[guardian-dev] thoughts on mobile tracking

Matej Kovacic matej.kovacic at owca.info
Thu Jan 16 11:02:54 EST 2014


> Unfortunately, the equipment to do this kind of mass surveillance are all
> commodities available on the open market.  And its not even that expensive to
> do.  We know that many countries are doing this because of leaks and such (US,
> Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, China, Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya,
> Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc).  I think it is safe to say that
Yes, but details are important. I am quite familiar with equipment used
by police from my country. They are using very basic, "stupid" IMSI
catcher, which is used only to isolate users (to get their IMSI if they
do not know which IMSI do they use) and to get IMSI numbers of people
being in one place (for instance involved in demonstrations - they do
location update request and location update reject).

An application I described gives very minimal level of protection, but
would be completely effective against that threat.

> In some parts of the world, like Africa, having multiple SIM cards in a single
> phone is common.  We have one from Zimbabwe that has 4 SIM card slots.  You
> could program that to switch around between them.  But calls and SMS would
> then show up from different numbers.
Yes, that is why I said we need to distinguish identity from IMSI. If
you are using ChatSecure and OSTN, messages and calls would always came
from the same number - regardless of SIM card used.

> I mean only using wifi, not having GSM/CDMA/LTE at all.
Yes, me to. If you are connected to a certain wifi -> disconnect
GSM/3G/LTE at all. Is there any application to do this?

> means no connectivity.  The social part of the solution includes educating
> people that mobile devices are the perfect device for their government to spy
> on them.  Then we all can better make those choices.
Well... a week ago I decided to stop using my mobile at all (that is why
I am not testing ChatSecure anymore). So I am a free man - for a week.
But it is not simple. So probably I will have to buy a new phone very
soon... :-)

In reality, most people do not have a real choice. It is a kind of
chioce when one option is not really possible. That is the problem.



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