Gadgets for humans

Want to see the insides of an FBI tracking device?


In conjunction with Wired, iFixit got their hands on an FBI tracking device. You know, the one that’s attached to your rear bumper right now with industrial strength magnets? Since it’s iFixit, you can imagine what they did next. Check out the innards of one of the FBI’s most valuable assets.

Apparently this particular device was attached to the car of an animal rights activist that was being tracked by the FBI. She was being surveilled for months by actual human officers but when she confronted one of them, the tracking seemed to stop. Then, after hearing about activists that had found devices on their cars she rushed out to her garage to check the car.

In what is one of the few examples of a paranoid activist actually finding that they’re being covertly tracked, she discovered the device attached to her car’s bumper with strong magnets. She turned the device over to Wired who covered the story here. They then turned to iFixit to tear down the device.

iFixit discovered some interesting items like the fact that the device uses an ancient GPS processor that was released in 1999. It also looks like the device is hand-soldered instead of commercially produced, due to the imperfect alignment of the components on the board.

They summed up their review by noting that the device was easily repairable, giving a 10 out of 10 on their index. They also added the following bullet points.

  • The FBI will find you if you find their tracking device.
  • You cannot choose to be not tracked by the FBI.
  • You can legally be tracked by one of these units.
  • We’ll be right back, the FBI is knocking on our door.

You can check out the whole teardown here and read the Wired piece here.

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Published May 9, 2011 — 15:21 UTC