Bounty hunters and stalkers are able to track you in realtime by lying to your phone company and pretending to be cops

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/06/i-promise-im-a-cop.html

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#2

I wonder if using a Google Voice number that forwards to your phone helps obfuscate any of this info?
That’s the only number I ever give out.

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#3

Huh, I thought the cops were pretending to be advertisers to get this information…

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#4

Intense!

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#5

Depends. If they have your “real” number they can track that. And IIRC you ping towers when receiving texts. (Or receiving them in the app via 3/4g data)

What I’ve been doing is keeping my phone in airplane mode if I’m not expecting a voice call and stick to WiFi (routed over a VPN).

Most of my friends use Signal and coworkers stick to email or hangouts so it works pretty well.

As a side effect I don’t use much mobile data and can get a cheaper cell phone plan.

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#6

Professional cop-impersonators for hire? Why are these criminals not in prison?

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#7

I think it’s time to crowdfund hiring a team of white hat hackers or Stooges to do the exact same thing to the entire board of directors of every major carrier in the United States.

This is egregious abuse and this is why people keep screaming their privacy is being violated because it egregiously openly is and nobody is doing anything about it.

A team of people constantly sourcing their locations for a week 24 hours a day and posting it publicly would probably make this bullshit end very quickly.

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#8

Old school staking needs a revival, all the tedious excessive leg work should be a sound deterrent.

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#9

I like the idea, but this team will likely end up being the only people in jail.

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#10

This reminds me of Kevin Mitnick’s memoir of his hacking career. Almost all of his access to information was gained through “social engineering,” calling up people on the phone and pretending to be someone of authority, or just a coworker in a different office that really needed some info. It was very eye-opening.

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#11

Also, I’m sure they’d find a solution that works for members of the board, but not for anyone else. Given what happens with credit reporting, they might decide to offer increased protection to consumers who pay protection money an annual subscription fee.

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#12

They’d just pocket the subscription money and sell the data anyway.
Win-win!

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#13

Your phone pings towers a lot more often than just when receiving texts or data. It needs to periodically check in with the network so that it can roam between cells (the network needs to know which tower to route incoming calls/texts to in order to reach your phone). In fact, IIRC, SMS is implemented by just tacking some extra data onto the pings your phone is constantly sending just to stay connected, which explains the tight character limits.

It’s unfortunately nearly impossible to design a network that can route incoming calls to you without that network inherently need to know your (approximate) location…

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#14

This will end only when it costs these companies more to sell the data than it makes by doing so.

Stalker located you using information wrongfully given out without due diligence? Multi-f-ing million lawsuit etc…

These corporations will not do something because it is the right thing to do any more than a mosquito will stop sucking blood because it’s not the greatest thing for the humans being drained.

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closed #15

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