News crew discovers 40 cellphone-tracking devices operating around DC


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/20/the-future.html


#2

So if we turn off our phones in our cars, we preserve our privacy and reduce our chances of being in a collision. Sounds good to me.

full disclosure: I have a $10 cell phone that I keep for emergencies. No, not holier than thou, just technologically inept and financially challenged.

fuller disclosure: I’m probably also an idiot, because my cell phone service costs $15 a month.


#3

iSpy?


#4

Every military base has one or more of these.


#5

They estimate – without disclosing their rationale – that half of the devices they detected were part of law-enforcement operations, while the other half are presumably operating on behalf of criminals or foreign spies…

(reaches into ass)
(pulls out number)

Half of them!


#6

Law enforcement and there silly stingers.
Corporate lobbyists and there silly stingers.
Criminals and there silly stingers.

Kind of hard to tell them apart these days. Perhaps someone should do something against all the law breakers.
Nah, just keep pretending you have a right to privacy.


#7

Just to note: One of those red markers is smack in-between the DHS and the definitely-not-the-CIA radio towers.


#8

I spy with my little eye IMSI catcher someone who isn’t where they are supposed to be right now.


#9

You left out “Russian and Chinese spies and their silly stingers”.

People have no idea how at risk their privacy is. Just today I needed a 20 something to send me her personal data including SSN. I told her to use an encrypted PDF and tell me the password. She sent it as an attachment to an email, with the password in the body of the email!!! Cue the facepalm…


#10

FBNR News reported that half of the 40 super bogus 800W sites we found were law enforcement. India Rubber Turkish Delight Inc. has sent us correspondence that 71,281 of the 142,564 minus the US State Department’s grace number of 140,700 and DC’s 1,100 mixed non-law-enforcement sites were law- or non-law enforcement and we never saw that there chaotic neutral 23 here. FBNR regret our error. Turkish Delight. Now available in self-healing R58.

Yeah, and password in the -header- of the e-mail, please! BCC: order of valid 58-character e-mails at send.


#11

Nowadays, it is possible to emulate a gsm or lte tower with a 5$ dongle and feely available software:
https://osmocom.org/projects/osmo-fl2k/wiki/Osmo-fl2k

I would imagine that fake cellphone towers will soon become even more common.


#12

Just curious to know why any and all non-law enforcement stingers aren’t shut down and the operators arrested.
Is this the wild west or something?


#13

If we turn off our phones in our cars, we lose our GPS and stereo. “Phone” doesn’t mean what it used to.


#14

The first time I saw a cell phone antenna set mounted on a mast in the back of a pickup truck was in 2001, in the parking lot of the Alexis Park hotel in Las Vegas.


#15

Interesting that none of the devices were found near NSA, Andrews AFB, Fort Belvoir or Quantico. Perhaps outside the scope of the investigation.


#16

I wondered about that. “<sarcasm>Yay!</sarcasm> There aren’t any in P.G. County!” I work at a Federal facility, but if that place and the activities therein wouldn’t be enough to attract one of these antennae, it’s also not too far from the NSA, and come to think of it even closer to the Secret Service’s shooting range, the BIMC and SCS.


#17

And all this rendered moot, by the fact that major telcos have been selling your location data; in realtime, commercially for some time now to anyone.

I guess the issue here is some of these stinger towers incercept calls themselves; not just the meta data.


#18

That would be the “Friends and Enemies” real-time tracking option.


#19

Yikes! I work very close to that one in Tyson’s corner. I’m guessing it’s near that building with the large black fence with guards who open carry and don’t smile.


#20

Since I don’t know how these devices determine that they are connecting to fake cell tower or not, my 2 cents could be nonsense but some cell companies supply what amounts to a mini base stations to customers who have crappy cell in their home or dead spots. I used one for couple years before moving. They basically look like cell bases to phone allowing you to cover dead spot, they then route the call over your wifi.

Anyhow, is it possible that many of the hits they are getting are devices like that, especially in built up areas where lots of tall buildings can cause issue.

As I said. no idea putting it out there.