Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oops! Your considerable tax dollars at work, or, not. Fibbies lose GPS tracking device.

A tip of the boonie hat and deep genuflection to Irregular Stan who forwarded this CalGuns post, "Government GPS not hidden well enough."

The original poster said:

Me and my friend went to the mechanic today and we found this on his car. . . i am pretty confident it is a tracking device by the FBI but my friend's roommates think it is a bomb..any thoughts?

To which "jeanmarcp" replied:

It's a Guardian ST820. It's a GPS tracking unit made by the company Cobham, the product line is called Orion. The redditor who said that the battery and magnetic unit is hand made is wrong, you've got the standard kit, it is sold like that by Cobham. Sales is restricted to army and law enforcement. . . yes, FBI or Police is after you.

"jl123" on CalGuns helpfully posted this link to the GSA parts and pricing list for the unit.

From this we can conclude that the taxpayers are out a pretty penny, although by now the Fibbies have sent some embarrassed junior g-man to retrieve it. "Can we have our tracker back? Please?"

If it were me, I would have just put it in a Faraday cage inside a steel box and "disappeared" it. Let them try to figure out what happened to it. Or, maybe, better yet, I would have sent the Faraday cage incognito to Eric Holder at Main Justice. They would have handled it like a bomb. Very funny. "Well, who made it?!?" "Uh, sir, its one of ours."

Final thought: Whatever happened to the vaunted micro-bugs we have heard so much about?


Anonymous said...

I would have stuck that tracking device on a railcar on a train. It's movements would probably baffle the fibbies!


Mickey Collins said...

I can't follow the pricing link, but elsewhere somebody says:

The unit costs $4,781.11 for what he has there. $5,259.70 with the software.

My favorite suggestion was to ship it FEDEX ground to Mexico.

Ernest said...

I'm more than a little curious why the FBI planted a tracking device on the guy.

Is he involved in some weird stuff, or is he (like yourself) a voice of the opposition?

Anonymous said...

They have to change the battery pack sometime.... Judging from it's size probably once a year at double output.

Can't tell if this one is a burst transmitter, it probably is but it's not a simple recorder obviously.

If I had to bet money I'd say that this was an older unit. The newer units should be much smaller in size.

Anonymous said...

If I found one of those on my car, I swear I would attach it to a law enforcement vehicle.

I would love for them to try to charge me with something for it too... "Attaching a tracking device to a private vehicle on private property is okay and is not protected by the Fourth Amendment... However, attaching that same tracking device to a public law enforcement vehicle on public property is breaking the law and you are going to prison."

That would wake up a few more people, right?

Pat H. said...

One might advise the discoverer of this set of devices to look for additional, smaller ones using a broad spectrum RF sensor such as Optoelectronics X Sweeper to find it (them).

They may wish to change to a prepaid cell phone as well.

Is there really anyone left among we Americans that doubts we're at war with the US government?

Unknownsailor said...

Your GSA link is truncated.
Unit requires some accessories; all told, with battery, it's about $6k.

Anonymous said...

Microbugs are not possible for this application. It's a simple matter of physics - you need power to run both the GPS receiver and the associated transmitter.

RFID tags work because they are energized by a transciever at the point of sale or at the door, etc. Its radio energy is converted to DC to run the electronics and broadcast its telemetry.

A continual tracker requires constant power. As it's hidden under the car -- perhaps the worst place imaginable to place an antenna, the power drain wouild be considerable. Ever notice how a cell phone gets hot to handle when you're in a low-bar area? That heat is the power amplifier running full tilt!

The picture shows a typical looking UHF rubber ducky, so this might even run on a standard government/NTIA frequency rather than a common cell phone. The big tube might very well be batteries so the transmitter can run continuously for several weeks.

Just my guess anyway but I have been an active ham for many, many years.

Howard Goldman said...

My company makes a better law enforcement gps tracker. Our beats Orion on price and performance.

Anonymous said...

I guess you have to figure out what post to believe...

Defender said...

It even LOOKS like an S&M/bondage and domination device.

Phelps said...

I would suggest that the ESN be cloned onto as many burner phones as possibly and used with impunity.

Bad Cyborg said...

Howard, if your product is made in the USA you should get the paperwork done to get a contract number and be part of the GSA catalogue. I worked for a small firm years ago who was in the GSA catalogue. Even prepared a couple of them.

I don't know about putting it on a police car of a rail car, but I would definitely put it somewhere. Personally I kinda favor waiting until trash day and sticking it onto a garbage truck. Sticking it onto a city bus sounds kinda good, too. I'd also pay the guy I have changing my oil an extra $5 or so to look for such things when he's under there changing the oil. I'd give him another $10 if he found one.

Wonder how many of those $6 grand dohickies the Fibbies have bought. Reckon that info'd be available under FOA? Sure enough interesting to find out.

Bad Cyborg X

Dedicated_Dad said...

TFA notes:

"Redditors have thus far suggested sending the unit to


United Kingdom,

Denmark, and
(in that order)..."

I agree.


DB said...

I would send it to Iraq!

TPaine said...

Appeared the target was a Muslim religious leader. Should have sent it to Imam Rauf c/o the Cordoba Project, Manhattan, NYC.

Anonymous said...

Now they want their stuff BACK!!