Alibi Tracker Improvement Program Announcement

Today, October 1st, 2074AD, marks the 50th year since 2034, when Benevolent Brother freed all of humanity on the only 2 continents of Earth.

Since then, for the good of the citizens, Benevolent Brother mandated insertion of 'Alibi Tracking' implants, which can make sure innocent citizens are never wrongfully punished for crimes and soon, thoughtcrimes.

For your information:

  • An Alibi Tracker is an implant that uses the conductive properties of the body to send out wireless signals.
  • technologies have changed little since 2026
  • the tracker is implanted directly into the brain, with clean removal and re-insertion impossible without professional-grade technology
  • it conveys an encrypted signal to nearby cell towers at 2 minute intervals
  • the nearby towers log the signal and store the location to several distributed databases along with brainwave metrics, like emotions felt during Benevolent Brother's speeches
  • Brainwaves serve as a unique ID for Alibi Trackers
  • any interference or loss of signal is logged, and signal loss over 6 minutes will sound an alarm.
  • Alibi does not hold if there is enough time to travel to the crime scene in the timeframe between logs

Is the alibi tracker fool-proof? That is, could someone fake an alibi despite personally committing a crime,say, for illustrative purposes only, wandering several kilometers from their normal route to contact a Railroad group, before heading back?

And, asking so that we may further improve Benevolent Brother's system, could a group of people potentially block or fake tracker signals, without anyone finding out for at least fifteen minutes,so they could make a daring escape via a Railroad boat?

Any responses from this FAQ that go towards improving the tracker shall be rewarded!

Yours Sincerely,

LXXXIV Totally Faithful Corps

PS: a kind reminder to dissenters that the 50th anniversary is 2074, 2+2=5, 20+20=50, so 2034 to 2074 is 50 years. Please do not be caught making basic math mistakes for history, the punishment is severe.

Edit: Best answer should be most widely applicable, and without being too high-profile. Clarity on the question requirements: it should also allow them to both fake an alibi, as well as not trigger the 6 minute alarm across the entire alert system.

  • $\begingroup$ @Trioxidane the brainwaves are unique at any given time, recording and playing the same brainwave will trigger alarms $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 1, 2020 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ ah my accidental comment was visible, even though I immediately removed it. I'll try to think of something else in the answer I wrote. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Oct 1, 2020 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ This looks like your asking about a situation in your world rather than asking about building the world itself. Such questions aren't a good fit for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Oct 1, 2020 at 23:39
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @sphennings this question is about how people would interact with alibi trackers in the world, and whether they can trick them (thus building the world and interactions), not about a specific group or situation. The situation in question is given for satirical purposes, and can be clarified if needed. Rather than downvoting the question, are you able to provide feedback so I could improve it? $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 1, 2020 at 23:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If the device is in the brain, then perhaps a tin-foil hat would, er..., foil it. :) $\endgroup$
    – NomadMaker
    Oct 2, 2020 at 11:57

15 Answers 15



Modern vehicles allow keyless entry and starting. What this is is an NFC token the person carries with a range of a metre or so that allows the person to unlock and start the car without taking the key from their pocket.

Car thieves have beaten this using a spoofing attack. One thief closely follows the person with a receiver and the second thief stands near the car with the transmitter. The receiver picks up the NFC signal and sends it to the transmitter fooling the car into thinking the owner is there. The second thief can then open the car and drive off while the first thief just wanders off into the crowd.

To beat the tracker, the people wear special hats with faraday shielding stopping the original signal. The hat also has a receiver that intercepts the signal and then transmits it to a transmitter at the person's house.

For all intents and purposes, the signal will show the person hasn't left the house. The encryption will be fine and everything will check out as normal.

Bonus points

There is no easy way to defeat this method without adding a secondary check system.

The way you'd do this is with machine learning. You transmit the heart rate and hormone level in the signal. The spoof hat would pass these on as expected but the heart rate and adrenaline levels of someone escaping on a boat isn't going to be the same as someone at home asleep. A machine learning system could pick this up and then request a second verification method for the person's location.

Amazon has just released the "Always Home" cam which is a small robotically controlled patrol drone for your house. I could see BB wanting this in every house for "security" and "safety".......

