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View Full Version : FBI busted tracking student, reclaimed GPS spy gear!


rockdawg21
10-09-2010, 02:24 AM
Wow!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39583860/ns/technology_and_science-security/?GT1=43001
FBI busted tracking student, demands GPS spy gear return
After Web uproar, feds reclaimed magnetic tracker found under car

By Wilson Rothman
msnbc.com msnbc.com
updated 49 minutes ago

http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Photo/_new/gps_tracker_fbi.grid-6x2.jpg
Reddit

Several days ago a 20-year-old student discovered a GPS tracking device hidden on his car. After his friend posted a picture of it online, speculating about its ties to a secret FBI investigation, the feds themselves came a-knockin', according to Wired.com (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/10/fbi-tracking-device/). They wanted their toy back.

Based on the discussion with the six FBI agents who arrived at his doorstep, Yassir Afifi believes he'd been under surveillance for three to six months. When Wired asked an FBI spokesman about the case, he did not acknowledge ownership of the device, but said that there was an "ongoing investigation."

Afifi says that he cooperated with the FBI and, according to Wired, "did nothing to merit attention from authorities." He is a U.S. citizen who lives in Santa Clara, Calif., where he attends Mission College.

Afifi's father, an Islamic-American activist, died a year ago in Egypt. It is not clear what the circumstances of his death were, or if this was the reason for the FBI's investigation of Afifi.

The gadget itself a GPS receiver identified as a police-issue-only Cobham Orion Guardian ST820 tracking system, connected to a battery pack and radio transmitter was magnetically attached to the car. A shot of it made its way around the blogosphere on Monday, after appearing on the community news site Reddit. After Afifi spotted an antenna sticking out during an oil change, the garage owner offered to yank it out. It apparently popped off quite easily.

The question of whether or not sticking a GPS on a car is legal is actually in the middle of a hot debate right now. One federal court recently said that it was legal, while another said that tracking for an "extended period of time" would in fact require a warrant. (For more on this, here's a great piece in Time written by lawyer and tech journalist Adam Cohen.)

Legality aside, the tactic itself might have been carried out with something less than precision. Simply put, tracking devices shouldn't be so easy to find. Wired talked to an agent who said that not only is the tracking device out of date, but state-of-the-art snoops hardwire the stuff directly to the car's electrical system, avoiding the need for a battery.

What's impressive is how quickly Afifi got an identification of the gadget by crowdsourcing it on the Web. On the flipside, that kind of exposure isn't good PR for the FBI. Surely the revelation of the magnetic tracker will cause many people to check under their own cars. Like many noble efforts to keep us safe from terrorism, this one may be turning out to not be so effective. After all, those who already know they're involved in illegal activity probably check their cars every day, rain or shine.

This piece originally appeared on Technolog (http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/10/08/5258219-fbi-busted-tracking-student-demands-gps-spy-gear-return). For more details on the Afifi story, read the report at Wired.com (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/10/fbi-tracking-device/).

logrus
10-09-2010, 02:38 AM
Patriot Act, gotta love it... :ninja:

County Mike
10-09-2010, 01:12 PM
That's what he gets for having a terrorist dad.

rearnakedchoke
10-09-2010, 11:32 PM
i don't buy it .. i mean it is possible, and the feds could be that stupid, but to put an outdated piece of junk on him in such an amature fashion looks stupid .... i am sure this kid has nothing to hide and is just trying to make it look like the feds were tracking him .. but who knows

Tyburn
10-10-2010, 01:39 AM
finders keepers :wink:

He should refuse to give it back until they admit it does actually belong to them...until then is it not his property :huh:

:laugh:

I wish I could find a tracking device under my car :unsure-1: wait...I dont have a car :blink:

logrus
10-10-2010, 02:22 AM
i don't buy it .. i mean it is possible, and the feds could be that stupid, but to put an outdated piece of junk on him in such an amature fashion looks stupid .... i am sure this kid has nothing to hide and is just trying to make it look like the feds were tracking him .. but who knows

Hey maybe the field agent slept through that day of training lol. I did some computer work for the local law enforcement, they aren't exactly up to date on that part of the tech. So its very possible they could have used it.

NateR
10-10-2010, 01:09 PM
The FBI never claimed ownership of the device, everyone just seems to be assuming that it belongs to them and that they were secretly conducting some sort of surveillance of this guy.

Tyburn
10-10-2010, 03:56 PM
The FBI never claimed ownership of the device, everyone just seems to be assuming that it belongs to them and that they were secretly conducting some sort of surveillance of this guy.

