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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

London Police Spying on People

Metropolitan police have been developing and using surveillance technology pretending to be a mobile phone network to collect information, monitor people’s movements and even deny service. The technology is able to switch off the devices as well.

London police have been operating some surveillance system that masked itself as a fake phone network. The system could be used to monitor mobile phones, collect information and even remotely shut off the phones.

According to the media reports, this surveillance technology has been developed by a Leeds organization Datong plc. The outfit in question operates in forty countries, mostly in South America and the Middle East. Datong plc is helping military, law enforcement and security agencies in searching for those people who their governments for some reason may be looking for.

Datong plc has recently made a demonstration, indicating how the company’s electronic devices were able to intercept SMS messages by pretending to be a false phone network. The technology is using a transceiver that is around the size of a suitcase, which could be placed in a car, which is operated from distance.

The device in question is called “Listed X”. It is able to emit a signal forcing several hundreds of mobile phones to send unique identity codes every minute, which allow to monitor movement of the users. The system is also able to release a denial of service attack in order to prevent mobile phones from being used as detonators on explosive devices.

Under the British legislation, covert surveillance is regulated by the act called Ripa, which reads that warrants can be either in the interests of national security, economic stability, or very serious crimes. In the interview with local media, a Ripa expert barrister Jonathan Lennon told what he thought about the surveillance technology and its application to the law. Apparently, his opinion was that there had to be clarification on whether the interception of so many people’s communications is really compliant with the country’s law.

The UK police have thus far refused to comment on how the surveillance system is currently being used. However, the hint is that large protests or demonstrations could be a very good case to start using it.

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