Want To Know If The FBI Is Tracking You? Look For One Of These

Want to know if the government is really tracking you? If you find one of these tucked underneath your car, you can start freaking out.

A routine visit to the mechanic by a Redditor and his friend turned up this ominous-looking device nestled right next to the exhaust on his friend's car.

After promptly ruling out a bomb, other Redditors helped correctly identify the black device as a Guardian ST820 - a GPS-tracking unit made by Cobham and used exclusively by the army and law enforcement. According to the poster, the friend's (now dead) father had ties to the Muslim religious community and was the subject of quite a bit of FBI interest. That interest also extended to the son, who has supposedly been on an FBI watchlist since last year.

"Why my friend is being tracked is anyone's guess, but the only thing I think it could be is his connection to his father," he says. "The FBI tried to get in touch with my friend a few months ago and he referred them to his lawyer and hasn't heard from them since." Redditors have thus far suggested sending the unit to France, Uganda, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Yemen, Oceania, United Kingdom, Fiji, Estonia, Denmark and Somalia (in that order), the Chilean mine and Ron Paul's car.

According to the poster, his friend's car was also impounded for three months, which is when he believes the tracking unit was first placed on the car.

Sadly, such a move isn't without legal precedent. This past August, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that placing tracking devices underneath cars isn't actually a breach of the Fourth Amendment, so long as law enforcement officials think someone is a criminal. Furthermore, this can be done even if your car is parked in your own driveway - a location that does not hold the same reasonable expectation of privacy as, say, a garage. Currently, California and eight other western US states recognise this ruling, according to Adam Cohen, a lawyer and reporter for Time.

Thankfully, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seems to disagree with this insanity. In a ruling last August, the latter court said that tracking anyone for an extended period of time with GPS does in fact constitute an invasion of privacy and should require a warrant. Yeah, we'll go out on a limb and agree.

Stay tuned for the inevitable Supreme Court decision. And in the mean time, we'd suggest parking in your garage… if you have one. [Reddit]


Comments

    throw it in the river. Your taxes at work.

    Haha that's ridiculous. Tracking device. That's absurd. You know how absurd that is? We're not tracking you! End Transmission.

    Why is it insanity Bryan Gardiner? I wouldn't care if they could track my car because I'm not a terrorist. Sadly Bryan, it appears you may have something to hide?

      today its for 'catching terrorists' tomorrow its for the much less complicated and far more profitable 'having a computer automatically fine you every time you go over the speed limit even for a second'

      Say a terrorist attacked a shopping centre at which your car is parked, and it was being tracked like so.

      Let's see you talk yourself out of that one.

      Yeah, good one Marcus.

      Becuase nobody has ever been falsely imprisoned, wrongly accused or, I don't know, extraordinarily reditioned on suspicion only.

      And no governments or police forces have ever changed their minds about what constitutes illegal activity or 'terrorism'. No photographers have ever been imprisoned for legally photographing cops, airports or power plants, right?

      Might as well do away with all the warrant laws altogether; only criminals worry about them after all. Just let the authorities arrest, track, record and detain anybody they feel like without discussion.

      Great idea.

      sadly marcus, youre an idiot

      Haha you have to be kidding me.
      The only reason someone may want privacy is because they're a terrorist?

      A typical weak-minded response: 'you wouldn't care if you have nothing to hide.'

      Attempt to follow the scenario to the logical conclusion. Every time you give them a little, they want more. If they can track your car, they will want to track every person you talk to, every email correspondence, every web site you visit, everything you post. Everything you say. Everything you think...?

      In other words, it's really about control. The person/entity tracking you eventually becomes judge and jury. If they know all about you, if your religious/political/philosophical views disturb them, you can very easily become criminalized.

      Knowledge, as they say, is power. The more they know about you, the more they control you. I'm not a terrorist either, but there are vast implications when they know everything about me or you.

      Another clown whose tragedy is that he was born 700 years too late: one of nature's vassals, a natural born forelock tugging serf.
      What a pitiful excuse for a man.

      Marcus darling: and what a Model Citizen you are!
      Need more of em? You bet! Here's a little teaser for a very bright Marcus... Your car (naturally 'monitored through a simple misunderstanding')gets stolen:

      Some decent folks like yourself are seriously killed and you cannot account for your whereabouts. Maybe you fell from grace and had a little dalliance with...Well, you get the picture and maybe the 25 years in the slammer because your lawyer was busy with fighting against this lunacy.

      Stay good and god loves you. Remember: Go gently into the night!

      Marcus,

      Have you given away and/or sold all of your clothing? If not why not? I thought you had nothing to hide?

      How about listing for me, in a public reply on this forum, your SSN, current street address, range of dates when you intend to be on vacation, the name of your children's school(s), the maiden name of your wife and her SSN ...... get the point?

