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[liberationtech] If we want to be anonymous in #azerbaijan we take batteries out of our cellphones

Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb ei8fdb at
Mon Jun 18 11:44:36 PDT 2012

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The "still being tracked with no battery in my phone" story sounds like a hoax to me.

If you are within close proximity, enough to measure any weak passive (non-powered) electrical field, some inductance from an electronic article surveillance (AKA. "security tag"), then it is possible to "track" the device. However, these devices operate only over very short distances, metres.

As Eleanor said, if there is no power source attached to telephone, or to whatever secondary tracking device installed in the telephone, then it is not possible to track someone. No power source, no radio frequencies being created, no transmissions of information.

It constantly amazes me to ideas that it is possible to defy the laws of physics. It this were the case, we'd already have perpetual motion.

Any time there is a lack of proof it is either a) not true or b) a different problem (in this case secondary power source, etc).

Sorry to sound harsh but, to me, these hoaxes are as dangerous as having a flippant approach to security also.


On 18 Jun 2012, at 18:40, Eleanor Saitta wrote:

> On 2012.06.18 13.29, Parker Higgins wrote:
>> On 6/18/12 8:36 AM, Yosem Companys wrote:
>>> Hi Liberationtech folks, is this always the case? I've heard cases
>>> where people can still be tracked whether they have batteries in
>>> their cell phones or not...
>> I've spoken with mobile security researchers who have given me the
>> impression that this theory hasn't been tested very much. It's
>> theoretically possible that some phones could be recording or
>> transmitting without the main battery, but the equipment that would be
>> required to test is prohibitively expensive and you'd have a hard time
>> demonstrating anything but an evidence of absence.
> Unless there's a specific secondary battery powering a transmitter, it
> is improbable in the extreme that an unpowered passive device can have
> its location tracked at a distance of more than, say, a hundred meters,
> and any tracking at all is extremely unlikely.  Cellphones don't work
> that way, and physics says no, basically.
> Now, *people* are very easy to tail, when you have a human doing the
> work.  That's a different story.  There are almost certainly many more
> pressing issues to worry about when it comes to locational privacy than
> a battery-less phone.
> E.
> -- 
> Ideas are my favorite toys.

- --------------------------------------
Bernard / bluboxthief / ei8fdb

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