Skip to comments.'Stingray' Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash
Posted on 09/22/2011 8:21:28 AM PDT by Palter
For more than a year, federal authorities pursued a man they called simply "the Hacker." Only after using a little known cellphone-tracking devicea stingraywere they able to zero in on a California home and make the arrest.
Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it's not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.
A stingray's role in nabbing the alleged "Hacker"Daniel David Rigmaidenis shaping up as a possible test of the legal standards for using these devices in investigations. The FBI says it obtains appropriate court approval to use the device.
Stingrays are one of several new technologies used by law enforcement to track people's locations, often without a search warrant. These techniques are driving a constitutional debate about whether the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but which was written before the digital age, is keeping pace with the times.
On Nov. 8, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether or not police need a warrant before secretly installing a GPS device on a suspect's car and tracking him for an extended period. In both the Senate and House, new bills would require a warrant before tracking a cellphone's location.
And on Thursday in U.S. District Court of Arizona, Judge David G. Campbell is set to hear a request by Mr. Rigmaiden, who is facing fraud charges, to have information about the government's secret techniques disclosed to him so he can use it in his defense.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
When left to its own, gov’t naturall transforms into an abusive entity.
Take the battery out when not in use.
Now just wait until this gets mainstreamed/hacked to the point where it's on the street.
Then life will sure be a b(tch for the rest of us.
You can’t erase the evidence of what you are doing, how it works, what it captured and then deliver the results for discovery.
You have to present the entire chain or it’s invalid.
Now, I’ll go read the article.
Cell phone triangulation during calls.
Cell phone triangulation when not on active call.
All can be used to track you.
Now.... are our politicians/lawmakers concerned about the tracking of the average JOE ?
NO. What they are really worried about is whether THEY can be tracked when they go to Madam DeFarge’s House of Ill-Repute.
Or, it could be one of the best selling devices on the market.
I can't count the number of times my friends have LOST their cell phone, or had it stolen (even by supposed 'friends').
How nice to be able to quickly recover your lost phone.
You're being facetious, right? Cause if not, I'm going to nominate that for the Myopic Post of the New Millenium Award.
Just turning it off won’t work?
Ever try to take a battery out of an iPhone or Android or other modern smart phone? The covers don’t just slide off like older (>one year) phones.
Stingray actually works with the battery removed. A focused microwave beam powers the phone briefly and then Stingray does it's job.
You have to know where the phone is to focus a beam ...
Simple. Just beam a beam right near the suspect's hip.
have yet to see a droid with out a no tools way to remove the battery..
I find I have to do this with the company Blackberry I have. Often times, it will come back on for no apparent reason. I have to physically take out the battery to be sure that it’s off.
If you knew where the suspect was ... you would just arrest him, you wouldn’t bother to try to find him with his cell phone.
That makes utterly no sense.
All you need to do is locate the suspect, beam a beam near him, power up his phone, use the Stingray software, and BOOM now you know where the suspect is!
See what I mean?
It may work like this:
Get general area (cell site, sector) from the cellular operator.
Then use this device which will decode the equipment serial number from the transmission that a cellphone periodically sends to the network. With the area narrowed down, you can use Angle-of-Arrival methods to triangulate on the specific ESN broadcast as you drive down streets in the general area. House located, no GPS needed.
THey’ve been doing this for years. First time I heard it called stingray, but that’s the only news here.
You had me ... lol. I submit.
The Stingray works by getting the phone to report in to what it thinks is a cell tower. That's what phones do when they are on but in standby mode, but not when they are off. That's why you can walk off a plane in a strange city and suddenly receive a call. When you turned your phone on, it checked into the nearest tower, updating the carrier's database to show your phone now in the new city.
BTW, that standby activity is also why battery life depends on how far you are from the nearest tower. If you are far from a tower, the phone needs to transmit at higher power in order to check in, draining the battery more quickly. My phone's battery will last a week in standby if I can see a tower out the window, but only a day or two if I'm in a fringe or no-service area.
While that is wise, I would have preferred it if you had peed yourself, too. :)
That’s similar to how we detected submarines with a passive tail. if you know your speed and direction and get 1-2 detections you can estimate location very quickly through triangulation. A bit more difficult if the other target is moving, but a few more pings and you can estimate that as well. If all they are doing is listening for the ping then I would say this is public access information the phone is transmitting similar to talking in public. The part they would need to get a court order for would be the specific signal/transmission associated with that phone ID - similar to a wiretap.
Doubt it. You might be able to inject some energy into the phone's circuitry, but not in a manner that would cause its operating system to boot up and squawk. If you were close enough to do that, it's much more likely you'd simply destroy the phone, like an EMP or such.
There is a gadget known as the nonlinear junction detector. It is capable of detecting the presence of electronic devices nearby. It works by flooding the area with RF. It listens on harmonics of its transmit frequency. If there are nonlinear junctions nearby (semiconductor devices), they will receive the detector's energy and re-radiate some of it at multiples of the original frequency, thus betraying their presence.
Nonlinear junction detection is the basis of those bug sweepers you see used in movies. You basically explore the premises with the sweeper and investigate any nonlinear junctions found. The range is short, however. You have to be on top of a bug to find it.
When the US built a new embassy building in Moscow back in the seventies or eighties, the Soviets got to the concrete supplier and added thousands of little semiconductor diodes to the concrete mix. The result being that bug sweepers were useless in the new building, bugs being found everywhere!
If it really matters to you ... I would do some serious research into this statement.
What govt. can do to him they can & will do to you . The FBI is not an organization of angels but of police with a attitude that they ARE the law not servants of the law.
Left unchecked this attitude leads to a police state in the name of protecting you from your self.
Whatever. They bagged a hacker. That’s all I care about. I don’t really give a crap if the government knows where my cell phone is located.
wait till they start using your phone to mail you tickets for speeding, bills for miles traveled....
First they came for the smokers.. but I don’t smoke...
Do you see a possible flaw in that argument? My cell phone doesn’t drive so it can’t get a speeding ticket. Anyway, why do they need my cell phone to do that? If they are that powerful, they can bill me anything they like and I have to pay it. see the IRS.
No I do not. Your cell phone travels with you does it not? GPS shows you traveling down the interstate. In a 60 MPH speed zone. but your going 90 MPH. Ticket is generated and mailed.
Much like the red light cameras.
It is not always with me. We are not inseparable.
How old are you and do you vote?
Ping for your interest on this issue.
But they can handle that like they handle photo radar tickets (which only prove your CAR was speeding). They assume that since it was your phone, it was with you. Then they give you a chance to rat out whomever had your phone if it wasn't you, and there's not much you can do about it, especially since it's only a "civil" matter and not criminal. The real flaw I see in the idea is proving who was driving. If there are four people in a car and they each have a couple smartphone/tablets, etc., only the driver is liable. How are they going to figure out who to send the ticket to, and what prevents multiple tickets from being issued to multiple devices even if they all belong to the guilty party?
I leave my phone at home quite a bit or leave it in my car. I really don’t care if the government knows where my phone is located. It’s the very nature of the system. The cell towers have to be able to figure out where you are located.
Ah, so selective adherence to the constitution is fine and dandy. Good to know where you stand.
For the case where you don't know who the guy is, only that he's the user of Phone X, then establishing that Person A was at the physical location of Phone X, and that no other persons were there, can be valuable circumstantial evidence.
This is not new technology. In the book “Killing Pablo”, about hunting down Pablo Escobar in 1993, the author relates how they tracked Pablo by his cell phone.