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Cellphones Communications United States

Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US 237

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.
Trachman writes: Popular Science magazine recently published an article about a network of cell towers owned not by telecommunication companies but by unknown third parties. Many of them are built around U.S. military bases. "Interceptors vary widely in expense and sophistication – but in a nutshell, they are radio-equipped computers with software that can use arcane cellular network protocols and defeat the onboard encryption. ... Some interceptors are limited, only able to passively listen to either outgoing or incoming calls. But full-featured devices like the VME Dominator, available only to government agencies, can not only capture calls and texts, but even actively control the phone, sending out spoof texts, for example."
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Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

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  • by m00sh (2538182) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @09:12PM (#47813413)

    The article says ...

    What we find suspicious is that a lot of these interceptors are right on top of U.S. military bases.

    The summary says ...

    Many of them are built around U.S. military bases.

    Way to slant the summary to make it look like Chinese towers rather than our towers.

  • by eclectro (227083) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @09:35PM (#47813557)

    The fact that these towers are found next to military bases speaks volumes.

    The military needs to there own version of everything to make sure things work in times of national crisis, emergency, or security. They need to have their own infrastructure to insure communications. They need to control their communications around bases and know who is saying or doing what. They need to be able to anticipate attacks. Nobody should have any expectation of privacy on or next to a military base.

    Quite frankly, I'm glad to see this.

  • by flayzernax (1060680) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @09:51PM (#47813633)

    Uh, yeah, but the military can damn well make sure their hardware only interfaces with other military hardware, not your cell phone, and not prioritize your civilian traffic over their 'emergency, auxilary, or military channels'.

    This is just more and more slippery goose shit for the sauce.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @09:54PM (#47813661)

    Nobody should have any expectation of privacy on or next to a military base.

    The civilians living next to the military base expect the military to defend their freedom to expect privacy. Otherwise the military is not doing the job that the civilians are paying for. That is how civilized society functions, the military answers to civilian authority.

    You are welcome to relocate to a military dictatorship if you want. There are plenty to choose from. Do not bother coming back.

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @10:17PM (#47813775)

    If they indeed are Chinese (or otherwise foreign) spy towers, and so easily detected (the authors of the article didn't seem to have a hard time finding such towers), there's something terribly, terribly wrong with your homeland security.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @10:26PM (#47813815)

    I'd give the US military more credit than that. They wouldn't place their own interceptors directly on their bases, but nearby. Else, how would you have plausible deniability?

    It is likely that the military doesn't need deniability. Many FCC rules don't apply to the military. It is quite likely that they they can legal operate their own cell towers. Similar exceptions are made for prisons, which can operate their own cell towers [latimes.com] to keep inmates from making calls from smuggled cell phones.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @10:27PM (#47813821)

    The fact that these towers are found next to military bases speaks volumes.

    The military needs to there own version of everything to make sure things work in times of national crisis, emergency, or security. They need to have their own infrastructure to insure communications. They need to control their communications around bases and know who is saying or doing what. They need to be able to anticipate attacks. Nobody should have any expectation of privacy on or next to a military base.

    Quite frankly, I'm glad to see this.

    Last time I checked, my constitutional rights didn't get suspended inside a casino in Las Vegas... did you miss that part? Many were on bases, but not all or even most. If the military wants to control their own communications they are welcome to start their own cellular network, they could even use these towers and then have their staff roam to other networks when they weren't near a base.

    The only reason they are doing this is to intercept the calls of us citizens which is both illegal and unconstitutional. Your imaginary safety is not worth my constitutional rights. This sort of surveillance is exactly what the constitution was created to protect us from. It's not some weird esoteric thing the founders could never have anticipated like Machine guns or Abortions. This is the government listening in to the private correspondence of citizens for the sole purpose of security. That's expressly and unarguably forbidden legally, constitutionally and every other way you can think of.

  • by sowth (748135) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @11:22PM (#47814081) Journal

    If they...so easily detected...there's something terribly, terribly wrong with your homeland security.

    And this is news....how? This is the same government which brought the TSA, and they are certainly useless.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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