Well it does say they paid a home visit asking to get the device back..but it also says they will not officially state ownership...therefore unless they conviscate the artical, it should belong to whoever found it...no :huh: and they cant conviscate without reason. Presumably that he would use it to monitor someone else.

Either way, I think he should keep it, until they tell the truth...and if it doesnt belong to them, they sould wait until they have proof he is using the device for criminal purposes before they demand it.

:laugh:

Boomer
10-10-2010, 03:57 PM
Yes .. that is out of date and the way it was put in the car would foreshadow it not being a government Op. The FBI WOULD appear to claim the device, especially if they didn't to it, to try and track where it came from and figure out who is tracking this American citizen. With the connections his dad had, and why and how he was killed ... the MANY sleeper cells in America could have many reasons to do this. It's funny that people still mention the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay in a bad light of the Bush administration ... and Obama loved to use those as scare tactics to push the vote his way .. but now that he has access to information that is classified about their uses ... they are still alive programs. And .. only get press when people are trying to bash Bush. If they were as extreme and not necessary to protect the American people as he led people to believe in his run for office, he could have gotten rid of those programs the first six months in office.

VCURamFan
10-10-2010, 04:01 PM
Yes .. that is out of date and the way it was put in the car would foreshadow it not being a government Op. The FBI WOULD appear to claim the device, especially if they didn't to it, to try and track where it came from and figure out who is tracking this American citizen. With the connections his dad had, and why and how he was killed ... the MANY sleeper cells in America could have many reasons to do this. It's funny that people still mention the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay in a bad light of the Bush administration ... and Obama loved to use those as scare tactics to push the vote his way .. but now that he has access to information that is classified about their uses ... they are still alive programs. And .. only get press when people are trying to bash Bush. If they were as extreme and not necessary to protect the American people as he led people to believe in his run for office, he could have gotten rid of those programs the first six months in office.

I am VCURamFan, & I approve this message.

Tyburn
10-10-2010, 04:13 PM
Yes .. that is out of date and the way it was put in the car would foreshadow it not being a government Op. The FBI WOULD appear to claim the device, especially if they didn't to it, to try and track where it came from and figure out who is tracking this American citizen. With the connections his dad had, and why and how he was killed ... the MANY sleeper cells in America could have many reasons to do this. It's funny that people still mention the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay in a bad light of the Bush administration ... and Obama loved to use those as scare tactics to push the vote his way .. but now that he has access to information that is classified about their uses ... they are still alive programs. And .. only get press when people are trying to bash Bush. If they were as extreme and not necessary to protect the American people as he led people to believe in his run for office, he could have gotten rid of those programs the first six months in office.

So...you think the FBI turned up, not to reclaim their equipment, but to launch an investigation into who actually is tracking him? Therefore I suppose they could suggest that it could be a terrorist group that has planted the device, and therefore they could conviscate the artical on the grounds of National Security, supposing they could get information from the device that could lead to a warrent of arrest for those who did plant the device, and possible save the lives of American citizens depending on what those who planted the device planned to do in the long run.

Yes...that would work :)

Tyburn
10-10-2010, 04:15 PM
What exactly is a "sleeper cell" :huh: do you mean a Terrorist group :huh:

rockdawg21
03-03-2011, 04:36 AM
UPDATE!!!!!!!

The student is now filing a lawsuit. Can't say that I blame him. Kid's got some balls.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41876956/ns/us_news-security/?GT1=43001
Student files lawsuit over FBI's GPS tracking
Egyptian-American says he's never done anything to warrant being monitored

By NEDRA PICKLER
http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com/i/msnbc/Components/Sources/sourceAP.gif
updated 3/2/2011 5:48:12 PM ET

WASHINGTON — An Egyptian-American college student who says he has never done anything that should attract the interest of federal law enforcement officials filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the FBI for secretly putting a GPS tracking device on his car.

Yasir Afifi, 20, says a mechanic doing an oil change on his car in October discovered the device stuck with magnets between his right rear wheel and exhaust. They were not sure what it was, but Afifi had the mechanic remove it and a friend posted photos of it online to see whether anyone could identify it.

Two days later, Afifi says, agents wearing bullet-proof vests pulled him over as he drove away from his apartment in San Jose, California, and demanded their property back.

Afifi's lawsuit, filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, claims the FBI violated his civil rights by putting the device on his car without a warrant. His lawyers say Afifi, who was born in the United States, was targeted because of his extensive ties to the Middle East — he travels there frequently, helps support two brothers who live in Egypt, and his father was a well-known Islamic-American community leader who died last year in Egypt.

