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Old 10-09-2010, 02:24 AM
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Default FBI busted tracking student, reclaimed GPS spy gear!

Wow!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39583860...ity/?GT1=43001
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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



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. 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. For more details on the Afifi story, read the report at Wired.com.
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:38 AM
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Patriot Act, gotta love it...
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Old 10-09-2010, 01:12 PM
County Mike
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That's what he gets for having a terrorist dad.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:32 PM
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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
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:39 AM
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finders keepers

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



I wish I could find a tracking device under my car wait...I dont have a car
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Old 10-10-2010, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rearnakedchoke View Post
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.
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:09 PM
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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.
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Old 10-10-2010, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by NateR View Post
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 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.

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Old 10-10-2010, 03:57 PM
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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.
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Old 10-10-2010, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Boomer View Post
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.
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