Feds Put Fake Cell Towers On Planes, Spied On Tons Of Innocent Americans

Friday, November 14, 2014
By Paul Martin

by Mike Masnick
TechDirt.com
Fri, Nov 14th 2014

The Wall Street Journal broke the news that the DOJ has been spying on tons of innocent Americans by putting fake mobile phone towers on airplanes and scooping up all sorts of data from people who thought they were connecting to regular mobile phone towers.

The U.S. Marshals Service program, which became fully functional around 2007, operates Cessna aircraft from at least five metropolitan-area airports, with a flying range covering most of the U.S. population, according to people familiar with the program.

Planes are equipped with devices—some known as “dirtboxes” to law-enforcement officials because of the initials of the Boeing Co. unit that produces them—which mimic cell towers of large telecommunications firms and trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information.

The technology in the two-foot-square device enables investigators to scoop data from tens of thousands of cellphones in a single flight, collecting their identifying information and general location, these people said.

The Rest…HERE

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