Dirtbox Phone Call Snooping in San Bernardino

TURNAGAIN, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA, UNITED STATES - 2009/06/18: Small airplane in flight. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Right after the tragic attacks that took place in San Bernardino federal investigators launched a spy plane over the area to see if they could find accomplices.   The plane circled above the area in hopes of finding out extra information.  It is said that the aircraft most likely had dirtbox technology that can scan hundreds of phones to obtain clues into the investigation.

More about Dirtbox technology:


  1. Any plane with a dirtbox cellphone device can scan multiple cellphones looking for a subject.
  2. Other cellphones that are not targeted are released as the dirtbox gathers more information on the target.
  3. The plane continues to move and gather signal strength.
  4. The end result is that the plane can identify the perpetrator from within 3 meters.  The police can then come in and arrest them.

Could this mean that there were other suspects involved with the San Bernardino attacks?  Or was the plane just launched to scan through myriad phone calls to find suspicious activity?

Sofrep initially broke the news by saying that the use of the spy plane showed that law enforcement was ‘actively searching for other members of a terrorist cell.’

According to Sofrep, the Pilatus PC-12 was used for the cell phone snooping.  This is similar to the aircraft sent by the military to missions in Africa.

Sofrep also revealed a map of the flight path for the aircraft which demonstrated that it made numerous circles over the area around Farook’s home in San Bernardino.

Does it make you feel safer to know that the government can deploy aircraft’s to listen in on conversation?  Or is this a violation of privacy?  Should crafts like this only be used in the case of a terrorist attack or should dirtbox deployments be common place for the common good?  Weigh in below with your comments.  We would love to hear from you..

You may also like...