He would file dozens at a time, sometimes more, before one would come back with money. In late , Rigmaiden moved to Santa Clara.
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The city, then as now, is home to students and lots of tech workers. He had a comfortable life in an urban area, and lived near a train station and airport should he need to make a quick getaway. But he knew that the longer he stayed in one place, the more exposed to law enforcement he would be. Unbeknownst to the fraudster, federal prosecutors in Arizona—one of the places where he had stashed his money—filed a sealed indictment against Rigmaiden on July 23, After Rigmaiden was arrested in California, he was quickly transported to the Florence Correctional Center, about 65 miles southeast of Phoenix.
Despite being incarcerated, Rigmaiden could not sit still. He knew that he had been careful. He had used multiple fake identities, with fake documents, and paid in cash. How could law enforcement have not only found him out, but found him in his own apartment, where hardly anyone knew he lived?
Eventually, the accused fraudster got permission to represent himself pro se , a legally risky move. Once he was representing himself, he was allowed to use the law library for five hours a day up from the usual three hours a week. It became a full-time job, immersing himself in legal procedures—but it was likely the most productive way to spend his time behind bars. Fortunately, at the beginning, a fellow inmate and disbarred attorney helped him out with some of the basics, including general court procedure, how to draft a motion and correct legal citation.
By October , Rigmaiden had received boxes and boxes over 14, pages in total of criminal discovery that would help him understand how the government planned to prosecute its case. The device advertised various types of cellular interception. Although Rigmaiden was pro se , he had a shadow counsel, or a lawyer who was ready to step in if the pro se defendant wished to take on formal counsel.
That lawyer had a paralegal, a man named Dan Colmerauer. Rigmaiden could call Colmerauer from a jailhouse pay phone and ask him to run Google searches for him, and tell him the results by phone. Then Colmerauer would print those webpages, and put them in the mail to Rigmaiden, who in turn would have to make handwritten notes about which links to follow and mail that back to Colmerauer. While StingRay is a trademark, stingray has since become so ubiquitous in law enforcement and national security circles as to also often act as the catch-all generic term—like Kleenex or Xerox.
Stingrays are big boxes—roughly the size of a laser printer—like something out of a s-era switchboard, with all kinds of knobs and dials and readouts. Stingrays can easily be hidden inside a police surveillance van or another nearby location. As we move across a city, mobile networks seamlessly hand off our call from one tower to the next, usually providing an uninterrupted call.
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But in order for the system to work, the mobile phone provider needs to know where the phone actually is so that it can direct a signal to it. It does so by sending a short message to the phone nearly constantly—in industry terminology this is known as a ping. If your phone cannot receive a ping, it cannot receive service.
The bottom line is, if your phone can receive service, then the mobile provider and possibly the cops, too know where you are. Rigmaiden eventually pieced together the story of his capture. Police found him by tracking his Internet Protocol IP address online first, and then taking it to Verizon Wireless, the Internet service provider connected with the account.
Verizon provided records that showed that the AirCard associated with the IP address was transmitting through certain cell towers in certain parts of Santa Clara.
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Likely by using a stingray, the police found the exact block of apartments where Rigmaiden lived. This tracking technology is even more invasive than law enforcement presenting a court order for location data to a mobile phone provider, because rather than have the government provide a court order for a company to hand over data, the stingray simply eliminates the middleman. It works with not only the U.
A price list shows that its StingRays, KingFish and related devices sell for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Like many other enforcement tools, the federal government has used grants to encourage local law enforcement to acquire stingrays in the name of fighting terrorism. So far, judges and courts are not in universal agreement over whether locating a person or device, as the stingray helps to do, should require a warrant.
The pen register court order has lesser standards than a warrant: Rather than requiring that officers show probable cause, a pen register court order requires that law enforcement only needs relevance to an ongoing investigation. As rolled around, Rigmaiden decided that he needed allies. There were likely two major red flags that led to him being ignored—he was representing himself without the benefit of counsel, and believed that the government had used some secret surveillance tool against him.
They likely thought he was totally nuts—despite the fact that there was already some evidence that the police were using phones as tracking devices. None of the organizations ever responded. One of the people Rigmaiden sent his file to was Christopher Soghoian, a bearded and ambitious privacy researcher. At the time, Soghoian was a computer science doctoral student always looking for another way to push the envelope, as well as discover how surveillance was actually being conducted in the real world. Years earlier, as a first-year doctoral student at Indiana University, Soghoian figured out by futzing around with Facebook which of his classmates likely moonlighted at local strip clubs.
In short, Soghoian was the perfect match for Rigmaiden.
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Dear Mr. Sohoian[sic], Daniel Rigmaiden instructed me to e-mail you the attached Memorandum. This is in regard to cell phone tracking and locating. He thinks it may be of interest to you but you may have to read past the introduction before understanding why. If you want the exhibits please e-mail Dan Colmerauer at screenwriter2 earthlink. Dictated but not read. Using this app enables a person to spy on a cell phone virtually the same as any government or law enforcement agency could.
It also happens to be one of highest rated tracking apps for cell phones on the market today.
Does cellphone-sweeping "StingRay" technology go too far?
The app works by remotely accessing data from the target phone the phone you are monitoring and displaying that data on your cell phone, tablet or computer. Auto Forward claims that it will collect texts, call history, GPS, Facebook, Twitter and more from virtually any phone. We decided to put this sneaky little app to the test. With the consent of our co-worker, Tracy, we remotely installed Auto Forward Spy onto her device. All we had to do was download the software and we were finished. You will be shocked at what we discovered! The program was every bit invasive as you might think.
Auto Forward accessed text messages, call log, GPS tracking information, social media messages , pictures, and just about everything else that took place on the phone. That same picture was sent directly to the phone that we were spying from. Think of it this way; Tracy, our consenting co-worker, has her phone in her hands and I am monitoring her device from mine.
Your phone is spying? The truth behind the strange phenomenon
The program snaps a picture on her device, then automatically sends that picture to me. I can now view that picture on my phone. A little creepy, but wait, it gets worse…. I listened to a conversation as if I were standing there myself. There are many who will say that this is overstepping the bounds of ethical cell phone monitoring and you might be one who agrees. From our investigation, we can draw no other conclusion than to say that it is absolutely possible to spy on virtually any cell phone without having it in your possession. The cell phone spy apps that exist today operate by establishing a remote connection to the phone they are monitoring.
Once that connection is established, any information on the targeted phone can fall prey to the person operating the spyware. If you have a phone that you feel may have been compromised by this type of software, it is advisable that you replace the phone by simply changing your number or performing a factory reset, which may not be sufficient to remove the spy program from your phone.
Cellphone surveillance - Wikipedia
Read this article for more info on how to spy on a cell phone without having access to the phone. While this story is based on true events the names have been changed to protect their true identities. Cell phone spy software enthusiast and researcher.