Your Cell Phone’s On-Switch Is How You Consent to Being Monitored – Forward Observer Shop

Your Cell Phone’s On-Switch Is How You Consent to Being Monitored

“No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy”

File Under: Persistent Surveillance

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In court papers filed this month, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh made the case that by simply having your cell phone powered-on, you are giving your consent to be monitored by law enforcement.

The case stems from Kerron Andrews and his cell phone, which was targeted by a law enforcement cell site simulator.  These simulators, including Stingrays and DRT Boxes, trick cell phones into sending and receiving signals to and from these fake cell towers.  Kerron, who faces charges of attempted murder, was tracked by law enforcement to his home because he continued to carry his cell phone which was powered on.

The Maryland AG explains why they were able to track Kerron:

Because Andrews chose to keep his cell phone on, he was voluntarily sharing the location of his cell phone with third parties.

Andrews… was quite aware that he was bringing his own cell phone into the house.  And he was quite capable of turning it off.


And adding insult to injury, the Maryland AG also had this advice for criminals:

A life “on the lam” may require some inconveniences, such as not staying in one’s home, and turning one’s cell phone off when not in use.

The prevalence of cell site simulators is increasing.  They’re currently in use by local, state and federal agencies in at least 23 states.  Here’s an ACLU map showing current disposition.


Photo via Michael Mol


Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.


  1. I believe I have encountered this technology. D-Vasive Pro by John McAfee is a great app for your Android – it includes a Stingray Shield, also Signal by Open Whisper Systems for secure comms has a feature which will detect a Stingray or DRT Box. This is total lawlessness and often leads to what Prosecutors and LE Types call “Parallel Construction” which is when a case is created using falsified means in order to cover up the use of these illegal devices.

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