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admin | Category: Reverse Lookup Free | 06.03.2015
Americans should have no reasonable expectation of privacy over the location data stored by their mobile phone.
Following a landmark Supreme Court ruling in January, it is now difficult for police to stick a GPS tracking device on a car without a warrant. In a case being heard at the in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals , the Justice Department is arguing that, because cell phone records showing location are held by telecom companies, they are "third-party records" that do not fall under the search and seizure protections enshrined by the Fourth Amendment.
A new report reveals local law enforcement have requested cellphone data more in 2011 than previous years. Cellphone carriers, responding to inquiries from a member of Congress, reported responding to as many as thousands of police requests daily for customers’ locations, text messages and call details, frequently without warrants.
The reports a€” the first comprehensive review of the extent of law enforcement requests in the U.S. At AT&T, a team of more than 100 workers handles the requests pouring in from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
The costs have become so large that carriers have started charging law enforcement for the records they turn over. The ACLU even created an interactive map to show if local law enforcement in your town could be tracking your cellphone location information.
Screen capture shows the states in blue where the ACLU has filed requests to learn whether local law enforcement have the capability to track cellphone location, how and why.
Federal law, which has yet to fully adapt to today’s high-tech, wireless society, has much to say about wiretaps and home searches but surprisingly little to say about cellphone records. Many states and local courts have been left to come up with their own requirements for when a warrant is required to track someone’s location, leading to an array of conflicting policies that create a headache for those tracking suspects of victims across state lines. Franken said he was troubled by magnitude of the requests revealed Monday in Markey’s reports, which were first reported by The New York Times.
Those seeking clarification for what is in or out of bounds looked hopefully in January to the U.S. Bipartisan bills to address the issue were introduced in the House and Senate a year ago but never moved out of committees.
Manufactured by Harris Corporation, a Melbourne, Florida-based multinational, Stingrays are designed to obtain mobile phone numbers of targeted individuals, usually subjects of criminal or intelligence probes, and then mimic the nearest cellular tower so that calls from the targeted device are routed through the Stingray instead. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based digital rights group, has warned for years that Stingrays are becoming increasingly pervasive tools utilized by law enforcement organizations from the Justice Department to local police forces to monitor a growing number of cell phones. VentureBeat recently reported on how Stingrays entered the public conversation last year, especially after it was discovered that mysterious interceptor cellular towers were grabbing phone calls across America. The towers were revealed to Popular Science last August by Les Goldsmith, CEO of ESD America, manufacturer of the super-secure $3,500 CryptoPhone 500. Just how “desperate” are Harris Corporation and law enforcement agencies around the nation to hide their use of Stingrays?
The US Marshals Service has even been caught instructing local police to lie about the use of Stingrays.
EFF reports that the Florida and Massachusetts Supreme Courts have ruled that warrants are necessary for real-time mobile device tracking, and nine states have passed laws requiring warrants for all real-time cell phone tracking.
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I hesitated to include this article since cell phone pinging has always been something of an urban legend among the private investigation and bail enforcement communities.
Do you remember when President Bush went to the Middle East on a surprise visit to the troops not too long ago? There are two ways a cellular network provider can locate a phone connected to their network, either through pinging or triangulation. The term is derived from SONAR and echolocation when a technician would send out a sound wave, or ping, and wait for its return to locate another object. With the older style analog cellular phones and digital mobile phones that are not GPS capable the cellular network provider can determine where the phone is to within a hundred feet or so using “triangulation” because at any one time, the phone is usually able to communicate with more than one of the aerial arrays provided by the phone network. Similar technology is used to track down lost aircraft and yachts through their radio beacons.