FBI Spokesman Michael Kortan declined to discuss the lawsuit or the agency's investigation into Afifi, but said, "The FBI conducts investigations under well-established Department of Justice and FBI guidelines that determine what investigative steps or techniques are appropriate. Those guidelines also ensure the protection of civil and constitutional rights."

Afifi, who is a business marketing major and works as a computer salesman, said at a news conference to announce the suit that the agents never gave him a clear answer as to why he was being monitored.

"I'm sure I have done nothing wrong to provoke anyone's interest," Afifi said, although he noted that his family is from Egypt, he's a young man and he makes a lot of calls overseas. "So I'm sure I fit their profile."

Judges have disagreed over whether search warrants should be required for GPS tracking. Afifi's lawyers say they are filing this lawsuit in hopes of a decision saying that any use of tracking devices without a warrant in the United States is unconstitutional.

The federal appeals court in the Washington circuit where Afifi's case was filed ruled in August that the collection of GPS data amounts to a government "search" that required a warrant. The Obama administration asked the court to change its ruling, calling the decision "vague and unworkable" and arguing that investigators will lose access to a tool they now use "with great frequency."

The lawsuit says the agents who showed up to collect the device were "hostile," threatening to charge Afifi if he didn't immediately cooperate and refusing his request to have a lawyer present. The suit also says agents showed they knew private details about his life, such as which restaurants he dined at, the new job he had just obtained and his plans to travel abroad.

"At first I was really confused," Afifi said at the news conference, adding that he finally decided to turn over the GPS. "I did give it back to them after a lot of pressure."

flo
03-03-2011, 05:51 AM
The 9th circuit court - well-known for its liberal bent - had upheld the law that enabled the govt to put a tracking device on his vehicle without a warrant. Even Obama disagreed with the WA appeals court's decision.

CAIR has filed the suit for this guy; 'nuff said.

County Mike
03-03-2011, 12:11 PM
http://files.dailycontributor.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/jack-bauer-24-movie.jpg


The Federal Agent involved said they only had 24 hours to prevent a world disaster and tracking this kid was their only lead. "We didn't have time to get a warrant. Millions of lives were at stake!", said the agent.

Miss Foxy
03-03-2011, 04:33 PM
That's what he gets for having a terrorist dad.

+1 :)

rearnakedchoke
03-07-2011, 02:33 PM
What exactly is a "sleeper cell" :huh: do you mean a Terrorist group :huh:

pretty much .. but they go to the host country for which they plan to terrorize and live their as normal citizens blending into society .. getting jobs, making friends etc .. this is an attempt to not bring attention to themselves ... when they are called upon to wreak havoc, they do so as instructed ...

KENTUCKYREDBONE
03-08-2011, 07:32 PM
wait...I dont have a car :blink:

Out of curiosity is that normal in your Country?

Tyburn
03-08-2011, 09:40 PM
Out of curiosity is that normal in your Country?

Depends where you live. Most people in the North will have a car...but you can go almost anywhere by bus or train in this country...I dont need a car...I can walk to work, and if I need to travel I can use public transport...its not like in America...you would need either a first world public transport system which you guys simply dont have...or some form of travel, because distances are much further...our country is only the size of California...as in...our WHOLE country...nothing is that far away.

In the south alot of people wont own cars, they are known as London Commuters. They travel by train (some from Yorkshire) to Greater London, where they swap from Train to the magnificent tube system. In London, Cars cant park, and it takes forever to travel through the system...whereas everything you need in the centre is within a four mile square radius, and the tubes underground are constant...there are also EXCELLENT bus services from every where to everywhere.

Thats why the London Bombings were such a disastor...if the Tubes and trains or busses go down...you have LITTERALLY MILLIONS of Commuters trapped within four square miles and no way of getting in or out. At Four Forty Five outside the Great West Door of Saint Pauls Cathedral, daily, there is what looks like a mass exodus...hundreds of city workers leave ON FOOT, the whole square mile is emptied each night, as its not residential at all...they all walk in an endless stream down ludgate hill and across blackfriars bridge...its like something out of an apokalypse movie with refugees or something...except they are all dressed in suit and ties and carry their brief cases...it is a staggering site...but within Central London Cars are nothing but a hindrance.

Now with petrol going up, road tax going up, MOTs costing more, and driving lessons being a rip off...a lot of people are not bothering with cars...they are going for motorbikes or mopeds...or they are walking.

