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Bink63
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join:2002-10-06
Everywhere

Can a Boost Mobile phone be tracked???

Hey all,

A friend's brother has gone missing and when he called Boost to see if they could track his cell, Boost told him they don't have the capability.

I call bullcrap since Boost Mobile uses the Nextel IDEN network that has that capability.

So, who knows the true situation with Boost Mobile?

Regards,

Randy
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BlitzenZeus
Burnt Out Cynic
Premium
join:2000-01-13
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1 recommendation

If they can track them without being on an active call it would ONLY be from police, government written request, otherwise it would be a huge invasion of privacy to those not wanting to be tracked.

Contact the police department handling it, and go from there.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to Bink63
Agreed, you need to contact the police and file a missing persons report if you really feel he is missing. I fully understand wanting to do something to help find him but you can only do so much. Boost can certainly track him provided the phone is on (unless there is a hidden battery they can't track it without power or it being on). But they will most likely only comply with a court order to track his phone, not a request from an individual, no matter how noble that request is.


Hayward
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Key West, FL
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1 edit
reply to Bink63
And then LIMITED tracking just nearest cell tower not GPS level..... and then only if the phone is still functioning, and not dead battery, pinging now and then. (And some that even goes away if just turned off)
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»haywardm.com (Hayward's Key West)

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
said by Hayward:

And then LIMITED tracking just nearest cell tower not GPS level..... and then only if the phone is still functioning, and not dead battery, pinging now and then. (And some that even goes away if just turned off)
Why don't they just use a security exploit to reflash the phone remotely, then silently return a GPS reading every couple minutes?


manfmmd
Premium
join:2003-01-14
Earth, TX
Reviews:
·CMA Access
said by patcat88:

said by Hayward:

And then LIMITED tracking just nearest cell tower not GPS level..... and then only if the phone is still functioning, and not dead battery, pinging now and then. (And some that even goes away if just turned off)
Why don't they just use a security exploit to reflash the phone remotely, then silently return a GPS reading every couple minutes?
Probably because they can't magically flash GPS hardware into a phone...just a guess though.
--
If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, what is the road to Heaven paved with?

Obama 2008 - Where Transparent = Opaque


Mr Neutron
Ceaseless, Tasteless, and Gormless
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join:2005-05-30
Gorham, ME
reply to patcat88
said by patcat88:

said by Hayward:

And then LIMITED tracking just nearest cell tower not GPS level..... and then only if the phone is still functioning, and not dead battery, pinging now and then. (And some that even goes away if just turned off)
Why don't they just use a security exploit to reflash the phone remotely, then silently return a GPS reading every couple minutes?
There's a security exploit that will turn on a cel phone that is powered off? That's a new one on me. [shrugs]
--
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mityfowl
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join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
Maybe they ought to call the phone?


Bink63
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said by mityfowl:

Maybe they ought to call the phone?
He says there have been no responses to his calls or texts

BlitzenZeus
Burnt Out Cynic
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join:2000-01-13
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If the calls go straight to voicemail immediately then the phone is likely off, or has no signal. If the phone rings for what would be considered the normal wait time of 15 seconds, or longer than the phone is likely still on.


SirMeowmix_III

@windstream.net
reply to Bink63
The Boost Mobile/iDEN phones support native GPS, not AGPS, and have a GPS device in them to track actual satellites. Even the cheap $25 Boost phones have this as well.

Back when I was playing pay-as-you-go musical chairs I had two Boost phones. Even now, without a valid SIM, the GPS device works. It requires LOS with the sky/etc. It is not AGPS. It is not tower-based.


lordfly

join:2000-10-12
Homestead, FL
Reviews:
·SkyNet360
reply to Mr Neutron
said by Mr Neutron:

said by patcat88:

There's a security exploit that will turn on a cel phone that is powered off? That's a new one on me. [shrugs]
All cell phones are active, even when turned off. The only way to disable them is to remove the battery. This enables our Government (hopefully via warrant) to listen to criminal conversations without their knowledge.


Gbcue
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join:2001-09-30
Santa Rosa, CA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
said by lordfly:

said by Mr Neutron:

said by patcat88:

There's a security exploit that will turn on a cel phone that is powered off? That's a new one on me. [shrugs]
All cell phones are active, even when turned off. The only way to disable them is to remove the battery. This enables our Government (hopefully via warrant) to listen to criminal conversations without their knowledge.
ROFL. Been watching too many movies, eh?
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BlitzenZeus
Burnt Out Cynic
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reply to lordfly
said by lordfly:

All cell phones are active, even when turned off. The only way to disable them is to remove the battery. This enables our Government (hopefully via warrant) to listen to criminal conversations without their knowledge.
So that long boot of my smartphone is just for show?

