Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 26

Thread: How can the police trace (or ping) a cell phone?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    United States of America
    Posts
    48
    Carrier(s)
    AT&T
    Feedback Score
    0

    Question How can the police trace (or ping) a cell phone?

    Do they have a database of IMEI numbers that fall under certain names, or how do they do it? Tower triangulation? How can the networks even allow the police to do this without a subpoena or warrant?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    603
    Device(s)
    LG G5, G3, G Pad X 10.1
    Carrier(s)
    AT&T, T-Mobile
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by skyhawk214 View Post
    Do they have a database of IMEI numbers that fall under certain names, or how do they do it? Tower triangulation? How can the networks even allow the police to do this without a subpoena or warrant?
    It doesn't work the way it's portrayed in TV shows where law enforcement can "ping" a phone (even underground, per a recent Hawaii Five-0 episode!) and see on a screen who it is and where it is just like that.

    911 call centers are able to try to get an estimate but even that depends on local technology. There was a case in a city where I used to live where first responders insisted on going to the "triangulation point" suggested by software based on the tower info they were able to obtain, but then ignored the actual locations of the towers and the terrain in considering the location and went to the wrong place. The guy died in the meantime. When I read about it in the paper, knowing where the high-powered 850 MHz sites really are, I said right away "No, the guy must have been out here as that's the only place where you could be in range of all those towers" -- and that was in fact the location.

    I know carriers do share information with law enforcement/the NSA voluntarily; this has been well reported on. But the type of stuff you see on TV would require a subpoena/warrant, carrier cooperation, and would NOT happen in an instant to for example locate a criminal on the run and lead police right to the spot for a high-excitement car chase.
    AT&T customer since 2007; Alltel 2004-07. Android user since 2014 and will never go back to Apple.
    I recommend and use CellMapper and Sensorly for testing and mapping signal coverage and have contributed extensively to both projects in the greater St. Louis region and surrounding states.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    17,447
    Carrier(s)
    Verizon
    Feedback Score
    0
    Even if triangulation existed like on TV, police would need a court order to use it.

    Sent from my SM-G935P using HoFo mobile app
    If I'm annoyed and you're annoyed, does that make us a paranoid ??

    Sarcasm is a fine art...

    "Don't believe everything you think"

    It's not a matter of if you win or lose, it's how you assign the blame

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    2,621
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by skyhawk214 View Post
    Do they have a database of IMEI numbers that fall under certain names, or how do they do it? Tower triangulation? How can the networks even allow the police to do this without a subpoena or warrant?
    With a court order, the telcos are required to provide just about everything about a cellhphone by CALEA. Hint: web search CALEA.

    Without the telco being involved and with different capabilities, they use IMSI catchers. Web search that too. Stingray is an example. Wander over to Ars Technica and do a search for Stingray - more info than you are probably interested in.

    Whether an IMSI catcher requires a court order or not is a grey area and varies by state or other jurisdiction and is a contentious issue. It will get sorted out in the Supreme Court at some point.

    Bottom line: If there is a way to communicate, the government(s) have a way to intercept and monitor it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    936
    Feedback Score
    0
    Lawful intercept can be used by police with court approval.

    https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/doc...t/10LIovr.html

    In terms of location capabilities, the phone's GPS, cellular triangulation and OTDOA are all examples of technologies that can be used.
    Want to learn more about how LTE works?
    https://productioncommunity.publicmo...ls/td-p/130581

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Chicago burbs
    Posts
    1,978
    Device(s)
    Samsung Galaxy S8 Active
    Carrier(s)
    AT&T
    Feedback Score
    0
    You don't need a warrant if there is a life and death emergency. I.E. someone wants to commit suicide is sending goodbye messages and is on the move. In certain situations with a high probability of death or great bodily harm, there is no time (days) to get a warrant to get a GPS location of a device.

    Sent from my SM-G892A using HoFo mobile app

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    726
    Carrier(s)
    Verizon
    Feedback Score
    0
    Republic wireless has a page on their website known as law enforcement guide which outlines the process of how a department or agency will follow to obtain information. https://republicwireless.com/legal/l...rcement-guide/
    Presumably it is a similar process for other carriers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    2,722
    Device(s)
    LG G4
    Carrier(s)
    T-Mobile
    Feedback Score
    0
    Can Police Track You Through Your Cellphone Without A Warrant?

    "In this case, as in others, prosecutors argue that the Supreme Court has long viewed information shared by a consumer as fair game without a warrant. Even before the Stored Communications law was enacted, the high court ruled that you lose your Fourth Amendment right to privacy when you share information with a third party, like the phone company."


    Everytime I am in a shopping center I get a notification from the shopping center or a store that may not know my name but they know my IMEI number that knows someone is there.... All this stuff is for sale so you already agreed to share it.

    Anytime you call 911 from your cell phone they have your GPS tracking for rescue.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    17,447
    Carrier(s)
    Verizon
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by shilohcane View Post
    Anytime you call 911 from your cell phone they have your GPS tracking for rescue.
    Not exactly. You are referring to E911 services that is not fully implemented in many cities. Several years ago, laws were passed that required cellular carriers to start collecting taxes for E911 services, but many of those municipalities spent the money elsewhere leaving huge gaps.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    21
    Device(s)
    iPhone 6
    Carrier(s)
    AT&T
    Feedback Score
    0
    If it’s an emergency situation, all we do is call the carrier and they ping it for us. Then we provide them paperwork to justify the ping.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    591
    Feedback Score
    0
    App companies such as Uber can pinpoint my location within an acceptable margin of error but 911 still lags in pinpointing the general area for cell phones.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,799
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by CallmeJake View Post
    App companies such as Uber can pinpoint my location within an acceptable margin of error but 911 still lags in pinpointing the general area for cell phones.
    Uber has your permission.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    591
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by bmtvaquero View Post
    Uber has your permission.
    It is more than permission. 911 systems have not made the investment in technology even the states collect the e911 fee

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    794
    Device(s)
    iPhone 8+ (Intel), iPhone 6S, Galaxy S6, iPad Mini 3
    Carrier(s)
    AT&T
    Feedback Score
    0
    Are there really PSAP's out there who still can't do at least the Phase II requirements (lat/long) of E911? I sure don't know of any. Even the most rural and lightly populated counties in Michigan support this. I would be shocked if there were PSAP's anywhere in the country who still can't do at least that.
    I do not represent any company or other entity. Anything I post in these forums or write on this site are my thoughts and opinions only. I make every attempt to be 100% accurate, but I am human and do make mistakes from time to time.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    2,076
    Device(s)
    iPhone 7, Galaxy S8
    Carrier(s)
    Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by BMWDude49120 View Post
    Are there really PSAP's out there who still can't do at least the Phase II requirements (lat/long) of E911? I sure don't know of any. Even the most rural and lightly populated counties in Michigan support this. I would be shocked if there were PSAP's anywhere in the country who still can't do at least that.
    Yes there are plenty.. GA has quite a few that can only do Basic 911, and I think one area does not even have 911 dialing yet.

    Sent from my SM-G892U using HoFo mobile app

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. How can I add new products to a cell phone store?
    By vshah1010 in forum T-Mobile Employees & Dealers
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 02-25-2009, 11:18 AM
  2. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 05-27-2008, 10:58 PM
  3. How can the US watch euro 2004?
    By nemik in forum The Lounge
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 06-11-2004, 07:51 PM
  4. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-25-2003, 10:37 PM
  5. How Can the V60I Send Caller ID From France?
    By Aileron in forum Verizon Wireless
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-24-2002, 02:39 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks