Cell phone spying technology

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Cellphone surveillance

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  • Is My Mobile Device Under Surveillance? - Cybrary.

Rigmaiden could call Colmerauer from a jailhouse pay phone and ask him to run Google searches for him, and tell him the results by phone. Then Colmerauer would print those webpages, and put them in the mail to Rigmaiden, who in turn would have to make handwritten notes about which links to follow and mail that back to Colmerauer.

Smartphone Surveillance And Tracking Techniques

While StingRay is a trademark, stingray has since become so ubiquitous in law enforcement and national security circles as to also often act as the catch-all generic term—like Kleenex or Xerox. Stingrays are big boxes—roughly the size of a laser printer—like something out of a s-era switchboard, with all kinds of knobs and dials and readouts. Stingrays can easily be hidden inside a police surveillance van or another nearby location. As we move across a city, mobile networks seamlessly hand off our call from one tower to the next, usually providing an uninterrupted call. But in order for the system to work, the mobile phone provider needs to know where the phone actually is so that it can direct a signal to it.

It does so by sending a short message to the phone nearly constantly—in industry terminology this is known as a ping. If your phone cannot receive a ping, it cannot receive service. The bottom line is, if your phone can receive service, then the mobile provider and possibly the cops, too know where you are. Rigmaiden eventually pieced together the story of his capture. Police found him by tracking his Internet Protocol IP address online first, and then taking it to Verizon Wireless, the Internet service provider connected with the account.

Verizon provided records that showed that the AirCard associated with the IP address was transmitting through certain cell towers in certain parts of Santa Clara. Likely by using a stingray, the police found the exact block of apartments where Rigmaiden lived. This tracking technology is even more invasive than law enforcement presenting a court order for location data to a mobile phone provider, because rather than have the government provide a court order for a company to hand over data, the stingray simply eliminates the middleman.

It works with not only the U.

A price list shows that its StingRays, KingFish and related devices sell for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Like many other enforcement tools, the federal government has used grants to encourage local law enforcement to acquire stingrays in the name of fighting terrorism. So far, judges and courts are not in universal agreement over whether locating a person or device, as the stingray helps to do, should require a warrant.

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The pen register court order has lesser standards than a warrant: Rather than requiring that officers show probable cause, a pen register court order requires that law enforcement only needs relevance to an ongoing investigation. As rolled around, Rigmaiden decided that he needed allies. There were likely two major red flags that led to him being ignored—he was representing himself without the benefit of counsel, and believed that the government had used some secret surveillance tool against him.

They likely thought he was totally nuts—despite the fact that there was already some evidence that the police were using phones as tracking devices. None of the organizations ever responded. One of the people Rigmaiden sent his file to was Christopher Soghoian, a bearded and ambitious privacy researcher. At the time, Soghoian was a computer science doctoral student always looking for another way to push the envelope, as well as discover how surveillance was actually being conducted in the real world.

Years earlier, as a first-year doctoral student at Indiana University, Soghoian figured out by futzing around with Facebook which of his classmates likely moonlighted at local strip clubs.

Stingray phone tracker - Wikipedia

In short, Soghoian was the perfect match for Rigmaiden. Dear Mr. Sohoian[sic], Daniel Rigmaiden instructed me to e-mail you the attached Memorandum. This is in regard to cell phone tracking and locating. He thinks it may be of interest to you but you may have to read past the introduction before understanding why. If you want the exhibits please e-mail Dan Colmerauer at screenwriter2 earthlink. Dictated but not read. Soghoian tried to get other lawyers that he knew interested, but they saw the extensive pro se filings as a huge red flag.

Still, Soghoian asked Colmerauer to send what he had. This was also the first time that a major American media outlet had reported on the issue, and likely how many lawmakers first heard about the device that had already been in use for years. In short, Rigmaiden unveiled a new chapter in the story of sophisticated surveillance to the public—citizens, journalists, lawyers, judges—that law enforcement had already known for years, mostly without telling anyone. Its efforts definitively showed that government law enforcement agencies have not been completely upfront about using stingrays when they asked federal magistrate judges for permission to conduct electronic surveillance.

In fact, search warrants have generally not been used at all. Most police applications of this era seeking judicial authorization for a stingray did not even mention the name of the device, nor did they describe how it worked. Lye was new to the ACLU, having largely focused on labor and civil rights issues in her previous decade as an attorney.

How StingRay cellphone surveillance devices work

Quickly, Lye pushed the federal court in San Francisco to unseal the court orders that had authorized the initial use of the stingray against Rigmaiden, as it was unclear from the Arizona case where the prosecution against Rigmaiden was unfolding what the order specifically authorized the government to do.

What sort of court authorization was being obtained? How widespread was it? It was also just a very unlikely story. The agreement was signed on April 9, While the Rigmaiden case wound down, Soghoian who had joined the ACLU as its chief technologist and his colleagues were just getting started. Later that same month, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that passed both houses of the state legislature specifically requiring that law enforcement seek a warrant before using a stingray.

Before its passage, Soghoian even testified in support of the bill. Months later, California followed suit, with its comprehensive California Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which, among other things, also required a warrant for stingray use. But the most prominent change regarding stingrays came in September , when the DOJ said it would require a warrant in most situations in which a stingray is used. Marshals Service, among others.