To escape, people would need the spoofing hat and then to stay perfectly calm and relaxed while running for their lives which is no easy task.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, this answer takes into account a lot of considerations, especially about the brainwave data itself being difficult to fake. +1 $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 0:55
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ The great thing about spoofing is you don't need to understand the data. All you do is pass it along so it doesn't matter what encryption they use or what data they send. It's already their data. You just pass it along. $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Oct 2, 2020 at 0:59
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Additional latency might be detectable to a degree, e.g. with statistical measures. Wouldn't be easy though. $\endgroup$
    – liori
    Oct 2, 2020 at 21:15
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I feel like detecting latency will be much easier than using heart rate or what not. $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2020 at 21:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ However, what can foil any relay attack, is precise phase measurement of the signal from several receivers. This is like the reverse of GPS: Instead of receiving a signal from several senders, measuring phase shift, and determining position, a single signal is received by several receivers, measuring phase shift, to determine the position of the sender. Any delay of the signal due to the relay will make the sender appear far away from the earth surface (much further than the relay distance!), or directly fail localization if the receivers are not coplanar (= satellites). $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2020 at 10:19

Faraday cages.

There will be times when a citizen has to enter a building, room, or other structure where the signal is not transmitted. All such structures require the citizen to transmit the information just before entering, along with notice that they are aware that their alibi is insecure.

If the citizen happened to wear a portable Faraday cage while leaving, and returning, it might even appear that the citizen never left until the transmission restarted on leaving a second time.

This cage, being a metal structure, would be visible so the citizen might have to choose the location carefully.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Good idea, perpetuate the crime in a blind spot, essentially. Although signals in most buildings will be able to make it out; modern day lte is good enough to be used in apartments, I suppose they will need to devise a way to get out then back into a building like that without being detected. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 1, 2020 at 22:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Of course, Benevolent Brother will know if you aren't checking in. If a location is known to be Alibi Insecure then Benevolent Brother can arrange for alternative means of alibi tracking (signal repeaters, security guards, sign-in lists etc). If you fail to check in when at a location that is not known to be Alibi Insecure then Benevolent Brother will need to bring you in for questioning. To verify the integrity of the Alibi Tracking network, of course. Don't want any blind spots where Loyal Citizens might be accused of a crime they didn't commit! $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Oct 2, 2020 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ That's why you have to notify BB when you check into such a place and out of again. $\endgroup$
    – Mary
    Oct 2, 2020 at 12:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mary If a Loyal Citizen accidentally ends up in a situation where the Alibi Tracker is non-functioning and they haven’t notified Benevolent Brother, Benevolent Brother will need to ask them about the circumstances surrounding their lack of an Alibi to make sure the Alibi Tracking network is still working properly. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Oct 2, 2020 at 15:14
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ The trick here is workplaces that oblige you to work in a faraday cage, particularly working with EM-sensitive and high voltage equipment. These are occupations where you have to let workers be out of signal for prolonged periods just to get the job done. That means BB is forced to rely on secondary measures like guards, sign in sheets, and cameras - but those are of course much more fallible than brain chips $\endgroup$
    – Pingcode
    Oct 2, 2020 at 15:40

Brainwave pattern masking

Brains are incredible in their adaptability (neuroplasticity) and functionality. With effort, you can train your brain to do all sorts of neat tricks, including but not limited to: math, driving, playing darts, and controlling robotic limbs.

This means, through coordinated or directed activity, implanted individuals could mask their signals in two ways:

  • Stealth in a crowd: Get a large number of like-minded individuals to bring their mental state into alignment. This can be most easily accomplished through religious or ritualized proceedings. Have a crowd of people all chanting the same hymn, smelling the same incense, and feeling the same drumbeats. Music, in particular, can have deep effects on mental state and if enough people spread over a large enough area are projecting similar enough brainwaves (synchronized through music), triangulating individuals becomes much more difficult.

