August 23, 2012
Criminals May Be Using Covert Mobile Phone Surveillance Tech for Extortion
They can be slipped into a suitcase and used almost anywhere to spy on mobile phone communications. IMSI catchers are high-tech portable devices used by law enforcement agencies across the world to secretly intercept conversations and text messages. But could they be abused for criminal purposes? The answer is yes, according to an alarming report from Europe last week. Slate reports.
IMSI catchers are advanced pieces of hardware that can be used to send out a signal, tricking mobile phones into thinking they are part of a legitimate mobile phone network.
The most sophisticated IMSI catchers, such as the one known to have been purchased by Londonís Metropolitan Police, allow authorities to shut off targeted phones remotely and gather data about thousands of users in a specific area. They can force phones to release their unique IMSI and IMEI identity codes, which can then be used to track a person's movements in real time.
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