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to lordfly
said by lordfly:

All cell phones are active, even when turned off. The only way to disable them is to remove the battery. This enables our Government (hopefully via warrant) to listen to criminal conversations without their knowledge.
Default firmware won't do that, but I'm sure there are developer backdoors ways to reflash the phone over the air. Then it can pretend to be off, yet it won't be.

Verizon officially can update the phones, »www.wirelessweek.com/Verizon-OTA···are.aspx »www.phonenews.com/verizon-launch···es-2324/ »www.phonenews.com/verizons-fota-···et-4508/ , its a requirement now. Not sure if Sprint uses FOTA. The system can easily be disabled with a PST program (change server URL). But this excludes any backdoors in the Qualcomm chip, or in the OS software (send a text message with an authentication key and it starts the flashing, make a particular Service Option call (types of "calls"/protocols allowed in Layer 4/5/6/7 here is some of them »wireless.agilent.com/rfcomms/ref···tion.php ).

Audio listening will kill the battery very quickly (laws of physics still apply), unless you have infinite battery such as in OnStar car phones. So audio bugging would have to be extremely limited and targeted.

»news.cnet.com/2100-1029_3-5109435.html

Nextel/iDEN phones use AGPS, similar to CDMA phones by Verizon/Sprint. Except Nextel I think allowed J2ME apps from day 1 to access the GPS chip, and it was a full GPS chip that can operate without cell network service, CDMA providers use AGPS, which is neutered, and a location can't be determined without help from the tower which has a full GPS receiver.

In both cases, phone participation is required to get a location unless they send out the white van with directional antennas to find you (too expensive I think, limited to CIA usage only due to cost, never heard of it being done by law enforcement (FBI/ATF/DEA/State Police/etc)).

GSM phones are always triangulated, and no participation is required from the phone AFAIK. Thats why all euro GSM phones are legal to use the USA, otherwise AT&T and TM by FCC law couldn't activate them or must have a branded phone IMEI only policy to make sure the phones are FCC compliant/E911 compliant.

The GSM triangulation system in the US is pretty bad and inaccurate. The chances of being in an area where only 1 or 2 towers can be reached is very high. Row of towers down a highway is a common cellular coverage pattern, your going to be somewhere on a circumference ring or a fraction of a circumference ring (antenna sectors) of the tower if your going, or you will be at 2 possible locations were 2 circumference rings intersect.


AVD
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Onion, NJ
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reply to SirMeowmix_III
said by SirMeowmix_III :

The Boost Mobile/iDEN phones support native GPS, not AGPS, and have a GPS device in them to track actual satellites. Even the cheap $25 Boost phones have this as well.

Back when I was playing pay-as-you-go musical chairs I had two Boost phones. Even now, without a valid SIM, the GPS device works. It requires LOS with the sky/etc. It is not AGPS. It is not tower-based.
You won't have triangulation with nextel but the phone does tell you the lat/lon of the tower you are connected to, and that gets you pretty close.
--
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JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to patcat88
said by patcat88:

The GSM triangulation system in the US is pretty bad and inaccurate. The chances of being in an area where only 1 or 2 towers can be reached is very high. Row of towers down a highway is a common cellular coverage pattern, your going to be somewhere on a circumference ring or a fraction of a circumference ring (antenna sectors) of the tower if your going, or you will be at 2 possible locations were 2 circumference rings intersect.
Actually that isn't that bad if the person is driving. In that example of towers down the interstate which is common between major cities, you could still potentially pinpoint the location. They show you as connected to tower 1-a and 1-b, then a couple of minutes later you are connected to 1-b and 1-c, then 1-c and 2-a. See where this is going? They can then say "those are all along I-10 and he is heading east". While it won't give them a definite location it will be a pretty good starting point.


the Grumble
Yep, I changed my name again -

join:2009-05-11
reply to Bink63
Any cell phone left on can be tracked, they find lost hikers all the time tracking their phone.
So I guess they can if they need to, but, won't bother tracking a runaway.


Gbcue
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said by the Grumble:

Any cell phone left on can be tracked, they find lost hikers all the time tracking their phone.
LOL.

