IT Security & Network Security News & Reviews: iFixit Reveals What`s Inside the FBI Vehicle Tracking Device

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-05-16 Print this article Print
Hidden Under the Car

Hidden Under the Car

The tracking device is mounted under the car and is designed to be inconspicuous. And the courts have thus far ruled that an FBI agent can sneak onto your driveway to slip it under your car.
In recent years, several motorists in the United States discovered they had become the target of covert U.S. government surveillance. They learned this when they found entirely by chance that FBI agents had secretly installed a GPS device underneath their vehicle that was capable of constantly tracking a vehicle's location. At the moment, the courts have protected the FBI's authority to use these devices without first obtaining a warrant. A California appeals court last year ruled that using a GPS tracker was no different from physically following a suspect. The same court also said FBI agents were authorized to plant these trackers onto cars even while parked in the suspect's driveway. Wired managed to get its hands on a tracker used by the FBI six years ago and turned it over to the teardown artists at iFixit, who disassembled the device. Taken apart, the little GPS unit looks like any other electronic gadget. But "being in its presence, we can almost feel our civil liberties being flushed down the toilet," the iFixit team wrote in its analysis. The team also wondered if there would be any repercussions for publishing the information. Below, eWEEK shows off what the folks at iFixit found.

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