Met Has Mobile Phone Surveillance Technology

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 79 months ago
Met Has Mobile Phone Surveillance Technology

The Met has bought technology that allows it to track, intercept text messages and get information from mobile phones across an area of 10km2, the Guardian has found.

A couple of years ago the police force paid £143k to a company called Datong, which supplies "intelligence solutions for international military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies". The Guardian puts that into more day-to-day language: the hardware can shut phones off remotely (to prevent remote triggering of a bomb) but can also make your phone use the police's own network, giving up your IMSI and IMEI identifying numbers - which allow your phone to be tracked and, combined with information from other handsets in the area, show who you're meeting up with. It can also intercept your calls and messages.

£143k is a lot of money to spend just to be wheeled out in the event of a terrorist threat. The Met have refused to confirm or deny whether the tech is used during protests; but, given their bizarre stance on sending undercover operatives into protest movements, we wouldn't be surprised. So if you've been down to check out OccupyLSX, there's a chance the police know about it.

Photo by _nejire_ from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 31 October 2011

William K Wallace

I have to totally
disagree. I personally think that £143,000 spent on technology that
could prevent a terrorist atrocity happening and which has the
potential to save many life’s is a bargain. Some of London's rich
and famous folks spend more than that on nights out!

If the police know I
have been down to check out OccupyLSX so what, I aint got anything to

Nikhil Shah

"£143k is a lot of money to spend just to be wheeled out in the event of a terrorist threat" Not really - it's probably less than the severance package awarded to a chief commissioner who had to step down early because he failed to prevent a bomb going off. In public spending terms, it's merely a rounding error.

Rachel Holdsworth

What I meant was, it's a lot of money to spend on tech and have it just sitting around waiting for a known terrorist threat. If you have that kind of kit in the back room, wouldn't the temptation be to wheel it out whenever you fancy gaining a bit more info...?