I had driving lessons for over five years, in three different cars, diesel and petrol, in three different cities. I only took my test once and failed...not coz I couldnt drive, but because I couldnt pass their dumbass test :angry: Now im glad...I couldnt afford to keep and run a car.

When the time comes for me to want to do that, I shall take a short course, learn how to drive a moped or motorbike and ride forever on a provisional liscence :)

KENTUCKYREDBONE
03-08-2011, 11:53 PM
I passed my test when I was a Teenager and now every so often I have to renew my Licence! Every State recognizes each others drivers Licence! Nowadays to get your beginners Permit in Kentucky you have to get a passing grade in school. Rules are a bit different for adults beginners though. When I got mine it was eye test,Written test and driving test for beginners permit. Beginners allows you to drive with a licensed adult in the car. After awhile you can get regular licence. Where I live it can be rough without your own personal vehicle. The closest Grocery store is about a 15 minute drive!

Tyburn
03-09-2011, 12:37 AM
I passed my test when I was a Teenager and now every so often I have to renew my Licence! Every State recognizes each others drivers Licence! Nowadays to get your beginners Permit in Kentucky you have to get a passing grade in school. Rules are a bit different for adults beginners though. When I got mine it was eye test,Written test and driving test for beginners permit. Beginners allows you to drive with a licensed adult in the car. After awhile you can get regular licence. Where I live it can be rough without your own personal vehicle. The closest Grocery store is about a 15 minute drive!

you see without living in the Peak District, Lake District, North Yorkshire Moors, Dartmoor, Outter Scotland, some of the Welsh Vales, and the Pennines...thats not really possible.

In England you have to be 17 to apply for your driving liscence, or 16 for bikes only. There are two tests, the theory test which is a written or computer based test on the highway code, it must be taken first, and it must be passed. (your already PAID money at this point for a provisional liscence, for driving lessons, and an exam fee to take the test.) once you pass the theory you have five years to take the practical...if you dont manage that, your theory will go out of date and you must pay for, take, and pass the test. (my theory is out of date now...and infact I went for so long, the DVLA actually demanded I return my Provisional Liscence to them :laugh: ) Then you pay for more driving tests, and then pay and try for your driving practical test. This involves you using the car you have been learning in, with your instructor sat at the back, and the test instructor on the duel controls, just incase. You need to do manouvreing, involving, parking, an emergency stop, motorways or A class duel carriageways, roundabout. Reverse parking, three point turns, etc.

Once you have passed your test, you must pay to have your provisional liscence updated with a full driving liscence. Then no further tests are taken, period. You may drive as long as you like...though the doctors usually stop Octogenarians and above from driving, for obvious reasons :laugh:

If you pass your test in an automatic, you can ONLY drive automatics, but if you pass your test in a manual, you can drive either Manual or Automatic.

If you are a biker, you can have lessons and be signed off on a provisional, permaently, but will have to pay to get the liscence renewed everytime they do a national facelift of the bloody document.

If you BOTH drive a car, and a bike...you will have TWO Liscences. There are separate liscences for Heavy Goods, Bus or Coach, and farming or warehouse equipment.

So when Mark Hughes asked me if I could drive...and I said yes...and then he wanted me to drive some big and expensive bit of machinary from one field down this lane with a ditch on either side and into another field across off road terrain I had never walked...I had to regretfully decline...and if memory serves, Boomer drove instead :laugh:

Eventually, I probably will want my own transport...coz if I move away from my family as is the general idea...then I will want to come back at any time...and not have the fuss of waiting and booking public transport...but I will settle for an automatic if I fall into wealth...or else a provisional and a bike :)

KENTUCKYREDBONE
03-09-2011, 06:59 AM
To me that sounds very complicated and expensive! I took my actual driving test in my Parents car. If my 16 yo can get his grades up and his ADHD under control we can take him up to the county Clerks office and get his learners permit. He would have to pass a quick eye test,show proof of his passing in School and we would have to pay 20 dollars I think it is. With the learners permit an Adult relative who is legally licenced would have to be in the car with him. I don't remember how long he has to have his learners/beginners before he could get his licence. Oh and he would have to pass a written test to. The written is mostly about Traffic laws and signs. Nowadays when you renew your licence or change the address on them you have to show proof of address. I may be forgetting a few things or may not be completely accurate on the new rules but I think I got close!

KENTUCKYREDBONE
03-09-2011, 07:02 AM
http://www.scribd.com/doc/4775261/Kentucky-Drivers-Manual

I think this link will take you to an up to date KY drivers manual!