Not surprisingly, the phone network companies are shy about admitting they have this ability.
Some nefarious service providers have indicated that they have either developed sources within mobile telephone service providers to be able to get this information upon request or have access to the software interfaces to accomplish this on their own (or some variant thereof).
There you have it- the short course regarding the technical capability of locating cell phones and those who possess them either through pinging or triangulation. This really does nothing for the private investigator that does not have explicit access to the cellular phone in question though. So, many years ago, back when other investigators and bail enforcement agents whispered about these things, I went directly to the source and asked the toughest company to get anything from (Verizon) what I needed to give them to ping phones, and give me numbers called or calling on a marks phone. I did get that magic door to open, and did so in a way that covered everyones butts legally. Yes, Steven, please forward me pertinent info, I am in need of tracking a cell phone for similar reasons. Our company is bringing to market a combined offering that not only allows you to “ping” a defendant cell phone, as well as use voice authentication (known as voice bio-metrics) to insure the phone is with the correct person. Please contact me asap on your program to ping cell phones as i own a bonding company and need this service very bad. Steve, If you or others reading this know of a cost effective means to ping a phone I would appreciate an email. Please let me know on how to get a hold of the pinging software or the name of companies that charges for this service. I would like to know what software to use to ping cell phones or have the ability to use a geolocator service.
Much of it has been fueled by a congressional inquiry, which in July revealed that the major wireless carriers received more than 1.3 million requests for subscriber data from law enforcement in 2011 alone. Special legal teams operating round-the-clock have been set up to field requests, and some carriers hoping to recoup their costs have created detailed menus of what records can be provided a€” and for what price. More than 250,000 such requests came in last year a€” a more than two-fold increase over five years ago.
Ed Markey, D-Mass., said that under normal circumstances, only requests that came with a warrant attached were granted. The law is especially vague when it comes to GPS tracking, a relatively new issue triggered by the widespread adoption of smartphones that help users navigate from place to place.
Al Franken, D-Minn., asked the Justice Department how many requests for location information it had filed with cellphone carriers, and what legal standard applies when making such requests. Supreme Court, which took up the GPS issue when it ruled that law enforcement cannot attach GPS tracking devices to someone’s vehicle without a warrant. The Digital Due Process Coalition, an assortment of groups including cellphone carriers and civil liberties advocates, wants the Electronic Communications Privacy Act amended to deal with it. Glasses-Free 3-D TV Looks Nearer Sprint`s white HTC EVO 4G LTE HD voice-capable available in July 15. Goldsmith detailed how ESD America discovered that the towers were capable of intercepting phone calls and turning them over to carriers’ networks, which enables the government to snoop on calls or install spyware on mobile phones.
According to Techdirt, Harris requires police departments to sign non-disclosure agreements promising not to reference the devices, with the Justice Department instructing local governments and law enforcement agencies to keep details about Stingrays and their use secret. ArsTechnica reported last June that in one instance, the Marshals Service even physically intervened in an effort to thwart disclosure of information about the controversial technology. After it was revealed that judges in Tacoma, Washington unwittingly authorized Stingray use more than 170 times between 2009 and 2014 because of police non-disclosure, judges began requiring police to say when they plan to use IMSI catchers. Scott Harrell CommentsIs cell phone pinging really possible (and legal) for private investigators? So when I stumbled across this article again, I got to thinking: What’s possible NOW in terms of pinging a cell phone? However, I do know for certain that it is absolutely possible and that many fugitives and abducted children have been recovered through the use of cell phone pinging by various State and Federal law enforcement agencies.
New generation cell phones and mobile service providers are required by federal mandate, via the “E-911” program, to be or become GPS capable so that 911 operators will be able to determine the location of a caller who is making an emergency phone call.

The cell towers are typically 6 to 12 miles apart (less in cities) and a phone is usually within range of at least three of them. It’s not identical because most radio beacons use satellites and older cell phones use land-based aerial arrays but the principle is the same. The triangulation and pinging capability of mobile phone network companies varies according to the age of their equipment. I highly suspect that these “cell phone ping service providers” I see advertising from time to time are actually using a good ol’ fashioned pretext to obtain the location of a cell phone rather than using an actual ping. Again, I cannot speak to the commercial availability of such a service but like anything else in the investigative business; for now I believe that mobile-phone pinging is largely urban myth among private investigators, fugitive recovery investigators and skip tracers.
Scott Harrell is the managing principal of CompassPoint Investigations, a thriving private investigation agency based in Pensacola, Florida, as well as the digital marketing and competitive intelligence consultancy, Broadside Incorporated.
The trouble is, that it is software than needs to be installed on the phone it’s self. In August a 6th Circuit appeals court ruled that warrantless cell phone tracking was legal.
But it’s unlikely that the ongoing 5th Circuit appeals case will have much of an impact. They also prompted civil libertarians to decry the lack of legal clarity about when and how carriers should hand over information about their customers. T-Mobile said it had referred two inappropriate requests from law enforcement to the FBI, and rejected other requests where people had impersonated police officers.
Conservative New Law: Government Can Legally Track You Using Cell Phone LocationLike this article? Tacoma police must now also promise not to store data collected from individuals who are not under investigation. When a new digital cell phone is pinged, it determines its latitude and longitude via GPS and sends these coordinates back via the SMS system (the same system used to send text messages).
By comparing the signal strength and time lag for the phone’s carrier signal to reach at each tower, the network provider can triangulate the phone’s approximate position. I have had the luck of playing with phones that adhere to the open smartphone standard, and you are able to pull information from not only the cellular tower that you are paired with, but also surrounding towers. No matter what its outcome, the losing side is almost certain to appeal, as CNET’s Declan McCullagh has noted. Cricket has seen a steady increase every year since 2007, and although the company once had a 10-person team handling inquiries, it has now outsourced that task to a company called Neustar.
So I got a hold of an old radio buddy of mine, Sean Cole, and asked him to make some calls. This means that in instances where a fugitive or other missing person has a GPS enabled cell phone (and that the phone has power when being polled, or pinged) that the cell phone can be located within a reasonable geographic area- some say within several feet of the cell phone. But these days most companies can generate the information automatically, which makes it cheap enough to sell.
There are, in fact, several mobile navigation applications, similar to those available for phones with gps radios, that use a combination of signal strength’s and a remote database of tower coordinates to map a cellular phone to a rough longitude and latitude. Ultimately it is increasingly likely that the Supreme Court will sooner or later have to step in, as it did in the case of the GPS trackers, to make a final call. In his opinion, Brown asserts that by carrying a cell phone, someone is voluntarily giving up their Fourth Amendment right to due process. For example, police in Michigan tried to gather information about every cell phone within the proximity of a labor protest.And the breach of privacy could get worse soon. Congressional leaders are currently deciding on two laws that would let police freely bug private citizens.

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