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police purchase technology to track mobiles over local area


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Britain's largest police force is operating covert surveillance technology that can masquerade as a mobile phone network, transmitting a signal that allows authorities to shut off phones remotely, intercept communications and gather data about thousands of users in a targeted area.

 

The surveillance system has been procured by the Metropolitan police from Leeds-based company Datong plc, which counts the US Secret Service, the Ministry of Defence and regimes in the Middle East among its customers. Strictly classified under government protocol as "Listed X", it can emit a signal over an area of up to an estimated 10 sq km, forcing hundreds of mobile phones per minute to release their unique IMSI and IMEI identity codes, which can be used to track a person's movements in real time.

 

The disclosure has caused concern among lawyers and privacy groups that large numbers of innocent people could be unwittingly implicated in covert intelligence gathering. The Met has refused to confirm whether the system is used in public order situations, such as during large protests or demonstrations.

 

(...)

 

The company's systems, showcased at the DSEi arms fair in east London last month, allow authorities to intercept SMS messages and phone calls by secretly duping mobile phones within range into operating on a false network, where they can be subjected to "intelligent denial of service". This function is designed to cut off a phone used as a trigger for an explosive device.

 

A transceiver around the size of a suitcase can be placed in a vehicle or at another static location and operated remotely by officers wirelessly. Datong also offers clandestine portable transceivers with "covered antennae options available". Datong sells its products to nearly 40 countries around the world, including in Eastern Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. In 2009 it was refused an export licence to ship technology worth £0.8m to an unnamed Asia Pacific country, after the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills judged it could be used to commit human rights abuses.

 

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A spokesman said: "The MPS [Metropolitan police service] may employ surveillance technology as part of our continuing efforts to ensure the safety of Londoners and detect criminality. It can be a vital and highly effective investigative tool.

 

"Although we do not discuss specific technology or tactics, we can re-assure those who live and work in London that any activity we undertake is in compliance with legislation and codes of practice."

 

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Things to take away from the article. The London police have this technology now and there is nothing under the law to stop them from deploying it. In fact they've had the hardware since 2008.

 

Something like this would be a good way to find patsys to groom for fake terror plots and so forth. Just filter the phone traffic from the local mosque. Or in this latest case in Georgia, USA (Four militia members plotted to attack buildings, release poison), probably the local bar or shooting range.

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since all the mobile networks in the UK actually comply with police requests for information regarding text messages and phone conversations (when they actually supply warrants), this technology should be seen as an affront to the UK public and their privacy.

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Another company that annually attends ISS World is Italian surveillance developer Hacking Team. A small, 35-employee software house based in Milan, Hacking Team's technology – which costs more than £500,000 for a "medium-sized installation" – gives authorities the ability to break into computers or smartphones, allowing targeted systems to be remotely controlled. It can secretly enable the microphone on a targeted computer and even take clandestine snapshots using its webcam, sending the pictures and audio along with any other information – such as emails, passwords and documents – back to the authorities for inspection. The smartphone version of the software has the ability to track a person's movements via GPS as well as perform a function described as "remote audio spy", effectively turning the phone into a bug without its user's knowledge. The venture capital-backed company boasts that its technology can be used "country-wide" to monitor more than 100,000 targets simultaneously, and cannot be detected by anti-virus software.

 

 

 

pretty cool huh?

 

http://www.guardian....nce?INTCMP=SRCH

Edited by LUDD
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I'd like to know more about that second bit. Are they saying they can remotely install a trojan? Do they do this using an undiscovered exploit of the smartphones's OS? Did the OS developers leave the exploit specifically for this purpose? Could a rooted phone be used for counter espionage purposes?

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