  • Stealth in an open field: For the individuals most dedicated to the task of avoiding alibi tracking, there is a simple solution: have no (or very weak) distinguishing brainwaves. One must simply practice meditation and clearing ones mind until one is capable of moving around and performing actions without thought or emotional response in a permanent, zen-like state. Even if these "blank" brainwave patterns can still be tracked, a dedicated group of cultists should be able to achieve mental harmony to such a degree that the brainwaves of their operatives are indistinguishable and therefore untriangulateable.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Interesting Answer! To fool the brainwave identification system is a good idea. Please report to the guard corps to be dully rewarded $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 1, 2020 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ Meditation seems to suppresses higher (conscious/executive) thoughts. I don't think you can use meditation to suppress brainwaves in, for example, the motor cortex. $\endgroup$
    – cowlinator
    Oct 2, 2020 at 1:12
  • $\begingroup$ The movie *Criss Cross reminds us that people can conspire to commit crimes, which could foil the Alibi Tracker - unless the tracker can be used to ask "who was in the vicinity when the crime occurred?" If it can, then I'm voting for drones. A well-programmed drone, combined with Thermite after the mission is over, would likely foil the Tracker every time. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 2, 2020 at 2:58
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ One other way to alter your brainwaves would be to use drugs. $\endgroup$
    – Leo
    Oct 2, 2020 at 9:02

Our company has been smuggling peopleand goods since before Benevolent Brother started leading the world right way, in 2026. Alibi Tracker is an added complexity and we correspondingly increased our prices but far for insurmountable. It is crucial however that you only trust professionals for such delicate task of leaving our Happy World.

We offer multiple services related to the Alibi Tracker, including the complete removal of the Alibi Tracker on a proper place with all health guarantees and even performed by a, ehm, doctor (don't worry, we have good colaborators). Although that's only recommended if you do not wish to come back into your old life again.

A much more popular service is one where we move you to a different place out of sight of the Benevolent Brother. This involves a place were you supposedly are (your home is a common choice, but a church, like other comments suggested do provide some nice properties). We then put you inside a Faraday Cage and transport you inside it with your tracker signal not (directly) reaching his receivers. We place a receptor inside the cage which transfers it to the outside, from which we send it via fast connection to an emitter located on your purported place. We then take you back (or not) and remove the signal blocking.

The extra transmission involves a delay, but it is a gradual one, and the receivers won't notice anything special. Your brain waves are reaching them every 2 minutes (note they do implemente a toleration margin), it's just that they were "thought" slightly earlier than they are made to think. For an higher rate, we also offer the option of a mobile purported position, where the emitter is carried by an agent (further complicating any analysis).

The crucial part -and reason why you should contract a with experience such as us- is to keep you isolated so that your Tracker signal doesn't reach the towers near your real location. We have a fleet of lorries suited to the task, and iolated hotel rooms where you can meet with your business associate, lovers, philosophy group, etc. even escaping via a Railroad boat. This would even allow you to perform a physical crime (within a Faraday cage, remember!), although we discourage attempting that. We have specialized for that type of needs. Clients interested in that type of result are welcome to contact our violent crimes department for a quote at 91xx....

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Angel's smuggling services? I have heard of this before. So you're suggesting a smuggling service DARES exist under Benevolent Brother's grace? do you offer quotes for people smuggling? We heard some colleagues used your services, we need a boat out of the shore on Placina Port. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ Fantastic idea. A delay system wouldn't even need to be digitally decrypted, just repeated with a ping of 6000000ms $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2020 at 14:40

Brainwaves serve as a unique ID for Alibi Trackers.

I don't understand how that could work. Brainwaves are not something we think about when discussing biometrics. You generally can't look at an EEG and say "oh, those are Mike's beta waves!"

And this could be the breach you need. Record someone's brainwaves at a given time and context, you are able to simulate those later on a machine. Your copy does not have to be precisely perfect, it only has to be close enough.

Another weak point is the fact that technology has changed little in the last fo... I mean, fifty years. That is a big help to hackers. All the vulnerabilities of the technology will be known, so they may be able to obtain an implant's cryptography keys somehow.

Now all you need is some tinkering and you can send a signal that perfectly mimicries someone. They can commit crimes while wearing full body chain mail under winter clothing (an impromptu faraday cage under a disguise) without the fear that they will miss their biminutely ping, because a device somewhere else will be sending signals on their behalf.

Alternatively, flood the system with fake signals to the point where authorities cannot trust the system anymore. That would be more fun for hackers.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I knew someone would catch me for that brainwave one sooner or later, but it was too late to change the question :(. So essentially, make use of the apparently outdated technology to fake some signals. +1. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 0:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Just because we can't currently distinguish between people by their brainwaves doesn't mean we never will. I can't look at someone's finger prints or iris and go "oh, that's Mike's finger/eyeball" but they're used as biometrics now. $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2020 at 9:24

Set a booby trap in advance, but design it in a way that it look like the crime was committed in person.