Most hikes I go on I have no signal.
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Bink63
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join:2002-10-06
Everywhere
reply to Bink63
An update on the original situation...

he filed a missing persons report ~midnight and his brother finally showed up around 4AM.

The current discussion is quite interesting though, so feel free to continue.


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Hopefully the Ministry Of Truth and Thought Police can sort this whole thing out.
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GO Cubs GO!!!


Vchat20
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join:2003-09-16
Columbus, OH
reply to Bink63
I was gonna say just to call Nextel directly since it is their network and see if they can track it (with a police/court order, it should be easy).

Majority of anyone you can call at Boost outside of escalating the issue are not gonna be authorized or even know how to handle such a situation.
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the Grumble
Yep, I changed my name again -

join:2009-05-11
reply to Gbcue


yock
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Miamisburg, OH
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reply to Bink63
said by Bink63:

An update on the original situation...

he filed a missing persons report ~midnight and his brother finally showed up around 4AM.

The current discussion is quite interesting though, so feel free to continue.


I think the discussion about his whereabouts might be even more interesting.
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manfmmd
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said by yock:

said by Bink63:

An update on the original situation...

he filed a missing persons report ~midnight and his brother finally showed up around 4AM.

The current discussion is quite interesting though, so feel free to continue.


I think the discussion about his whereabouts might be even more interesting.
The real question is, how old was the brother? If he's an adult, who cares where he was....HE'S AN ADULT. If he's a minor, that's a different story.
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If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, what is the road to Heaven paved with?

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mrkevin
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join:2007-08-07
Aurora, ME
reply to Bink63
Lets not forget this story

»www.timesreporter.com/homepage/x···r-search

Make sure the bill is paid before you ask them to track a cellphone
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Gbcue
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reply to the Grumble

Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

1 edit
reply to Gbcue
said by Gbcue:

ROFL. Been watching too many movies, eh?

FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool

quote:
The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.

The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.

Nextel cell phones owned by two alleged mobsters, John Ardito and his attorney Peter Peluso, were used by the FBI to listen in on nearby conversations. The FBI views Ardito as one of the most powerful men in the Genovese family, a major part of the national Mafia.
The "bugs" worked even if the phone was powered-off, as long as the battery was still in.

This is why cell phones are completely banned where I work.

I suppose if they wanted to, they could transmit the GPS data or even periodic images from a phone's built-in camera.

--
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Bink63
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Everywhere
reply to manfmmd
said by manfmmd:

said by yock:

said by Bink63:

An update on the original situation...

he filed a missing persons report ~midnight and his brother finally showed up around 4AM.

The current discussion is quite interesting though, so feel free to continue.


I think the discussion about his whereabouts might be even more interesting.
The real question is, how old was the brother? If he's an adult, who cares where he was....HE'S AN ADULT. If he's a minor, that's a different story.
He's 24 so *shrug*

I hear that he went to Boston yet his cell was in The Bronx...

AND he lives in Connect-i-cut.


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Hopefully the Ministry Of Truth and Thought Police can sort this whole thing out.
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Frank Shoemaker would call this noise
GO Cubs GO!!!


Mr Neutron
Ceaseless, Tasteless, and Gormless
Premium
join:2005-05-30
Gorham, ME
reply to Bobcat79
said by Bobcat79:

said by Gbcue:

ROFL. Been watching too many movies, eh?

FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool

quote:
The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.

The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.

Nextel cell phones owned by two alleged mobsters, John Ardito and his attorney Peter Peluso, were used by the FBI to listen in on nearby conversations. The FBI views Ardito as one of the most powerful men in the Genovese family, a major part of the national Mafia.
The "bugs" worked even if the phone was powered-off, as long as the battery was still in.

This is why cell phones are completely banned where I work.
Thank you for posting that.

I've often wondered why Bad Guys don't make more use of things like Faraday cages, but I guess they just don't think of that kind of stuff. [shrugs]

I also have to wonder just how good the sound quality was in the above case, since phones that aren't being actively used tend to be closed and residing in a pocket somewhere. The ratio of stomach rumbling/farts to intelligible conversation captured has to be pretty high.
--
We could use the £5,000 to buy a spoon. And then fill up with ice cream.


Vamp9190
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join:2002-02-11
Chantilly, VA
kudos:1
Easy solution, on or off, keep your phone in a small soundproof case. But then you can't hear it ring, so leave it on vibrate.

OP -- sounds like the brother was gone for more than 24hrs. and with most cell phones the battery will die before that if it is on.