NSA Can Still Track Your Cell Phone, Even If It’s Turned Off

Can your cell phone be used to track your location, even when it's powered off?

Can your cell phone be used to track your location, even when it’s powered off?

You might be wondering: Can my cell phone be tracked, even if it’s turned off? A recent report indicates that the National Security Agency is allowed to obtain location information on almost anyone. And they can do it even if the individual’s smart phone is powered off.

It claims that this technology was developed in 2004 in a combined effort between the military, CIA, NSA, and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). According to a Washington Post report, by this time analysts for the NSA and data collection agencies had been helping them for three years, during attempts to track down and kill “high value targets” within terrorist cells and militant groups in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In light of recent scrutiny over the NSA’s broad surveillance program, that includes collection and monitoring of emails, social media posts, and other internet traffic, the ability to track a cell phone user’s location isn’t a secret. However, most people would be surprised to learn that even if a mobile phone is turned off, it can still emit signals and be traced, with the help of third party spyware, which can be remotely installed on the device.

There are some privacy-concerned people who suggest physically removing the battery from their device as an added precaution. The belief is that not only can the phone be used for location tracking, but it can also serve as a remote listening device, recording your activities without your knowledge.

The recent leak of secret documents via former contractor Edward Snowden has caused the NSA to be the focus of much controversy over its massive collection of personal data worldwide. Accusations brought against the agency include the capture of phone communications, emails, financial transactions, internet activity, and other records. The information the agency has on file concern hundreds of millions of ordinary people who aren’t suspects of any crime, or considered to be a national security threat of any kind.

Critics of the NSA are calling its program a gross violation of personal privacy. What are your thoughts? Have you ever removed the battery from your device over privacy concerns? Let us know in the comments below.

Image by Elvert Barnes

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