A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend postedphotos of it online... It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted their expensive device back, the student told Wired.com in an interview Wednesday.
…A reader quickly identified it as an Orion Guardian ST820 tracking device made by an electronics company called Cobham, which sells the device only to law enforcement.
The former agent, who asked not to be named, said the device was an older model of tracking equipment that had long ago been replaced by devices that don’t require batteries. Batteries die and need to be replaced if surveillance is ongoing so newer devices are placed in the engine compartment and hardwired to the car’s battery so they don’t run out of juice. He was surprised this one was so easily found.
“It has to be able to be removed but also stay in place and not be seen,” he said. “There’s always the possibility that the car will end up at a body shop or auto mechanic, so it has to be hidden well. It’s very rare when the guys find them.”
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Not really all replaced by new devices, as you can find local police still purchasing these things…
Google search for: "Orion Guardian ST820" shows that it costs about $6000 and requires an annual paid subscription for the tracking software! This is apparently still being purchased, (see recent Santa Cruz Sheriff dept purchase authorization via Google).
What a rip off. All this thing contains is a GPS, a CDMA cellphone data transmitter and batteries.
Ham radio gear "APRS" can do this for a couple of hundred $, with free tracking software!
Right… a HW product is only worth it’s parts!! There are no development costs, your don’t have to support the devices you sell and your employees don’t want to be payed.
Can the FBI prove that it’s there device?
What happens if you’ve sold or disassembled it before they’ll knock on you door?