Friday, February 10, 2012

IMSI catchers and why they matter

Christopher Parsons has a very informative blog post about IMSI catchers, which includes a link to an amici curiae submission to a US court which provides a additional insights. "IMSI catchers" are a piece of surveillance technology that allows the user to impersonate a cell phone site and intercept communications between a phone and the cellular network.

This matters right now because the lawful access bill expected to be tabled in Parliament shortly is anticipated to contain a provision that allows warrantless access to customer information, including the following:

  • name,
  • address,
  • telephone number and
  • electronic mail address,
  • Internet protocol address,
  • mobile identification number,
  • electronic serial number (ESN),
  • local service provider identifier,
  • international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number,
  • international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number and
  • subscriber identity module (SIM) card number that are associated with the subscriber’s service and equipment.

Once an IMSI catcher is set up and catches all the mobile phone IMSIs in the vicinity (of a protest or international event), the police can obtain -- without a warrant -- any of the above information connected to that phone.

Read Christopher's blog post: Amici Curiae on IMSI Catchers | Technology, Thoughts, and Trinkets.

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