Skip to comments.Can you hear me now? Feds admit FBI warrantless cellphone tracking ‘very common’
Posted on 03/29/2013 2:38:53 PM PDT by Nachum
FBI investigators for at least five years have routinely used a sophisticated cellphone tracking tool that can pinpoint callers locations and listen to their conversations all without getting a warrant for it, a federal court was told this week.
The use of the Stingray, as the tool is called, is a very common practice by federal investigators, Justice Department attorneys told the U.S. District Court for Arizona Thursday, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Installed in an unmarked van, Stingray mimics a cellphone tower, so it can pinpoint the precise location of any mobile device in range and intercept conversations and data, said Linda Lye, staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California in a blog post about the case.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
The list, Ping
Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list
It is no longer necessary to physically attach a tap on a wire to listen in on cordless phones, or, in the instance of cell phones, there is no wire at all. There is a very weak radio signal that is supposed to be scrambled, then deciphered by the receiving instrument, but any technology that can scramble a signal is capable of reading and deciphering it, even if it is not the designated recipient.
It has never been illegal, in the strict sense, to listen in on radio transmissions, as it would be impossible to enforce the prevention of tuning into any frequency on the scale. Either all frequencies would have to be prohibited, or none could.
About 25 years ago, it was possible to tune into the conversations on a cordless phone on a UHF TV set, somewhere in the upper end of the range. Didn’t always know who the persons speaking were, but by a very slight retuning of the dial, several different conversations could be picked up.
Perhaps the technology has grown more sophisticated since then, but so has the capability to pick out a particular line of conversation.
Don’t all cell phones have a GPS in them and if you call 911 they know where you are?.
Cell phones are treated differently than land lines... also, the dems use this technique - it’s how they caught Newt’s conversation years ago.
So not only are they abusing the tap & trace order by gathering much more information, which should require a warrant, they are gathering information on everyone else within range of the fake cell towers, without a warrant.
Installed in an unmarked van, Stingray mimics a cellphone tower, so it can pinpoint the precise location of any mobile device in range and intercept conversations and data, said Linda Lye,
I’m curious how they do this from a single unit. You could use DF for azimuth but how do you get range?
Maybe GPS knowledge of the cell towers, the unit’s location and relative time marks from tower to the target might do the trick. Probably something like that.
A good geek could turn miscellaneous cellphone detritus into the functional equivalent of what is described.
If you know radio tech and can program ARM you are most of the way to being able to build such equipment.
Believe that there was a US Supreme Court case on this back in the 80’s when wireless phones could be picked up on any radio that could tune to the frequencies used. Basically stated that you have no expectation of privacy in that circumstance so all is good ... right? 1984 is a reality.
Warants are used to gather admissable evidence. If they are just tracking to learn, none needed.
A friend of mine was under “survelliance” in college because he was selling pot. The only warrant issued was when they wanted to bust him with the goods. The phones were tapped for months without a warrant.
That is incorrect.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act made it illegal to listen to cell phone conversations, and also made it illegal to sell radios (scanners) that could receive a particular band of frequencies that where used by cellphones at the time of the laws passing (the 80s or early 90s I think) .
Every electronic communication passes through the Government’s key word filter, not just cell phones.
Well if you’re not doing anything wrong you don’t have to worry..... thats how this goes right?
Cell phones have always used technology that uses the minimum power necessary to maintain communications. The closer to the tower, the power level would be lower and vice versa. They also use steerable array antenna technology that not only controls the beam horizontally but vertically as well. All of this was to enable the tower to steer just enough signal to a specific user so that the system could squeeze as many users as possible in a given area.
They could get direction and approximate distance information easily from just one spoofed tower just by analyzing the signal strenght. I would also guess they are just asking the “suspects” cell phone for it’s gps data.
No, but for those that do not, they can use tower triangulation to approximate your location.