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October 10, 2005

The "Track-Me" state

This article appears at TheNewspaper.com, drawn from an AP article.

Missouri: State Spies on Drivers Through Cell Phones
The state of Missouri has begun a program to track individual movements on highways through cell phones.

The Missouri Department of Transportation will spend $3 million annually on a program to monitor the movements of individuals on highways via their cell phones -- without their knowledge or consent.

Well, you can always turn the phone off... This reminds me of other cell phone surveillance stories we've seen.

Via The Agitator.

Posted by joke du jour at October 10, 2005 06:52 PM

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I participated in the design for two cellphones in the early 90's, so I think I'm somewhat qualified to answer this...

Cellphones register periodically (with AMPS-based phones it is every few minutes) with the Mobile Telephone Switching Office when the signal strength is static, or more often when the strength falls below a minimum threshold. When registration occurs, the MTSO gets the phone's ESN and by default the cell site that handled the exchange. It isn't necessary to be engaged in a call, only that the phone is on.

This idea will work just fine. It isn't necessary to know exactly WHO owns a phone, since the ESN is unique. If you track a few of them, you could see them re-register through different cell sites and thereby determine their general traffic flow pattern and rate.

It follows, though, that this technique could be used to determine the GENERAL location of any SPECIFIC phone when the phone is not being used, then when it IS being used, the E-911 system could be used to narrow down the location to a small area (within 900 meters or so), all without your knowledge or permission.

Posted by: codewritinfool at October 10, 2005 10:10 PM

If I have a conversation with someone via yahoo chat and messengers and do webcam broadcasts with them, is there a way they can track where I live?

Posted by: Track Cell Phone at June 4, 2010 11:28 AM

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