Dirtboxes are used by DOJ to collect cellphone data.
WSJ has revealed that DIRTBOX's (The name “dirtbox’’ came from the acronym of the company making the device, DRT, forDigital Receiver Technology Inc.,) carried by low flying aircrafts over the land of the free are collecting cell phone data, in bucketfuls, in digital form. The similar technologies are used by forces to catch culprits and terrorists in war zones and other foreign areas.
The local version, which is done, in a complete legal way, by passes ISPs, carriers or sell towers. They are searching for convicts, criminals and drug dealers.
“What is done on U.S. soil is completely legal, Whether it should be done is a separate question.” said one person familiar with the program.The scanning is done by the Technical Operations Group of the U.S. Marshals Service, which tracks fugitives, among other things. Sometimes it deploys the technology on targets requested by other parts of the Justice Department. The "Dirtbox", is being used to mimic mobile phone tower transmissions from the sky and gather data from millions of mobile phones, helping the US Marshals Service track criminals while recording innocent citizens’ information.Cellphones are programmed to connect automatically to the strongest cell tower signal. The device identifies itself as having the closest, strongest signal, even though it doesn’t, and forces all the phones that can detect its signal to send in their unique registration information. If a suspect’s cellphone is identified, the technology can pinpoint its location within about 10 feet, down to a specific room in a building. Newer versions of the technology can be programmed to do more than suck in data: They can also jam signals and retrieve data from a target phone such as texts or photos. It isn’t clear if this domestic program has ever used those features.
It keeps on growing and I am getting tired, just reading about it. I can't throw away my phones because there are pay phone on the street!
Read and get depressed at WSJ.