cell phone breadcrumbs from data and voicecalls

I just wanted to let you know that a group of folks are working to get the connectivity data from Jim’s cell phone to build a better view of his initial heading. This includes both the voice (regular phone call) and data (email sync, etc.) components of the connectivity. There is a larger amount of the latter but the problem we are running into is that the carrier doesn’t normally respond with this type of data to law enforcement requests – it is usually only voice traffic that they report on.

If anyone knows anyone who knows anything about using data from cell phones in this way, please let me know.

We’re working this issue at a high level at both Cingular and Microsoft but if anyone has any contacts that might be of use, please send them over.

thanks, Jim

5 Responses to “cell phone breadcrumbs from data and voicecalls”

  1. Lazowska says:


    Check first with Sandra bittner at Argonne, who may have gone down this path. Tom Barclay has the information that Sandra provided.

  2. ScottWedge says:


    Sombody might want to contact Eric Fuqua in Oregon. He is the cell service provider technician who went through this and found the Kim family.


    He got resistance from numerous diretions, and eventually it was a private helo which spotted them. I’m hoping his fame and successful experience might help.

    Yahoo has one in Medford, no phone number.

    I’d do this, but better someone already on this track.

    Scott Wedge, (pilot w/ Jim Bellingham on Thursday)

  3. Jim Karkanias says:

    thanks all – Tom Barclay’s info is looped in on the internal process at Microsoft so that data is factored in.

    I will follow-up with Eric Fuqua in Oregon myself – any contact info is appreciated but I will start on looking for that now.

    Folks can contact me through this site, phone (425.722.1449), or via Joe Hellerstein, Tom Barclay, et al.


  4. Lauren Weinstein says:

    It sounds like there are already probes going through Cingular so this probably will not be necessary, but I do have a variety of high level Cingular contacts that I can push if it will do any good.

    However, I must admit that the circumstances of this situation don’t look terribly encouraging for forensic analysis of any available GSM data, from what I’m hearing. Is there evidence that anything other than a conventional low-power handheld device with its internal antenna was in use? Note that U.S. GSM carriers do not use GPS-assist for E911 functionality, and GSM triangulation is more dependent on multiple signal paths being available.

    Let me know if I can help with this.


  5. Darcy Burner says:

    If nobody yet has the information from Cingular, one possible route would be through law enforcement: since a missing persons report was filed by Jim’s wife, the agency the report was filed with — San Francisco Police? — could ask (through an administrative subpoena or the equivalent) for the information from Cingular. That agency could then share the information with the search team. That gives Cingular legal cover for providing the information, if that’s their concern…

    — Darcy

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