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Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
reply to MxxCon

Re: What circumstances is a tower dump required

said by MxxCon:

Police monitoring a drug house and want to hear/know about all the phone calls coming to/out of it...?

This.

A tower "dump" (which it isn't really; they are just monitoring which mobiles are connected to that tower) wouldn't be very effective for tracking a single user. It could prove to be very effective at gaining insight into an ongoing criminal enterprise.


Thaler
Premium
join:2004-02-02
Los Angeles, CA
kudos:3
said by Crookshanks:

A tower "dump" (which it isn't really; they are just monitoring which mobiles are connected to that tower) wouldn't be very effective for tracking a single user. It could prove to be very effective at gaining insight into an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Unless you were to have tower "dump" requests of all towers within a target area. (ie. if LAPD paid for access to all towers in Los Angeles, it'd be a fair means to wiretap any citizen in the area).

Granted, each cell tower would cost ~$25k a year to get these access rights...so that'd be a large amount of change to get constant surveillance on a city of any size.

Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
said by Thaler:

Unless you were to have tower "dump" requests of all towers within a target area. (ie. if LAPD paid for access to all towers in Los Angeles, it'd be a fair means to wiretap any citizen in the area).

It's not a "wiretap" though, it's a list of the cell phones connected to a particular tower and which numbers they are calling/texting. It's more analogous to a pen register than a wiretap and quite probably necessary to investigate ongoing criminal enterprises in the era of mobile phones.

Mind you, I don't like it anymore than you do, but let's just be clear on what it is we are discussing. A law enforcement agency receiving the meta-data on calls and texts is quite different than that same agency receiving the actual content of those communicates.


Thaler
Premium
join:2004-02-02
Los Angeles, CA
kudos:3
Um, wasn't one of the option add-ons listed in the article to also get audio of the calls?