YouTube clip of a Fox News report says that the FBI can eavesdrop on conversations even when your cell phone is turned off. The story claims that it has something to do with the GPS chip in the phone. This sounds like complete and utter crap to me.
[li]Why would the government want to do this? Any info gleaned this way would not be admissible in court.[/li][li]Why would phone companies want to cooperate with this?[/li][li]Why would phone manufacturers want to cooperate with this?[/li][li]How would a GPS chip be used in this way? The GPS satellites don’t communicate with individual receivers, do they?[/li][li]Is there any shred of truth to this?[/li][/ul]
I did hold my stomach and search the Fox News website for a few minutes, but I could not find a direct link there to this story. I could only stand to look at Fox News for a few minutes, so it may be there and I didn’t find it.
You seem to be under the impression that such tactics would only be useful in a law enforcement setting. There’s nothing to submit to a court when I just want to tell the Predator drone where to shoot.
So, technically it can be done. Note that your phone needs to be truly powered off (not just on standby mode with the screen off), to prevent any software from recording ambient sounds remotely.
ETA: GPS has nothing to do with it.
ETA2: Someone would need physical access to your device (or access through a security exploit) in order to install the spy software on your phone. There has been a recent alarm in India over China bugging telecom equipment sold to Indian companies, which was then used for espionage. So, if a chip or phone manufacturer wants to cooperate with law enforcement or espionage agencies, there is nothing to prevent them physically from doing it.
How we do it is to install software on the phone to make it appear off when turned off and appear on when turned on. It can then be tracked (like a gps) using the cell phone towers in the normal way.
An incoming connection (used for listening) can also be made without the phone ringing or showing any visible signs of activity. So if it’s meant to be off it still appears off and if on, does not show the incoming call.
The downside is that the phone still consumes battery when supposedly off. And all the fun and games stop if you just remove your battery. The only way around this is for us to gain physical access to your phone and install an additional hardware ‘bug’.