This might require some clever contraptions, ways to hide them, and opportunity to remove them. But if you plan your crime well, you might be able to kill someone while you are far away, but convince an unskilled detective that the crime must have been committed in person by someone who was at the crime scene.

For example:

  1. Obtain a firearm, preferably legally.
  2. Develop and deploy a mechanism which points the gun at a door and triggers when someone opens it.
  3. Trick your enemy into opening the door while you are close to the scene, but still too far away to have fired the gun yourself. I would assume that the trackers are also able to reliably log the exact time of death. When they are not, make sure there is a witness who hears the gunshot and can attest the exact time.
  4. When you hear the gunshot, get to the crime scene, remove the mechanism but keep the gun at the scene.
  5. Wait for the police to arrive (calling them yourself might make it even more convincing, but this might be unnecessary in a surveillance state).
  6. Tell them you found your enemy dead and the gun on the ground. But you obviously couldn't have fired the shot, because you were too far away and your alibi tracker proves it.

A smart detective might be able to poke a hole in your story, find evidence and witnesses you didn't think about and still get you convicted. But that's a story to write for a crime fiction author.

Or if that's too complicated for your taste: poison their food or drink. When someone dies from a slow-acting poison, then it might be very hard to find out when they ingested it and even harder to find out when exactly the poison was planted and by whom.

Again, a smart detective might be able to narrow down the number of possible suspects to just you and dig up some incriminating evidence which proves you did it. But that's again another story.

  • $\begingroup$ Great answer, exploit the tracker to commit the crime. Could this method be extended somehow to allow an escape? $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 11:36

People have been bringing up Faraday Cages and other blind spots, so here's a couple of ways to improve the "Alibi" Tracker to remove these blind spots.

  1. Two-Factor Authentication. While the "Alibi" Tracker is very effective at what it does, there are other ways to do it. Specifically, I'm thinking of that telescreen Mobile Errata Retrieval Devices ("MERDe") which everybody carries around in their pockets. Simply install some discreet tracking software to record all sounds, no matter how minute, and then periodically transmits them to you. It'll hog some memory, but nobody really needs all of it. It's a good thing that Miniplenty recently came out with these new-and-improved ultra-high-capacity 1G hard-drives...

  2. Install a MicroSD in the "Alibi" Tracker. Just because the Proles have to use floppy disks doesn't mean that Benevolent Brother does. Sure, the MicroSD only has room to store 10 minutes of brain-patterns, but that's why breaks are required every 10 minutes when working in blind spots. Studies have proven that longer exposure to such environments tend to result in unfortunate "accidents".

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good ideas. Mobile phones will be rerouted for surveillance use. You're hired. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 1, 2020 at 22:51

Record and play

It depends on if the signals sent can be received by third parties and further security on it.

The signals can be caught by multiple devices, otherwise triangulation would be impossible. A device capturing the signals that you send out can record them, regardless of security. After you've got enough, you hit play and send out the same brainwaves of you doing good things. You yourself get a personal Faraday cage and do your stuff.

  • What if they see my brainwaves being "bad" before that? You're already able to avoid capture before you thought of this and we can assume some of them were bad before. Or maybe you're just doing a "harmless experiment" before you realise the evil or whatever. Alternatively someone else can rope you into it, capturing your signals without your knowledge, then putting you in a Faraday cage and hit play.
  • Can't they put further security to prevent this? They certainly can. Time stamps or security keys that get updated every x time can make such things obvious and prevent such tampering. The stream would need to be decoded and this changed to work, which makes it implausible.


The technology is nearly 60 years old. In that time, many security weaknesses, both physically and digitally, must have been found. It is unlikely some people aren't completely dominating the technology and make it do whatever they want. Both for their own implants as well as the main servers. Can be prevented by "the technology behind it hasn't changed much in these years, although they do have frequent mandatory software and hardware upgrades".

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, certainly, it may be possible, though the encryption in place and unique brainwaves potentially being recorded twice means it is more difficult to do. Please report to the guard corps to be dully rewarded for your answer. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 1, 2020 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Enthus3d it'll be difficult to change my answer. But you can just put a faraday cage on you, capture the signals and send them to a proxy, which will sent it to the towers. Go fully offline for the dirty deeds and online again right after. It'll look like you're still in your apartment while you're not. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Oct 1, 2020 at 22:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ no change is required, it is perfectly valid. If, say, you have some recorded data from a few days ago, or months ago, it may be hard to figure out which is which at the time of receiving. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 11:11

Benevolent Brother,

We here at the glorious BB Mathematical institute have discovered a flaw in your brainwave recordings! We chanced upon brainwave records that we were doing for our statistical analysis of how uniformly we love you when we discovered something entirely shocking!

