Cops plan to acquire latest mobile tracker

Assam police hope to pinpoint the location of a mobile phone as accurately as within a metre while carrying out anti-terror operations or rescuing hostages soon.

A government source said the police was looking to acquire the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) mobile tracer and locator system to strengthen its technical surveillance capability.

“The police department is planning to obtain the latest technology as part of its anti-terror machinery procurement like sophisticated assault rifles and bullet-proof jackets,” the source said.

“The system will be of great help in finding the exact location of any cellphone based on GSM technology,” he added.

The police are scouting for leading manufacturers and suppliers of such surveillance equipment and a competent party will be selected through a competitive bidding process. “A pre-bid meeting will be held in the conference hall of Assam police headquarters here on September 6,” the source said.

The functioning of the system would have to be such that neither the target (cellphone user) nor the network operator should be able to make out that the location of the particular mobile phone was being traced. It would also have the option of interrupting or preventing communication from the target’s cell phone without the knowledge of the target or the network operator.

“The system will be exclusively used for covert operations, especially in counter-insurgency operations and hostage rescue missions,” the source said.

“The system we intend to procure must have certain technical features. It should confirm the presence of a specific target within a given operational area and its direction finders should be able to pinpoint the target as accurately as within one metre,” he said.

At present, the law enforcement agencies can find the general area where a particular mobile phone is located through the mobile tower to which the cellphone is linked at that point of time by taking the help of mobile service providers, he added.

“If we get the new system, we will be able to zero in on the exact location of the cellphone if we know either the cell number or the IMEI (international mobile equipment identity) number,” he said. The IMEI is a 15-digit code that is unique to a mobile phone handset.

“Even if we don’t know the specific IMEI number and the cell number and know only the approximate location of the target cell phone, the system will capture the identities of all the mobiles in that given area,” he said, adding that the system would be portable and could be safely carried in a vehicle. “We hope that this surveillance equipment will serve as force multiplier for the police,” he added.


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