The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Your cell phone may be a mobile bug 

I've blogged before about tracking cell phones. Now this takes it to a new level.

A recent US District Court ruling discloses that law enforcement has the ability to turn on the microphone in a cell phone, converting the device into a bug without the owner's knowledge. This apparently still works if the device is turned off; the only way to defeat it is removing the batteries.

If anyone has a copy of this decision or more info on this technique, please feel free to e-mail me at

KTRE-TV - Lufkin/Nacogdoches, TX - Court Says FBI Can Use Your Cell Phone To Spy... On You:

... A recent court ruling in a case against the Genovese crime family revealed that the FBI has the ability from a remote location to activate a cell phone and turn its microphone into a listening device that transmits to an FBI listening post, a method known as a 'roving bug.' Experts say the only way to defeat it is to remove the cell phone battery.

'The FBI can access cell phones and modify them remotely without ever having to physically handle them,' James Atkinson, a counterintelligence security consultant, told ABC News. 'Any recently manufactured cell phone has a built-in tracking device, which can allow eavesdroppers to pinpoint someone's location to within just a few feet,' he added.

According to the recent court ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, 'The device functioned whether the phone was powered on or off, intercepting conversations within its range wherever it happened to be.' ...

Update (20061223) - Bruce Schneier's blog has more info on this, but no firm conclusions, mostly based on a ZDNet article.

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