      You have much to hide my fellow American. Don't be such a squishy citizen wannabe quick to chastise anyone who wishes to keep private data private (like positioning data from GPS).

      Wisdom: If you don't want anyone to know where you are travelling, leave your cell phones, devices, and wifi enabled computers at home.

      I am muslim and I don't care to be tracked!

      Marcus, do you have curtains on your windows? Do you close the door when you use the bathroom?

      You do? Why? Are you hiding something? You must be a terrorist.

      Pretty much the responses I'd expect from Gizmodo readers. Are you girlfriend-less porn downloaders scared that big brother might out you as the social misfits you all are? Some of the arguements here are akin to scared paranoid juveniles. Once again, I don't have anything to hide, don't give care if I'm tracked.

      Agree with you Marcus, from the little I know about this story it does sound rather suspicious, friends dad being on the FBI’s watch list, friend (son) also of interest to the FBI and the friend pointing FBI’s to he’s lawyer when asked a few questions... I believe that’s just about enough to get a warrant on its own and to me also looks like someone has something to hide.

      I have been approached by my local police before due to a crime with a few questions, I cooperated with them and they tanked me and I cleared my name (I was spotted on CCTV footage in the area but did not know any thing about what they were after). I did not call a layer I was reasonable and helped out as much as I could as I believe any one should do.

      If the police want to track my car go for it, it does not bother me one little bit, I would rather feel like they are doing their job and trying to capture any real criminals rather than feeling unsafe.

      For all your people out there giving Marcus a hard time, I hope it never happened to any of you but when your mum, dad, sister or close friend or family member gets mugged, bashed, murdered..etc..etc.. we’ll see if your views change at all... wake up to reality it’s not a safe world we live in and making our law enforcements life harder and giving criminals more rights is not going to help... my gran has been mugged before and friends stuck in South Africa have had allot worse done to them.. If they had access to resources like the FBI that would be a blessing for them!

    obvious solution... tranquilize and attach device to a live bear...

    image the look on the fbi's face when they try to arrest a bear...

    ... it would be awesome.

    i thought they were the size of 5c coins?

      at that size, they would have to be tracked from within a 30 or so metre radius to have a 'useful' length of battery life.

    All of you people distrust the government who has consistently throughout time only looked out for the best interest of its people. It's people like you who raise taxes by making it harder for them to track us. I would gladly give up all my rights, my home, my car, my pets, my children and live in a confined box so that I can live in a safe environment the government is trying to provide for us.

      "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
      Benjamin Franklin

        I think (and hope) he's joking. Even if he isn't, I've gotta give him props. I mean, he'd even give up his children! That's what I call loyalty...

    I think a temporary placement on a pizza delivery vehicle or such, then replacing it on the original, suspect vehicle would give investigators something to do, assuming that tampering with the device isn't considered interfering with an investigation.

    Anyone NOT concerned about this ruling is lacking in the mental capacity to understand "freedom." This definition of "expected privacy" would definitely negate any "stalker" laws. Hmmm, come to think about it, I wonder where you bring your daughter to school, where your sister hangs out, where your wife works and shops, and maybe I have some pretty sick thoughts about your mom, too.

    Now my tracking them all is legal!

    If you find one, affix it to any one of the police vehicles at the donut shop. Since those guys are always going into bad neighborhoods it might make for some fun entertainment.

      The problem with putting the device on any car out of your control is that if THEY do something wrong, or are located where some bad event occurs, then YOU get the blame for being there, not them. I would not want the device to be out of my control. I would remove it from my car and probably just leave it in my garage. Are there any signs on the device saying it belongs to the government or if it is illegal to tamper with it?

    Hey Marcus...

    Even though you've done nothing wrong, and have nothing to hide, I want you to turn your saliva/blood/DNA sample over to your local police and FBI, if you haven't already.

      They have both matt. Prints for 25 years. I still don't have a worry.

      Already done for me as well. I really don’t care one little bit... all it will do is help rule me out if I ever get accused wrongly.

    When privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy.

    Most of my, and I hate to call many people this, fellow countrymen, are big, giant, sloppy (female cats- you figure it out)....

    Go hide, be afraid, terrorist gonna getcha!!! BOOGA BOOGA!!! What if, what if, what if.... you live in fantasy land, and are content in your slavery. Stay there. When our liberty has been restored, you will be treated as the people you are.

    Put it up on eBay. You could probably get a few grand for it!

    Next to the exhaust eh!

    Next time you take a trip on the highway, put your hand next to the exhaust - if you can.

    Electronics don't like the type of severe heat an exhaust puts out. There are far better places to hide things under your car.

    Well, yeah, of course it would be illegal in DC where it could be used against "those" that are using it against "us".

