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Mark asked: “I have a problem with the stingray technology that police are using right now to surveil our phones and I’m wondering if there’s an app out there that can alert me when my phone moves from one tower to another as I’m driving.”
There are some that kind of do what you want, you can try SnoopSnitch, WireTap and Spy Removal or plenty of others and they will supposedly alert you when they detect an interceptor tower or any that looks like it may not be legitimate.
The thing is, you phone will constantly hop towers as you drive, a tower can only do so much work so your phone will just over to another tower when the signal strength is better, of when it can’t connect to one that is overloaded.
An app that would warn you of switches would be going off so often that it probably wouldn’t be very useful in letting you know something strange is going on.
Also, keep in mind that you know of a version of Stingray, but these devices are typically built and sold by huge companies like Raytheon, and they have no shortage of funds to research better systems, it’s likely that if the government wants to get into your phone, they will.
Just look at AT&T’s room 641a, that was an entire facility dedicated to listening to domestic and international traffic flowing through the AT&T network. 3 whole floors worth of equipment to spy on AT&T communications with their blessing.
Even without their blessing the government could’ve done it anyway, look up Operation Ivy Bells for an interesting example dating back to the 70s of the government tapping into underwater cables to listen in on soviet communications. If they don’t tap into wireless data, they may just cut into wires.
Those are examples of larger government agencies tapping into communications, but back when those things were happening police departments didn’t have baby tanks to deal with riots, so who knows what the federal government is willing to share in terms of communications. The truth is that it’s probably easier to delegate to locals if the focus is on preventing small homegrown terrorist groups, so the federal government may be more willing to share these days.
Your phone is big data sharer, for example apps can have built in diagnostics tools that report back, Google Maps knows if traffic is congested partly by tracking users and recording how fast they’re moving.
If you’re using communications technology, new or old, there’s not much you can do to stay private from the people who have access to the backbones.
In any case, if you do use SnoopSnitch or any of the alternatives, don’t take their data too seriously, the people who made them don’t know everything that’s going on behind the scenes. You will get a lot of false positives and not get warned of real snooping.