Cell phone tracking is a debated issue as it has impact on the privacy of the cell phone users. The cell phone tracking methods differs across agencies and countries. This article takes a look at the most widely used cell phone tracking methods in Australia.
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Cell Phone Tracking – An Introduction
The principle of cell phone tracking system is that the cell phone continuously emits signals received by the nearest cell phone service provider's tower. As long as the cell phone is switched on, it transmits signals that are used by government, and sometimes private, agencies to track the movement of the cell phone and thereby, the person carrying it.
A major problem in cell phone tracking is the infringement of the cell phone owner's privacy. It is a subject of debate and controversies for long. This is why, not all governments or countries have legalized cell phone tracking. For some countries, including the US, cell phone tracking is limited to investigation agencies. Other countries like Australia and Switzerland have several non-governmental agencies tracking cell phones.
Though there are several methods of cell phone tracking, the here we will look at the two major technologies used for cell phone tracking in Australia.
Image Courtesy: Aphonetracker
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Cell Phone Tracking Techniques – GSM based Cell Phone Tracking
If you are using GSM for tracking cell phones, you can check out on the nearest tower that receives the GSM radio signals. GSM cell phones' technology works based on small, equal, and adjacent areas. Each area is termed a "cell". An entire region covered by a service provider contains several such cells. This may lead to corrupt data when the cell phone is on or near the border of two adjacent "cells" – creating intersection of data over two different signals: a small disadvantage of GSM based cell phone tracking.
On the other hand, as you receive continuous information from the service provider about the cell where the phone is travelling, you need not perform much calculation for tracking cell phones. If the cell phone is on roaming, the computations will be little more complex as you have to consider the base (home cell) and then determine the "cell" or area where the cell phone is roaming.
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Cell Phone Tracking Techniques – GPS based Cell Phone Tracking
The GPS based cell phone tracking offers high precision so that you can trace the cell phone to maximum precision. Cell phone tracking agencies in Australia can use not only the "home cell" (place where the SIM belongs) and nearest tower for tracking cell phone, they can also get information regarding the longitude, latitude, and elevation of the GPS enabled cell phone. All these inputs add up to a measurement that offers precise cell phone tracking. This technique also has several drawbacks that indicate that it is still a long way to go before the GPS method of cell phone tracking can be used widely.
The basic problem is that not every cell phone in Australia carries a GPS unit. This makes the cell phone tracking agencies to fall back on the GSM based system. Another problem is that the GPS unit should be transmitting signals strong enough to be deciphered properly. In case of weak signals, the Australian cell phone tracking agencies rely on RSSI to enhance the signal for obtaining exact location with reduced error co-efficient. If the GPS module is turned off, the cell phone tracking systems in Australia again fall back on the GSM method of cell phone tracking.
Having studied both techniques, it is understood that the GSM based cell phone tracking system is used more effectively in Australia and can be used to track people without their knowledge thereby posing a danger to their privacy. This calls for certain regulations in place so that the whereabouts of the user involved in cell phone tracking stays in secure hands.
For GPS based cell phone tracking in Australia, it is recommended that the user too should be involved in the cell phone tracking so that she/he may use a GPS enabled handset and keep the GPS unit on so that the signals are transmitted over a secure frequency available only to the authorized agencies.
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