big brother can track cell phones accurately en-masse, sans gps

Governments work with cellular operators to install a surveillance layer, which tracks and records the exact location and movement of all users’ cell phones, all at once, even when they are idle.

The TruePosition Location Platform (TPLP) is used to provide the real-time, high-accuracy location of target mobile subscribers

TruePosition LOCINT is implemented as a passive overlay within a wireless mobile network operator’s existing communications network. Using non-intrusive interfaces with the signaling links, the system extracts location information for all mobile phones of the monitored network.

U-TDOA determines a mobile phone’s location by comparing the times at which a cell signal reaches multiple Location Measurement Units (LMUs) installed at the operator’s base stations.

The TruePosition Location Platform is widely deployed in the United Sates to support the mission-critical E9-1-1 emergency service, and can incorporate multiple location technologies including TruePosition’s patented Uplink Time Difference of Arrival (U-TDOA) location technology.

This technology can support emergency call response, but the tracking systems used are more powerful than what would be needed for this purpose alone.  They are designed to support military and police intelligence, and can record and store the movements of all users over a long period of time.  Big brother can then select target users for investigation based on their patterns of movement and cell phone usage.

For example, big brother could identify the people who meet with known peace activists or political rivals, look for common meeting places, and disrupt meetings or capture participants.  They could track a target user until he might travel to a less populated area, then dispatch someone or something to capture or kill him.

Many people carry mobile phones with them more or less all the time, and few people are aware of this surveillance technology.  Normally such surveillance is illegal without a warrant, and it may be difficult for police or others to get such a warrant.  This technology tracks every cell phone user simultaneously, without any warrant, and records the history of their movement.  It should not be allowed.

I would like to know whether this TruePosition technology or similar is used in Australia, the UK, Europe, or the USA, which networks are using it, and which may not be.  One supposed application is emergency service response, which sounds innocuous, so I suspect the technology may have already been widely deployed.…..

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8 Responses to big brother can track cell phones accurately en-masse, sans gps

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention big brother can track cell phones accurately en-masse, sans gps | Sam's Hacktastic Blog --

  2. George Jetson says:

    This is old news, but not widely known.

  3. Julius ter Pelkwijk says:

    I know that it is possible in Holland to get tracked by law enforcement if you place prank calls to 911, at least that is what they tell on tv. Really tracking on the spot doesnt work, but it is possible to track you down to around 200m in a circle around you.

    Google uses the same technology to see where you are located. Using Google chrome and your internet provider, they can spot where you are. Doesnt work everywhere, but if you have a GPS or WiFi and internet enabled, they can track you anywhere.

    • sswam says:

      I think it’s not the same technology. This TruePosition LOCINT system doesn’t use gps or wifi, and is much more precise than your phone cell. It tracks everyone who uses that cellular network, for the whole time that their phones are switched on. As I understand it uses time difference and potentially angle from several surrounding cell towers to sort of triangulate your position, and it is highly accurate, on a par with gps I suppose.

      • sswam says:

        I guess supposing a computer is able to measure time in nanoseconds, they could use time difference measurements to find position within perhaps 30cm.

  4. Andrew says:

    Apart from a viable way to canvas rural areas and underdeveloped regions such as Africa, B.A.T.M.A.N. is a viable technology that will free people from these technologies with potential for enabling big brother states.

    B.A.T.M.A.N. is an open-source mesh routing protocol for creating ad-hoc networks. Together with IPv6 and better wireless technologies such as WiMax and LTE, B.A.T.M.A.N. has the potential of completely replacing the last wireless mile of telecom infrastructure, thus completely nullifying the potential of such surveillance technologies.

  5. Squids Cell says:

    so we could hide nowhere…. 🙂

  6. sswam says:

    BATMAN sounds good. Nice acronym too! I leave my cell off unless I need to make a call. People can text me. (In all honestly I leave it off mostly because it has bad battery life and the usb charger connector is broken; not to avoid big brother!)

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