Skip to comments.How a Jailbird Con Artist Uncovered a Secret FBI Surveillance Tool
Posted on 06/20/2015 8:32:42 AM PDT by ckilmer
A convict lawyer, sitting in jail, obsessed with a wacky theory that the government tracked him by sending secret rays into his house... ends up discovering a secret government cell phone tracking program. Sounds like bizarre noir, right? But it’s true.
It happened to Daniel Rigmaiden, who found out that the government had used Stingrays—covert surveillance devices that act like a fake cell phone towers—to catch him running a fake tax return scheme. He’s the guy who brought Stingrays to light. Rigmaiden dug through government documents and discovered that law enforcement all over the country were using these devices, and he did it from his jail cell. Then, he wrote a meticulously researched memo about the secret program that tipped off the American Civil Liberties Union.
WNYC talked to Rigmaiden about how he figured it out. How he doggedly pursued the idea that the government must’ve tracked him in secret, even at the cost of losing his lawyers. He ended up representing himself in court.
The WNYC podcast touches on how the just how secret Stingrays were at the pre-Snowden time—so secret that the FBI made law enforcement dismiss criminal cases rather than risk exposing its use of the secret snooping technology.
It also reveals what happened to Rigmaiden after he uncovered the widespread usage of Stingrays—as part of his tax fraud sentence, he was ordered to perform community service. He wound up at the ACLU, teaching them what he’d learned about the Stingray technology.
There is a federal law that says it is illegal to listen in on and/or record cellular phone calls. There’s no two ways about this if they don’t have a warrant for each cell phone they intercept.
Laws are for YOU!
Yes. I’m an engineer. Been in RF for decades. There are codes you can enter into your smart phone (even older ones) that will bring up a service mode. If you do that, there are usually options that show you the signal strength of the nearest tower (in dBm). That’s how your phone knows which tower to tie itself to for the time it has a good signal.
The very first thing I’d do if I were a criminal is run that code and see what the strengths were. If they were in the high 90s (actually negative dBms) I’d think it was a normal tower. If it were down in the 80s or better (a higher signal strength), I’d not make the call because it is likely a nearby spoofer.
Or, you’re really close to a tower.
The Bill of Rights' 2nd Amendment exists to protect the citizens...from the government capable of doing anything.
The thing about RF transmission is the R squared loss.
If you get full bars or high signal levels and don’t see a tower, you’d better watch out.
See my tagline.
In my kitchen, I get -81 on my iPhone 6. Ten feet away in the FR, laying on the couch, it’s -89. Yes, I can see a cell tower from my kitchen. It about .5 ~ 1.0 miles away.
iPhone field test mode code is: *3001#12345#*
Probably the best you’ll get. The antennas are optimized for coverage in azimuth (120 DEGREES) and elevation about 10 degrees beamwidth splayed along a line to the horizon.
Your signal difference in the house is due to absorption loss from material in house and receive (phone) orientation. 8 dB is a pretty hefty loss of power.
I read about this awhile back.
Stingray masks itself as the strongest tower in the area, forcing your phone to make it the default choice, then once it has control of your signal, forces it into unencrypted mode, where anybody can listen in.
Kinda creepy. Yet these units are for sale to the public?!
I don’t think you can buy one as a citizen. To me this is purely illegal government sh!t.
From the article -
“At the RSA Conference last week, Pwnie Express demonstrated their IMSI-catcher detector.
Building your own IMSI-catcher isn’t hard or expensive. At Def Con in 2010, researcher Chris Paget demonstrated his homemade IMSI-catcher. The whole thing cost $1,500, which is cheap enough for both criminals and nosy hobbyists.
It’s even cheaper and easier now. Anyone with a HackRF software-defined radio card can turn their laptop into an amateur IMSI-catcher. And this is why companies are building detectors into their security monitoring equipment.”
I always find it comical that the NSA is located[albeit .gov land] in Maryland, yet they constantly violate the Maryland Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act every day.
I used to have the radios before all that became illegal. The problem is when you get caught. I’m just saying what LE and Feds are doing is against the law and they are hiding it.
It is the reason the FBI forces some local LEs to drop cases when the technology and methodology were called into the daylight. IOW, in my opinion they are ridin’ dirty against the Constitution and US public law. A blanket warrant for all that interception of targeted and non targeted traffic isn’t probable cause in my book. No way.
For sure. They just laugh at it all. You can’t touch them. First you have to prove it.
The FBI plane that was circling areas of Minneapolis last month likely had such a device. Can Orwell’s Thought Police be far behind?
On an android phone just go to... settings/ about phone/ status/ signal strength
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.