~e; personal radar, or dual-use celltowers
human being <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mon, 14 Oct 2002 23:49:36 -0500
// URL nabbed from the TSCM-List, and too amazing not to post
// in full, for educational purposes. the advance here is an
// unforeseen one, it seems. that mobile phone infrastructures
// could help 'see' through radar. one of the bigger technical
// achievements, it has been said, during the early 2oth century
// was radar, as it changed the battlefield. today, this radar
// is using radio waves, and visualizing static and moving objects.
// the graphic description of tracking people is unclear, if it
// is through radar as it is described, and the below quote makes
// the most sense in this regard....
"If the radar picked up movement then a single camera could be focused
on a specific area."
// meaning that if the current mobile network was retrofitted or
// extended for use as a radar surveillance network, the actual
// vision-thing would be done by a closed-circuit TV camera. it
// is unknown how such data could be gleaned unless it is to be
// processed centrally, and has vertical hierarchical flowthru
// to local and national organizations, in order to do what is
// said (.gov level). not trying to make this any more wild than
// it is by itself, yet for this system to work, centralization
// and 'the centralized computer' or database would seem a needed
// tool. and, currently, i believe 'traffic cams' are said to be
// used in looking for the car of the sniper on the east coast
// of the USA, as a way of tracking the otherwise untrackable.
// all very amazing, scary, and unknown. it is good to know that
// people believe such technologies should be governed, at least.
How mobile phones let spies see our every move
Government's secret Celldar project will allow surveillance of anyone,
at any time and anywhere there is a phone signal
Jason Burke and Peter Warren
Sunday October 13, 2002
Secret radar technology research that will allow the biggest-ever
extension of 'Big Brother'-style surveillance in the UK is being funded
by the Government.
The radical new system, which has outraged civil liberties groups, uses
mobile phone masts to allow security authorities to watch vehicles and
individuals 'in real time' almost anywhere in Britain.
The technology 'sees' the shapes made when radio waves emitted by
mobile phone masts meet an obstruction. Signals bounced back by
immobile objects, such as walls or trees, are filtered out by the
receiver. This allows anything moving, such as cars or people, to be
tracked. Previously, radar needed massive fixed equipment to work and
transmissions from mobile phone masts were thought too weak to be
The system works wherever a mobile phone can pick up a signal. By using
receivers attached to mobile phone masts, users of the new technology
could focus in on areas hundreds of miles away and bring up a display
showing any moving vehicles and people.
An individual with one type of receiver, a portable unit little bigger
than a laptop computer, could even use it as a 'personal radar'
covering the area around the user. Researchers are working to give the
new equipment 'X-ray vision' - the capability to 'see' through walls
and look into people's homes.
Ministry of Defence officials are hoping to introduce the system as
soon as resources allow. Police and security services are known to be
interested in a variety of possible surveillance applications. The
researchers themselves say the system, known as Celldar, is aimed at
anti-terrorism defence, security and road traffic management.
However civil liberties groups have been swift to condemn the plan.
'It's an appalling idea,' said Simon Davies, director of Privacy
International. 'The Government is just capitalising on current public
fears over security to intoduce new systems that are neither desirable
The system, used alongside technology which allows individuals to be
identified by their mobile phone handsets, will mewan that individuals
can be located and their movements watched on a screen from hundreds of
Prototypes have been effective over 50 to 100 metres but the developers
are confident that range can be extended.
After a series of meetings with Roke Manor, a private research company
in Romsey, Hants, MoD officials have started funding the multi-million
pound project. Reports of the meetings are 'classified'.
Whitehall officials involved in radar confirmed that the MoD was 'very
interested' last week. 'It's all about resources now,' said one.
Private security specialists have also welcomed the new technology.
'It will be enormously useful,' the director of one private security
firm said. 'Instead of setting up expensive and cumbersome surveillance
equipment, police or the security services could start work quickly and
easily almost anywhere.
'For tracking a suspect, preventing a potential crime or a terrorist
strike or simply locating people [the system] has enormous advantages.'
It is likely that the technology would be used at first to protect
sensitive installations such as ports and airfields.
The perimeter of a nuclear power station or an RAF base could be
watched without having a bank of CCTV screens and dozens of expensive
If the radar picked up movement then a single camera could be focused
on a specific area.
Celldar could also monitor roads when poor visibility due to bad
weather rendered cameras useless.
'The equipment could pick up traffic flows towards an accident site and
the details of a crash; who is where and so on,' said Peter Lloyd of
Lloyd also outlined a number of military applications for the
technology. Individual armoured vehicles or even soldiers could carry
the detectors which could tell them where enemy troops were.
Security specialists point out how useful personal radars would be in
siege situations. However there are significant concerns that the
technology might be abused by authorities or fall into the wrong hands.
'Like all instrusive surveillance, we need to be sure that it is
properly regulated, preferably by the judiciary,' said Roger Bingham of
Bingham expressed concerns that the new equipment, which would be
virtually undetectable, could be used by private detectives or others
for personal or commercial gain.
Modern technology has brought massive opportunities for wider
surveillance. Since the 11 September terrorist attacks on Washington
and New York, the government has been pushing through a package of
anti-terrorism legislation which targets electronic communications.
Senior police officers are now allowed to access mobile telephone and
email records without judicial or executive assent. Within two years,
all mobile phones are expected to have satellite-locating devices built
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