We have all seen the movies where law enforcement agencies utilize wiretaps to investigate a case. Although wiretaps require a warrant and are among the most extreme examples of conducting an undercover investigation, there are actually many legal ways that police officers can investigate civilians without their knowledge. Even worse, many of these tactics are performed right under our noses and track us using our own devices.
In this four-part article, a criminal defense attorney in Tampa will discuss many of the tactics police use to investigate unsuspecting civilians. In this section, we will focus on how the police can discover your location through smartphone technology and computer systems. Remember, if you have been accused of a crime, your case requires the attention of a successful criminal defense law firm in Tampa.
Smartphones give users a variety of convenient applications. Although many people appreciate the “Find My Phone” app or enjoy planning out their next trip using “Apple Map,” it’s also important to remember that your phone and its GPS features allow cell towers to track your every move. Several major phone companies have acknowledged that authorities request countless cell phone location searches annually for investigations. In other words, the police pay phone companies a fee to perform a “tower dump” which allows them access to all of the phone numbers within close proximity of the tower.
Internet service providers can also track the location and data within a computer’s IP address. The IP address is the unique, numerical label that is designated for every device that has a computer networking system. When you visit a web page, your location at the time of the search is stored in your IP address. If law enforcement is conducting an investigation of a suspect, they can issue a subpoena to the web provider, access the IP’s addresses’ history and utilize this data to determine the suspect’s whereabouts.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.