    I wonder how many brilliant FBI agents will figure out the meaning of the places it's to be mailed to without a few more hints.

    FBI: Look where they were planning on sending our device.

    Non-FBI Tech Guy: *Snicker*

    FBI: "What's so funny?"

    Non-FBI Tech Guy: The locations

    FBI: " *Laughs* Yeah, I get it. That would cost them a fortune!

    Non-FBI Tech Guy: ಠ_ಠ

    Homeland Security knows that O. B. Laden is really Lex Luthor but hasn't made it public for fear of panic on Main Street.

    Who needs tracking devices, they can just track your cell phone. They will suffice until everyone have their chip installed in their boby.

    What Gil Bates said. Plus the size of that thing, and its easy to spot location.
    Surely with the assets of our intelligence agencies they could have, and have already, made tracking devices much, much smaller.
    If this story isn't complete bullshit than someone is sending a message to the victim rather than seriously trying to track him.

    My girl friend would love one of those tracking sticks for her very own she says it looks like an elctric version of long dong silvers scalong. How many speeds do it have does it come in white and malatto or just jet black.

    Okay so the idea will generally be it is not your device but their property and you must have it in your safekeeping for a duration for them to retrieve it You want the intel 101 answer what to do when you found a bug? Two answers. Where there's one there's always at least one more. If you know you're bugged well then you know, so don't let anyone know and make the BEST out of the situation. There is a way you can leverage that.

    His car was not impounded for three months, he said "he thinks it may have been when his car was briefly impounded as a lady told him when he was picking up the car "what did you do?! right after this car came in 2 FBI agents went to go check it out." but that was like 3 months ago."

    Put it on Ebay. You could probably score several hundred dollars for your troubles.

    Just place it on a cops car and let them follow one of their own while they continue that search for the guy who use to steal their lunch money

    Some months ago, I was active on a forum which wanted to implement posting the real names of users in order to 'prevent griefing and trolling', i.e., stirring up trouble. The entire community was up in arms about it. At one point a poster put his name out in public with the explanation that he had nothing to fear because he wasn't a trouble-maker. Within 15 (that's FIFTEEN) minutes- using just basic internet sleuthing, we had the man pinned down to his address, his work, the names of his family, the school his daughters went to, and field trips they were likely to go on. I also asked him about his colonoscopy he had the year before, as well as the gas station and drug store down the street from where he lived in Pennsylvania. All this- and more- just from a bunch of gamers who just used basic internet searches, and all from just a first and last name.

    The 'if you're innocent you have nothing to fear' argument is as hollow as the heads of those who parrot this tripe. You may think you're innocent now, but I guarantee you if this sort of march towards totalitarianism isn't put in check you, too, will become one of the guilty. Today you know it's legal to move from place to place- tomorrow it won't be. Today you can read any newspaper you want- tomorrow you'll be arrested or shot for reading the same paper because overnight it was deemed 'subversive'. Today you're fine being a member of a particular church or religion- tomorrow you're an 'enemy of the state' because someone you know spoke out against the government.

    Don't think it can't happen in America. It can- and it has already started. Are you going to be one who stands up and helps stop it, or will you be one of those who gets marched off to the camp wondering what happened?

      Wow John... that’s a great story mate, would love a link to the forum and news details of this so I can look into it a little more...

      Back on topic...
      No one is asking to make any ones details totally public now, are they as you have implied?
      You also state from a single first/last name all these wonderful things happened, now that the news has reported this guy’s name I sure do hope nothing happens to him... I think you get my point.
      Basically if the FBI wanted to track you they could.. Hell even the local police can get details on your location via your mobile phone, transport tickets if they wanted to (it’s happened in Australia already)... Point being is they are NOT publishing this information, they are not giving it out to anyone who does not need the information other than to try and help keep the majority safe are they?

      If you bring out the “yeah, but what about corrupt cops” argument, you think they are going to stop at not having a court order any way? Grow up and face reality the world is not black and white.... If the police could save your wife or Childs life by using a GPS tracker, phone taping, surveillance..etc.etc.. I bet you would not say owwww no I want you to go to the courts and apply for a warrant, ow and I don’t care if it takes a week or longer just do it right fella’s...

    I realy need one good GPS tracking unit--please help, I suspect my wife is having an affair with a FBI agent.

    Charge up the batteries in both transponder and the antenna and then put it on an overseas container or a taxicab in manhattan...or for that matter put it on the "beast"- obama's limo!......what a laugh that would be huh. this stuff makes hitler and his policies look nice in comparison.

      Oww, someone really needs to re-read their history books if they say Hitler played nice compared to this.... Unbelievable, what has society become... A bunch of tree huggers just because they have never personally been a target of violence or wrong doing yet.

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