PURPOSE: DISCUSS A METHOD FOR TRACKING FOREIGN VISITORS USING THEIR CELL PHONES, AND INFORM U.S. SECURITY PERSONNEL OF WHO ELSE IS DOING IT, SO THAT THEY MIGHT MITIGATE THESE FORMS OF TRACKING.
CHINA EXAMPLE TECHNOLOGY OF INTEREST:
When any foreigner arrives in a Chinese Airport, China uses technologies to collect the foreigners cell phone number (AND MATCH THE FOREIGNERS NAME WITH THE PHONE NUMBER), then track the foreigners visit including current location using pings to the foreigners cell phone (using their Chinese cellular communications apparatus associated satellites, towers, and equipment).
U.S. FUTURE CAPABILITY:
I propose here that we create this same capability (as China uses) to collect the foreigners cell phone number and MATCH THE FOREIGN ARRIVAL’S NAME WITH THEIR CELL PHONE (upon arrival to the U.S.), for use to track foreign visits via their cell phones, within the U.S.
Essentially, when a cell phone emits the “roaming signal” (to maintain a ready state by contacting the nearest tower), the (GSM) is based on the phone's signal strength to nearby antenna masts. Location-based services then disclose the actual coordinates of a mobile phone. Read this introductory information for further details:
WHO ELSE IS TRACKING CELL PHONES OR DOING SIMILAR ACTIVITY?
=>Germany is using some tracking capabilities, and may partner with us to perfect the collection of the FOREIGN ARRIVAL CELL PHONE NUMBER AND MATCH IT TO THE FOREIGNERS NAME, UPON ENTRY.
=>Finland Helsinki Airport is tracking smart-phone WIFI signals. The companies name that created their technology is (Finavia and Walkbase) perhaps we could partner with them.
=>The business named VERINT Systems Inc. located in Melville, N.Y., (http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/VRNT:US ) appears to be offering Foreign governments their “SkyLock” product that will allow them to LOCATE, TRACK, AND MANIPULATE, a given targets cell phone. Their flyer says they are offering (i.e. “Actionable Intelligence solutions for customer engagement optimization, security intelligence, and fraud, risk and compliance, with clients in more than 10,000 organizations in over 180 countries.”) See this article containing the 25 page corporate description here:
=> The business named Defentek (of Panama city), sells a similar system called “Infiltrator Global Real-Time Tracking System” whereby they state that it can “locate and track any phone number in the world.” They further state “It is a strategic solution that infiltrates and is undetected and unknown by the network, carrier, or the target.” Their URL is here:
=>CHINA PORTS: Given that China is creating new ports all over the world, one must wonder if their cell phone tracking and/or other technologies are also at these global port locations creating a network of ways to collect and track foreigner’s cell phones for various purposes including espionage.
=>SS7 GLOBAL NETWORK – This is a global network that cellular carriers use to communicate with one another when directing calls, texts and Internet data. Thousands of companies have access to the network whereby they can send queries to other companies on the SS7 system. This massive foreign access status may make the entire network more vulnerable to exploitation. Any one of these companies could (for the right price) share its access with others, including makers of surveillance systems, foreign adversaries whom have infiltrated corporations, and rogue nation states who control a given cellular or other relevant corporation. Essentially, a given companies tracking systems use queries sent over the SS7 network to ask carriers what cell tower a customer has used most recently, then by repeatedly collecting a cell phone user’s location data, the tracking systems can show whether a person is inside a building (perhaps their home), walking down a city street, driving down a highway, or flying to a new city or country. Specifically, this query is called an “Any Time Interrogation” query that prompts a carrier to report the location of an individual customer. Of note, VERINT systems is reported to use their own SS7 hubs (strategically placed in various countries), and can sidestep Cellular Operators protections.
=>“IMSI catchers,” – these are surveillance devices that use cellular signals (unique code) collected directly from the air to intercept calls and Internet traffic, send fake texts, install spyware on a phone, and determine precise locations. E.g. the product trade name, “StingRay” can continue to exploit somebody a mile or two away but is useless if a target’s general location is not known, therefore, the ISMI catcher might be used together with SS7 data to stay locked on to a target cell phone. VERINT’s sells the IMSI catcher, called the Engage GI2, additional information here:
Matching a foreign visitors name to cell phone number, then using it to automatically track them may provide an excellent way to manage security issues related to the massive yearly influx of foreign travelers. Surveillance industry researchers and telecommunications systems architects are continually developed even more effective ways to collect data from SS7 networks, with more precise locations, and/or exploit them further for their own ends, by means that are harder to detect, and once detected, are harder to mitigate. The technology is available now to collect and track foreign arrivals by COLLECTING THEIR CELL PHONE NUMBER UPON ARRIVAL AND THEN MANUALLY MATCHING IT TO THE NAME GIVEN ON THE PASSPORT OF THE FOREIGNER. Given that other foreign countries are doing it, and businesses are making available other technologies, (AND ONCE THEY HAVE YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER THEY CAN TRACK YOU ALL OVER THE PLANET FOREVER), we must then mitigate collection of our cell phone information when (e.g. our military and/or other sensitive personnel or business executives travel abroad), to ensure their locations and/or phones are not collected, tracked or compromised. Once a cell phone user’s approximate location is identified, local video camera feeds from (e.g. CCTV or Highway cameras) can visually track them. I note and reemphasize here that a G20 summit is a perfect example of where these technologies may be in play. Once a company has cellular user data or technologies to collect and track it we must then consider how we can prevent them selling the data or collection technologies to foreign adversaries, via loopholes in current policy. Therefore, given that foreign adversaries might hack or physically infiltrate data exchange networks, or may become security personnel at a key company containing cellular information, and that some companies might outright sell user cell phone data covertly to rogue nations, then might we consider taking a second look at associated policies, and ensuring they protect our citizen’s safety and security in this new era of cellular capabilities, while leveraging and further making available our own Government capabilities.