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Carriers in Belarus snitch their customers' location to the police investigating a protest

Posted: , by Daniel P.

Carriers in Belarus snitch their customers' location to the police investigating a protest
In a glaring example how your most personal of gadgets can quickly turn against you, mobile operators in Belarus were asked to convey which cell phone numbers were in close proximity to the location of the recent mass anti-government riots. All those that were near certain cell phone towers are now being called by the police for an investigation what was their participation in the riots, in a possible attempt to bring criminal conviction to the organizers. "Organizing mass disturbances" is a crime that brings along 15 years of jail time in Belarus. According to the chief of the Frunzenski district police department, Aleh Haidukevich:

Cell phone triangulation by nearby carrier towers

Cell phone triangulation by nearby carrier towers

"This is in connection with the initiated criminal case. We need to find out who took active part in the mass riot and who was there by accident. If you receive a call from a police department, don’t be afraid. It doesn’t mean you will be brought to responsibility. All persons who took part in unauthorized mass riot have already been identified or will be identified in the course of investigation." Yeah, right, don't be afraid...

It is great to have all these location-based apps and technology in your phone, but one should never forget how easily traceable you are, even if you have them turned off, and your location only triangulated by the cell phone towers in proximity. Actually, you don't even need to be in an active call, it is enough that your phone is turned on, and connected to the network.

In the hands of the wrong people, this technology could quickly take a turn for the worse. In the US the authorities have to build a probable cause, and get a warrant to ask for your historical cell tower location data, at least on paper.

source: Charter97 via BoingBoing

2 Comments
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posted on 17 Jan 2011, 04:28

1. messiah (Posts: 433; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)


So before anyone riots... trade cells with your grandparents. Throw odd those stupid investigators asking my deaf elders what they were doing at the scene of looting. Would love to see six thousand subpoenaed for looting rioting vandalism and squad car burning.

posted on 17 Jan 2011, 11:10

2. spepper (unregistered)


And get reaquainted with walkie-talkies and camcorders-- carrying cellphones that are powered on (even in sleep or airplane mode) is like having one of those "Google identification pushpins" on top of your head, anywhere on the planet......

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