TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Cell Phone Company Records the Tower Handling Call

Re: Cell Phone Company Records the Tower Handling Call
21 Dec 2004 13:36:28 -0800

Isaiah Beard wrote:

> Of course, in our current era, these same logs are convenient for
> investigators in they can potentially bolster a claim that you were
> elsewhere than your purported alibi.

Nowadays we are tracked through many ways, some known, some unknown.
Some of us have highway toll transponders on our cars. Many of us
carry ID badges with sensors. Many of us use mag cards for transit

A great many retail transaction points, from convenience stores to
tollgates, have recording TV cameras.

This information is often used by prosecutors. But I wonder how often
defense attorneys can access this information and at what cost to the

> Refuting the validity of this evidence to bolster the prosecution's
> case depends on how far away that cell tower was. There are plenty of
> reasons for a non-adjacent cell to take your call. Perhaps the
> nearest cell was at capacity and could not handle your call, but your
> phone happened to be able to pick up a not-so-nearby cell that had
> slots free.

> In any case, cell site records aren't a smoking gun. Even if you
> happen to be making a call at a cell that covers the scene of a crime,
> there can still be a rather wide area that the cell covers, anywhere
> from a radius of a quarter of a mile (for microcells in dense metro
> areas) to several miles (in rural areas).

I initiate a number of cell phone calls from the same spot but at
least four separate locations show up on my bill. Sometimes the
location name isn't close to the physical location -- I was once a
good 20 miles away from the location named on one call.

> However, even now, not many 911 call centers can retrieve this info,
> because the capability requires expensive upgrades that many local
> governments haven't bothered to spend money on.

My state charges a $1 extra per month per line (land and cell) for 911

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