There are entire records with no information recorded! Unfortunately, we had to consign some of our own mathematicians to the police force as they were thinking heretically but, we may have discovered the lapse in your system!

If you concentrate hard enough on the wrong answer for 2+2, the station refreshes your Alibi Timer but crashes the recording of info to the system! We heretically recommend using a heretical numbering scheme in order to have the Alibi system catch those Heretics!

Sincerely yours,

A, L, E and X, The Mathematics 5

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good catch, AL+EX from the Mathematical Institute, we will take this into account while fixing the system. Keep up the good work. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 14:05

Make the brotherhood stop trusting them and remove them for you!

Find a person who is willing to commit a crime regardless of punishment. (Eg jilted lover wanting to kill their ex, religious zealot, rascist, etc). Arrange for them to kill their target in public view in the centre of town in front of dozens of witnesses.

However their alibi tracker says they were 20km away commuting peacefully home from work. Everyone, brotherhood included, will start to distrust the system when it fails at it's most obvious function.

How do you fake location data?

You didnt actually describe how it's getting the location data. There are two ways:

  • GPS (or other time of flight approaches).

    • GPS signals are weak, and can easily be overriden by a transmitter hidden nearby transmitting slightly different timing data, putting them on their normal commute rather than in town murdering.
    • After the first fix is found, most GPS systems will extrapolate positions when imperfect signals arrive, making this comparatively easy. (You may only need to fake a single satellite for the system to extrapolate a straight line route).
    • The killer calmly jogs his commute, hits play on the hidden transmitter, calmly jogs into town, and , between pings, kills victim, and jogs back towards his commute. Discarding the device once his real path converged with the recorded one.
    • (If the brotherhood think 2+2=5 they wont be able to debug the gps system. You need to understand special and general relativity to get a precise fix).
  • Cell tower strength.

    • The killer has a portable cell repeater, which captures his signal, and forwards it over a different network (eg a chain of people holding wifi repeaters) to an accomplice walking the route.
    • The pings are logged with location data implicitly from the relative signal strengths of the retransmitted packet

After the alibi data shows that a clearly guilty person is innocent, the entire system will be called into question. You may need to repeat this kind of PR disaster a few times, but eventually the brotherhood will realise the trackers are flawed.

If the system cant be trusted to detect someone murdering someone in the city centre, they cant trust it to stop people escaping. Less value will be placed on the data, they wont monitor it as closely, and they may stop implanting it in children (at considerable expense) if they're ignoring it.

Or they may remove it from everyone to get their money back from the place they bought it from. (Since their maths knowledge implies they didnt invent the tech themselves).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Cool! A systemic approach by spreading misinformation and doubt about the effectiveness of the system, very novel! Though we may need you to come in for questioning now. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 11:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ cough cough and the 2+2=5 is specifically used for historical purposes, so people can properly remember the correct dates things have occurred. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 11:13

As Angel pointed out, the system as you described is vulnerable to MitM and proxying attacks.

For a secure alibi, we need the process to work like this:

  • Every 2 minutes, give or take a few random seconds to avoid predictability, the Cell Tower (CT) sends Alibi Tracker (AT) a "ping" request that contains a unique one-time code. This request is encrypted with AT's public key, so only AT can read it. To get AT's private key, you'd need to dig open your head and perform some serious hackery on the AT.
  • AT replies with the code, the GPS location, the GPS timestamp, and the encoded brain wave signature, all encrypted with CT's public key.

CT then knows these things:

  1. Whether AT has responded to this and/or any previous requests.
  2. Whether AT has responded with the correct code.
  3. The brainwaves that AT has previously responded with.
  4. The triangulated location AT's response came from, accurate to about 1000m.
  5. The GPS location encoded in AT's response, accurate to about 10m.
  6. The GPS location of CT, accurate to about 1m.
  7. The time it should take messages to travel between CT and AT at light speed, accurate to about 0.00001% due to variations in the refractive index of the atmosphere.
  8. The exact amount of time it takes AT to encrypt and send its response, accurate to maybe a few nanosecs.
  9. Any internal signal-processing time of the tower, accurate to maybe a few nanosecs.
  10. The GPS time encoded in AT's response, accurate to about 10 nanosecs.
  11. The GPS time CT requested a response from AT, accurate to about 10 nanosecs.
  12. The GPS time CT received the response, accurate to about 10 nanosecs.

