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Can the police track and tap my cell phone?

I'm a victim of an assault case but some of the cops do not completely believe my story that I do not know the assailant since assaults by strangers are rare.

Can the police track me using my cellphone, have it tapped, read all subsequent texts and listen to all calls made? I recently gave the police my cellphone to download an unknown/blocked number so that they can find the actual number or something. They said that would be all. My bf told me that the police plays dirty though and they probably have it tapped and tracked. He also noticed that everywhere we went yesterday, there were cops all around, and he felt followed, but I thought he was just being paranoid.

17 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Question? Who told you that assaults by strangers were rare?

    From what I can recall from college, assaults by strangers are almost as common as assaults by someone known to you. Of course, a lot will depend on the type of assault that we are talking about. Domestic abuse is almost entirely committed by someone you know. However, if you are involved in an armed robbery, in another locality from your home, it is unlikely that you will know the perpetrator. Sexual assault can fall either way. You may have met the rapist before, but then again, a lot of women are stalked and attacked by someone who only knows them and they could not identify them prior to the attack. If we take a standard drive by, some of the victims may know the perpetrators while others, innocent bystanders, may have no idea who shot them.

    Simply put, they can track your cell phone if it is in use. This technology has been around long before cell phones came into being. Basically, cell phones are the equivalent of radios, which can be tracked or located with the proper technology. Newer cell phones have GPS, Global Positioning Systems, in them. What these systems do is to locate a series of satellites, in orbit around the Earth, and use a form of triangulation to determine your location. This has been in use since at least the 1980s. Back then, though, these units were bigger than most cell phones are today. In any event, the majority of them require activation in order to locate your position. If they are off, then they cannot transmit and receive data. For the most part, active use of the GPS drains your battery so it tends to be optional.

    At this point, I am stretching beyond my knowledge due to the progress of technology. There would be two ways that your phone could be tracked. The first, and probably most common, would be to use the signal towers that you connect to to give a location. This would be an estimate, but considerably cheaper. The second would require major government technology that could track the information in your cell phone, on or off. To the best of my knowledge, this is not available to law enforcement or the general public. The best you can get is a tracker that will connect to the satellites periodically and then record the information for later retrieval. This means that they would have to retrieve the tracker and download the information into a computer before they would know where you were. I do not know of any real-time trackers that are not in use by the government for special operations.

    Tapping, however, is a piece of cake. There are laws against it, but then it is still done. The BS about requiring a warrant to tap your phone is a crock of legal whooey. Yes, there are laws in effect, but my experience with law enforcement has been that they disregard these laws, or obey them, when it fits their needs. The federal government has made it illegal for scanners to be able to tap cell phones, unless illegally modified, but they can be used to eavesdrop on cell phones and wireless phones, without modification, if you have the right know-how. The police, however, do not need to worry about such inconveniences because they are the law. In most cases, all they have to do is flash the badge and they can get whatever they want. Very few people have the money to fight this in court, especially when the courts are also part of the state, like the police. Since 9/11, they can justify nearly anything with the right wording.

    If they do not believe your side of the story, about the assault, then they won't waste their time. For that matter, even if they do believe your side of the story they are unlikely to worry with it unless you have powerful connections or good deal of money. The exception to this is if you are dealing drugs, which is all the government cares about today, in which they will do nearly anything to get a conviction. If this was a case of rape, it is unlikely to go anywhere anyway. From the police all the way to the courts, they simply don't care about women. Sad but true, and the fact.

    Police patrols tend to be predictable. They will be out heavy on Friday and Saturday because those are prime drinking nights. Sundays onward tend to be less watched. Precipitation tends to put them in central locations so they can work at a lot of traffic reports. Today, it's rare that they actually patrol. But, for you to actually be followed, and to see them, that would only be in the event that you are the president's daughter, and then it would be Secret Service agents. They simply do not have the manpower to do such things. I suspect, but from my experience, that your boyfriend had something to hide and was worried that they might catch him.

    Hope this helps some,

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  • 8 years ago

    These are two questions. 1) is it possible to track and tap a cell phone? Yes. A subpoena can be sent to your cell phone company and they can provide all kinds of information. How much depends on your cell company and what kind of phone you have. If the phone has GPS tracking then of course it can be tracked by GPS. Even if it doesn't all cell phones are constantly sending out their location to any nearby cell towers. That's why when you call a cell phone it doesn't take 10 minutes for the phone company to figure out where they need to route the call to. So a list of all the cell towers the phone has been pinging can be gotten, which can narrow down a location to usually a few square miles. As for listening to the calls that would require a court order or search warrant. It would also require some more complex technology. Since it's a cell phone they can't just tap the line, they'd need to clone the phone. They can also do a "dump" on your phone if they actually have it and retrieve text messages, photos, voice messages, contacts, call logs, emails, anything that is on the phone. And depending on the specific phone sometimes it's even possible to retrieve deleted items. This would require a search warrant to do, or at the minimum your consent.

    2) Did the police tap and track your phone in the situation you described? Of course not. Your boyfriend is a fool. What reason would they have to do it? They think you're making a false report? So what? They'll just close the case if that's what they think. Why go to all that trouble to clone your phone and track it over some BS like that? Never mind that any information they obtained that would would be useless in court, since it would have been illegally obtained. Again, why bother? As if they don't have anything more important to deal with. And assaults by strangers are actually VERY common.

    Source(s): 13 years in law enforcement
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  • 4 years ago


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  • 3 years ago


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  • 8 years ago

    Newer smart phones have GPS in them and can be tracked. Even older phones send out an ID number signal so that when somebody calls you the phone company can find you and complete the call. Cops can read your texts but cannot listen to old phone calls (as far as I know). They do need a warrant signed by a judge or your permission to tap your phone. I don't know if they need a warrant to access your phone records or not though. Otherwise the information is illegally obtained and cannot be used in court. Finally, News Flash: Cops ARE everywhere these days. When I was a kid you could go 3 or 4 days without seeing a cop. Nowadays you can't go down the street without seeing 3 or 4 cops.

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    6 years ago

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    5 years ago

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

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    You must smoke pot to ask such a stupid question! And no the police wouldn't waste time and money on tapping your phone when all they have to do is go to Yahoo Answers and track your butt down! Or someone rat on you! You're such a dumb sh*t!

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  • 8 years ago

    Yes, police and almost anybody can track your activities by following your cell phone signal. It is not difficult. As to whether or not they are tapping your phone, that is unlikely. The unknown number is a clue. The police are may request your phone records to help their investigation, not to attempt to prove something against you. They are not following you around, or listening in on your conversations

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