cellular networks: They must keep detailed, up-to-the-minute records on the locations of their customers to deliver calls and other services to them. Surveillance systems are secretly collecting these records to map people's travels over days, weeks or longer ... It is unclear which governments have acquired these tracking systems, but one industry official ... said that dozens of countries have bought or leased such technology in recent years. This rapid spread underscores how the burgeoning, multibillion-dollar surveillance industry makes advanced spying technology available worldwide. "Any tin-pot dictator with enough money to buy the system could spy on people anywhere in the world," said Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International.
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Systems That Can Secretly Track Where Cellphone Users Go Around the Globe

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  • by kamapuaa (555446) on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:44PM (#47748893) Homepage

    This is good technology, but not as good technology as that thing where people call the bad guy and have to stay on the phone with him for 20 seconds in order to trace the call. If I can offer one recommendation: they should work on making that like 19 seconds. Because 90% of the time the bad guy knows it takes 20 seconds, and has a stopwatch by the phone, and hangs up at like 19 seconds, just to toy with the good guy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:45PM (#47748895)
    I probably should not have loaned out my phone to that bearded gentleman carrying the AK-47 who was heading to the Sudan. I need to rethink that sort of generosity.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday August 25, 2014 @02:26PM (#47749867)

    Because 90% of the time the bad guy knows it takes 20 seconds, and has a stopwatch by the phone, and hangs up at like 19 seconds, just to toy with the good guy.

    Which is why, back in 2007, the NSA infiltrated stopwatch manufacturers and altered their timing mechanisms so they run slow - when a stopwatch says 19 seconds, in truth it's been a bit over 20 seconds. So now when the bad guy thinks he's outsmarted the beautiful police detective, she's had time to set up that GUI in Visual Basic and knows exactly where he is.

    Don't believe me? Just look at the number of world records that have fallen during the last few Olympic Games.

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