The following tricks are therefore avoided:

  • 1 detects merely silencing the response with a tin-foil hat. This is probably the only trick that would get cops sent out in an obvious way to investigate.
  • 2 detects attempts to replay the response, or to generate the response before the request was sent.
  • 3 detects unusual thought patterns. Not something that would get anyone sent out obviously, but literally as an alibi: if someone was murdered where you were, you claim you saw nothing, but your brainwaves were very unusual for that location and time of day, then you have no alibi.
  • Comparing 4 to 5 detects GPS spoofing.
  • Comparing 4 and 5 to 6 gives the distance between the two, which gives item 7.
  • Adding 7+8+9+10 and comparing to 12 detects the delays caused by message proxying as described in Angel's answer.
  • Subtracting 9 from 7 and comparing to 11 detects generation or transmission delays between requesting the message and getting a response, such as might be caused when trying to spoof the response.

Light speed is ~300,000 km/sec, so 10km is 10/300,000 seconds, or about 33 microseconds. 66 for a round trip.

The inaccuracy of cell triangulation is quite high: only to the nearest 1000m (about 3 light-milliseconds). So we can only calculate transmission times to the tower with an accuracy of about 3ms.

Still, if a signal is delayed by 33 microseconds each way, that's 10 times the deviation we're willing to accept, and it means there's something up.

With a system like this, proxying as described by Angel could work, but only within at most 1000m of where you're meant to be.

You might be able to get a few more meters out of it, if instead of a single proxy, you put one on each triangulating cell tower, with a directional antenna to speak only to that tower. But it wouldn't help much.

Worse, the 1000m becomes MUCH less in areas where there are a lot of cell towers so triangulation is more accurate. And you can never tell how many towers there are, since they could be hidden. It would be in BB's interest to have lots of them.

Benevolent Brother is not stupid.

In the case of sophisticated tricks, no alarm would sound, no paddy-wagons get sent out. That's for people who just put on tin-foil hats and call it a day, not for sophisticated hackers.

Benevolent Brother knows that everything like this is an arms race: once people know that their clever tricks don't work any more, they go to ground until they can develop cleverer and cleverer tricks. So it's important to let them think they are winning the arms race, so they don't develop better tricks.

So, BB is unlikely to act overtly against someone using Angel's proxying trick, and instead will focus other surveillance methods on them until it's certain that everyone involved in producing the system has been identified, and he knows what they are planning... which he might even allow to continue. A little smuggling of goods is a small price for society to pay, for the ability to closely monitor all those who might be likely to cause problems to that society.

They then become the coalmine canary: if someone else more dangerous needs some trouble, he's bound to contact the local hoods, and so expose himself.

If BB does make any busts, he'll make sure to publicly credit "informants" rather than technology.

Since anyone who made proxying or spoofing equipment would be known, and all uses of the equipment would be of highest interest to BB, anyone getting hold of the equipment for a sophisticated trick would likely already be under very close surveillance before even using it.

So, if you can't fool it, what can you do?

I think the answer is obvious. They're tracking the movements of your head, your phone, your car, your public transport use, your creditcard use. They're using facial recognition on the surveillance cameras on every corner, and every cellphone and car is also a surveillance camera. They will know if you go anywhere you shouldn't be.

So if the smuggler's den is under a big farmer's market, take up an interest in fresh fruit and veg, and then you're just visiting the market. The resistance contact works in an art gallery? Well, it's the weekend, why not visit some museums and galleries? Why it's practically your civic duty to gaze upon those portraits and busts of Benevolent Brother every now and then.

To evade the Alibi Tracker, you don't need fancy technology hacks. You need... an ALIBI.

