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Government Can Locate Mobile Phones Without Carrier Cooperation

Article Comments  18  

Nov 17, 2008, 11:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Documents recently uncovered by the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation show that the federal government has the power to locate mobile phones without having to ask cellular network operators for help. Typically, the government needs to prove probable cause before it can access phone records to determine the location of suspects. Using "triggerfish" technology, the government can side-step that process. Triggerfish devices emulate cell phone towers and can trick a cell phone into broadcasting its serial number, phone number and other data that can be used to locate the mobile phone. The language in the documents unearthed by the ACLU and EFF specifically states that this technology can be used to circumvent the need for law enforcement to display probable cause to a judge before attempting to locate a suspect via their mobile phone.

Ars Technica »


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This forum is closed.


Nov 18, 2008, 3:14 AM

So no GPS then?

Ok, so from what I understood is that the government can track you down if you're in a cellphone coverage area using 'triggerfish' technology. Disabling GPS would do nothing to help you if you're on the run.. is that right?
Are you planning to be on the run or something? 🤣
yes, even if you have GPS turned off on your phone this should work. From the sound of it, the program mimics cell towers and it doesn't use the E911 technology or actual towers like they would need legal permission to do.
Ah, Triggerfish. I was wondering when that would come up around here.

Actually, if someone is using Triggerfish to find you, they're within a few miles of you already. It'll also work even if you're not on any cell network, since it's just a black ...

Nov 18, 2008, 4:32 AM

Federal Power

It appears this is independent of GPS being set to Location On or not. I do not think that there is anything that the F.B.I. cannot do. They probably laugh when they attempt to obtain a subpoena from the courts. It's all just part of the game. 911 was a boon for law enforcement. Anyone who questions why they want to keep tabs on ordinary citizens obviously is "unpatriotic" and planning to commit crimes and therefore is the first person they are going to target.
if I can tell them about the "terrorist" that stole my phone. That way they can go find my phone for me. 🙂
Get used to it, there's no such thing as freedom or privacy anymore.
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