T Nation

Cell-Locate: This Just Scary




Good tool for private investigators, law enforcement, and jealous wives.


Uh, yeah...and everyone else.

We have no privacy any longer if your fucking text messages can be read by other people without your knowledge and without your phone.


The encryption on cell phones has been cracked for awhile. Even voice calls can be intercepted.

The government has been doing it for a long time, organized crime is in on it, and I'm sure there is some high level business type espionage/trade secret/competition monitoring going on.

Not too long ago, someone released software that makes it easy, http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/072210-new-kraken-gsm-cracking-software-is.html?source=nww_rss .

There is also a device called the USRP made by these guys, http://www.ettus.com/ , that was bought by National Instruments. They are keeping it open source and staying away from a lot of the proprietary stuff NI has.

Basically, it is programmable receiver and if you hook up an antenna to it and have the technical knowledge to demodulate and decrypt that received signals, you can get access to anything.

There a bunch of geek hobbyists that do this stuff as a hobby and release to the public. Some of the enterprising ones will do work for the highest bidder, which is usually the government or a government contractor.

I don't think there has been any officially released software for the newer 3G and 4G networks though.


When I was still in the military we had units with cell tracking/locating capabilities. We would work with them to triangulate signals and track the cells of known terrorists. I dont really know how it works but then would set up their stuff... we'd wait around for a while and then they'd point us in the right direction lol.

As long as the cellphone has a battery in it then it can be tracked. Even if its off they could turn it on, send a text from it and then turn it back off all while its in someones pocket. Pretty bad ass actually. shoot out a quick "hey mr bad guy meet me at the pier. I've got something super sweet to tell you"...... Busted lol


This old dude doesn't text.

But yeah, I agree with you. Doesn't this violate some privacy laws?


Well, the rest of the free world under the age of 40 acts like texting is better than speaking to someone. I have people I haven't even talked to in months but write paragraphs to damn near daily.

Either way, things like this are why I was opposed to the Patriot Act.


clip related


I hate it. I'm in my early 20s so as you can imagine about 90% of the people I know text rather than call unless they really have to. Then we spend 20 minutes texting back and forth instead of just talking for five minutes.


I enjoyed the clip related.



So true.
I've had arguments with people over that fact, but somehow it gets twisted into me just being an old and out of touch techtard.


The solution is to get a non-smartphone. Your average creepy relative or dime a dollar detective won't be able to do anything to/with your phone in that case. Assuming the FBI or military gives a crap about you, they'll also be severely limited.

EDIT: This isn't to say that I in anyway condone this software, I think it's a load of BS and I'd break necks if I discovered it on my phone....


It probably depends on how the info is used. Then you've got the difference between the written and spoken word in the media. Even now they aren't treated the same: separate laws for the two are developing (freedom of speech is not the same as freedom of the written word in the eyes of the law).

Plus, an emerging technology is bound to exploit a loophole or five (see Bill Gates). If it gets to the point where jealous wives can hire a private dick to spy on her husband's texts, the time to worry is long past.

People can rant about whoever's in office, but in the end the person with the most votes is just the face of politics (the stuff that bubbles beneath is what I'm interested in). I'm not remotely political (one of my friends called me an anarchist -lol). At least, I don't go out of my way to talk about it.

But then I won't stare at someone's face when I know they are trying to kick me in the balls.


Almost any telcom guy can listen to anything from anyones conversation at damn near anytime, just need a little knowledge and some low level access. Every cell phone call eventually has to get on the network at some point and then it's a matter of a few simple pieces of equipment. "For testing purposes" I've listened to all kinds of conversations without anyone knowing I was there.
I also know that LEC's (local exchange carriers) AT&T, Verizon etc have a trunk connected to the government and access to their switches presumably to wire tap. There is a built in security feature in all switches that allows wire taps without real to real tape recorders or police presence.


What "privacy laws"?

The link in the OP is a service that requires software to be explicitly installed and a service activated on a target phone. It's not unreasonable that a parent would want control over a child's phone or an employer to track/monitor employees.

Is it wrong for an employer to track Internet usage in their office?

I don't disagree about the Patriot Act (which, as you certainly must know, was renewed with zeal by the current administration), but this service is not the same as the tools used by law enforcement, military, and counter-terrorism. This is open, designed, consumer grade software and services.


Texting is only useful for sending dirty text messages to your wife. Otherwise it's stupid.


Yeah, but unfortunately, if installing it is that easy, anyone with access to your phone when you're not around for five minutes can install it and follow you...from crazed girlfriends to nosy acquaintances.

Also, as far as The Patriot Act, being renewed by EVERY administration was to be expected. Big government is NOT simply about the guy holding office at that time. That is why every jackass who insisted "if you aren't doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about" may just be the dumbest people on the face of the planet next to the ones who respond to youtube videos.

But then, this is the country that voted for Bush TWICE so I may be expecting too much.


I hate texting also...but I have to admit it has become a cultural issue that doesn't seem to be going away. I do text some people just because I can write it and be done without any small talk.

I don't need to speak to someone to get the message across that: "I'm 5 minutes away", "I'm gonna be late by 10" or "I'm outside in the parking lot".

It has its uses...but people who seem to text more than speak to people piss me off.


I sleep well at night-- I've yet to vote for a "D" or "R" president. One in the same.


I did a smidgen of research on this:

[i]ECHELON was reportedly created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s, but since the end of the Cold War it is believed to search also for hints of terrorist plots, drug dealers' plans, and political and diplomatic intelligence.

The system has been reported in a number of public sources.Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.

In its report, the European Parliament states that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.

Intercepting written but encrypted communications, and extracting information, probably did not wait long after the development of writing. A simple encryption system, for example, is the Caesar cipher. Electronic interception appeared as early as 1900, during the Boer War. The Boers had captured some British radios, and, since the British were the only people transmitting at the time, no special interpretation of the signals was necessary.[/i]

[i]The United Kingdom â?? United States of America (UKUSA) Agreement is a multilateral agreement for cooperation in signals intelligence among the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It was first signed in March 1946 by the United Kingdom and the United States and later extended to encompass the three former British dominions .This was a secret treaty, allegedly so secret that it was kept secret from the Australian Prime Ministers until 1973.

The agreement established an alliance of five English-speaking countries for the purpose of sharing intelligence, especially signals intelligence. It formalized the intelligence sharing agreement in the Atlantic Charter, signed in 1941, before the entry of the U.S. into the conflict.[/i]

Cliff notes: Electronic interception systems have stalked electronic encryption systems like a spurned lover since the Boer War. The U.S, U.K., Canada. Australia and New Zealand have signed a treaty basically allowing each country to spy on themselves as long as the others know about it. In short, methods of intercepting e-messages have developed alongside actual e-messaging. It's no wonder that people can tag text messages so easily.

Echelon featured heavily in The Bourne Ultimatum. And people cat fight over political puppet shows when this is going on in the background...