  • $\begingroup$ Great points about the authentication tokens, there’s just one problem with the latency calculations though, light can travel 300,000km per second, or 300km per ms, a deviation of one ms is 300km, so 1ms latency is 150km. 4G towers are roughly 50ms base latency, and 5G is 1ms, so using a proxy with 5G still gives at least 15-150km of wiggle room, if it’s 4G they would have 750km. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ I would say the GPS location of the device being sent is enough to kill spoofing attempts, especially combined with proper encryption. But... we can’t let you warn any of the others here that we’re sending more than just ‘brainwaves’ out, or of our operations. Join the Institute, we will give you one hour to comply, otherwise a ‘bounty’ will be issued on your head. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ all good, with 5G alone the latency is enough to detect most escape attempts, just the magnitude was off a bit $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 23:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Please correct me if I'm missing something, I'm not really an expert on the exact workings on these latency numbers; I've seen them range from between <1ms to 1-10 to 1-20ms from various sources for 5g, (and these are probably not transmission time) $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 3, 2020 at 1:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Absolutely, thank you for describing some of the things BB will have done to improve tracking and make it airtight. I think the spoofing answer is more canonical, but as promised, a bounty will go to this answer in a few days. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 8, 2020 at 15:25

Move the crime

The Museum of Brother Benevolent has been broken into, and his Kindergarten Lunch Box has been vandalized. Both the Box and its glass case was destroyed by a small bomb. This happened at night.

It is not clear how the vandal(s) got into the building, but it is huge and has many possible entrance points. There were no Alibi transmissions nearby at the time. Investigators are puzzled.

What actually happened was that the sacred Lunch Box had been sent on a tour a few months earlier. Somebody took the opportunity to place the bomb in the Box then, and it was counting down until the fateful night.

This was inspired by the novel

"Theft of Pride" by Jack Sharp (pen name of Andy Weir).

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, although this might not work for the purposes of escape, performing the crime this way makes it more difficult to track down. Good answer :) $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 2, 2020 at 11:07

Tired of over-complicated plans to escape that will inevitably trip you up on some small detail and ruin your day? Sometimes the simplest answer is the best.

Fake your own death

This tried-and-true method has been working for people to escape responsibility since long before Benevolent Brother came along, and it can work for you too. Of course, the big double-B keeps careful track of people's death these days, so it will need to be done carefully. But accidents still happen and bodies aren't always recovered despite their best efforts, so fake death is still going strong for people just like you.

The most effective strategy seems to be the "lost in the wilderness" type of accidental death. Rent a deep-sea fishing boat and vanish far from land. Go climbing in some remote mountain range and take a wrong turn into a nasty storm. Or board your trusty Cessna for a routine test flight over the desert. Whatever you choose, just make sure you're somewhere remote when you don the Faraday cage these other answers are so fond of using. And if you're in a vehicle, make sure there's little left of it when you abandon it and head for the rendezvous point with your accomplice or getaway vehicle. And remember to keep that cage on until you get your dastardly deed done! (And you might want to wait some weeks or months "off the grid" if your victim is in any way linked to your former life to reduce suspicion. Just some friendly advice!)

Once the heat has died down around your nefarious deed, simply reemerge with a harrowing tale of survival. Or don't- you might enjoy being free and simply remain "in the cage" living an anonymous life. Or head out of BB territory and live a completely unmonitored life for the rest of your days. You're free now, so it's up to you!

Good luck and enjoy the many benefits of faking your own death!

  • $\begingroup$ Not a bad idea, it could be hard making a good plan that works before they are alerted, but I can see this working if things are carried out right. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 3, 2020 at 5:30

Mass sabotage

If only your signal gets lost, you stick out as the sole suspect. If you could sabotage the system so that hundreds of people's signals get lost, you're safe. So bring down a few mobile towers, cause a blackout, block radio signals or something like that and you have a time window to go anywhere you want. Just make sure nothing about the crime points back to you. And have an old-fashioned alibi ready.

  • $\begingroup$ Good idea, so attack the system rather than try to fool it. +1 $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 14, 2020 at 12:46

The person to be smuggled steps into a steel shipping container on the back of a truck, and the door is closed. It isn't a perfect Faraday cage, but it is enough to stop the towers getting the tracker signal clearly enough to decrypt it, and it doesn't look suspicious driving around.

At a leisurely 50km/h, they can get 5km away before the alarm goes off. Or they can go 2km, commit a quick thought crime, and come back.

  • $\begingroup$ This is not enough, as after 6 minutes the alarms will go off. Neither will they have an alibi, nor will they have gotten the '15' minutes they needed. $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Oct 1, 2020 at 22:26

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