The bots have detected police and news helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, military aircraft (https://twitter.com/SkyCirclesSF/status/1227832420918935552), blimps (https://twitter.com/SkyCirclesLA/status/1213310909302493184), autogryos (https://twitter.com/SkyCirclesLA/status/1216464781869121536), power line inspection helicopters (https://twitter.com/SkyCirclesLA/status/1210280545952776193), and helicopters filming race cars (https://twitter.com/lemonodor/status/1228100397337702400).
ADS-B Exchange is the only completely uncensored, global aircraft tracking network. And it's powered by a considerable amount of specialized open source software. Even the multilateration client (https://github.com/adsbxchange/mlat-client) and server (https://github.com/adsbxchange/mlat-server) code that can determine an aircraft's position even when it's not broadcasting its coordinates, using the time-of-arrival information from multiple receivers, is online. tar1090 (https://github.com/wiedehopf/tar1090) is a much more efficient replacement for the old Virtual Radar Server front-end that is currently under development, and can be tried at https://tar1090.adsbexchange.com/
There are times when I do want to let everyone know where I am and who I am. This allows others to avoid running their vehicle into mine and improve rescue efforts if I'm in danger. So I think these sorts of digital beacons and aggregators can be a great improvement to support that mission.
If the nav beacon is mandated for safety reasons, I do not think that I should be required to give my personal information if I choose not to, and if there is a navigational concern, I don't think I should give more information than I need to to enable safe navigation. I think it's enough to provide telemetry (e.g. there is a boat, plane, car or drone at location x, y, and z).
I personally believe that people should own their data and forcing people to give more information than required to accomplish the task (e.g. navigation) is a problem for me. DJI's position is closer to what I'd prefer to see in this case.
Tracking aircraft simply is not the same as tracking, say, all my neighbors.
Many in this community get awfully nervous about things like police surveillance of cars, license plate tracking, etc. The Police say they need it just for special cases like crime, but we all know the dangers of dragnet surveillance. This is also dragnet surveillance; it's the same violation of privacy if the mode of transportation is different. Many on this forum think it's fun though because the mechanism is a bit nerdy and they aren't the ones being surveilled.
It's a bit like having a box in your car which automatically alerts the authorities every time you exceed the speed limit.
This is sousveillance, not surveillance.
You'd be surprised how many middle and upper middle class americans fly.
As you can see the same argument can be applied to any form of mass surveillance.
There are likely to be other information sources that are out there in the open. I assume there's extensive paper trail, starting from the point someone decides to purchase aircraft, to aircraft maintenance. And even more if they want to pilot themselves.
Even without zero technology there are plane spotters, although they will likely not be interesting in every Cessna 172 that flies by.
None of this is very surprising though. The aircraft industry thrives on transparency. Which is a good thing for safety.
Note that you'll be tracking the aircraft, not who is flying it. For instance, we know that Elon Musks' aircraft tail number is N628TS (btw - N, or November, also tells us it's from the US). I just did a quick google search for it. So now you can track it. Whether or not there's anyone else other than the pilot is another matter entirely.
If you want privacy, owning an aircraft is not the way to go. Renting or chartering one might be better against casual observers, but there is still a paper trail. You may be able to add some more levels of indirection.
That said, you are correct that there is a slippery slope. For aircraft, the above is understandable, as you are dealing with human lives, including on the ground. However, now the FAA wants to add even more strict requirements for _drone_ operators(even recreational), including broadcasting your own position at all times while operating a drone. At least one can argue that you are safe while flying an aircraft, no such thing if you are on the ground. https://www.thedroneu.com/blog/faa-announces-drone-remote-id...
But that paper trail cannot be accessed through ADSB. If you charter a plane, there's no way someone can deduct who you are via ADS-B signals alone. And agencies with access to the paper trail don't need ADS-B to know where you went.
I totally get this, but don’t think in terms of good and bad. Think in terms of power (empowerment and disempowerment).
I know how powerful mass surveillance is. I know how powerful knowledge is.
Therefore it isn’t surprising in the slightest that I should want to tear down every last shred of privacy in service of my own intelligence (empower my future self). Simultaneously I advocate to protect my own privacy (disempower future enemies).
It’s totally reasonable for anyone to want privacy. It’s also totally reasonable for me (or the Kremlin, or NSA) to want to thoroughly dismantle yours.
You're thinking of Page, Brin, Zuckerberg, Bezos? Yeah.
This is just basic safety for vehicles that can't see each other traveling at 100-1000 miles per hour in conflicting space.
Although it's a little concerning that ADS-B makes it so much easier to identify WHO is flying the planes.
Tracking others is okay for me but not for thee.
I'm only saying this partly in jest but I think it is conceivable that this line of defense is used by these communities and is absurd.
I do agree with you: a basic level of privacy should be there for everyone from (almost) everyone. In this particular case ATC should track aircraft and ensure that not everyone is going in any airspace willy-nilly.
It fundementally comes down to information asymmetry, which is only growing. Any step that makes public knowledge available, especially when focused on areas predominantly used by the economically, socially or politically dominant classes help push back against this growing information asymmetry.
At least under our (Finnish) legislation capturing and distributing this information might be illegal. Law says you may not disclose captured radio transmissons unless they were ment for public use or you were the intended recipient.
Select a region to see the details. For example, here are the feeder health stats for the southwestern U.S.: http://www.adsbx.org/sync/1B/
And here's the map of feeder locations in that region: http://www.adsbexchange.com/coverage-1B/
ADSBx offered to share data, a data swap. Opensky was not interested and told us - "go fuck yourselves".
Most networks like Flight Aware allow owners to blacklist aircraft such that their tracks do not appear on the site. This is typical of corporate aviation departments and private jet owners as they don't want their movements to be available to rivals/hedge funds or the media. Additionally military aircraft are typically not reported.
Edit: also, for those who are unaware, unlike license plates which are generally unsearchable, tail-numbers as reported by ADS-B are publicly searchable with registration and history information available on the FAA website:
However, there's also a new privacy initiative that allows aircraft to fly under temporary ids. The FAA will still know who they are, but for 3rd parties it will become much more difficult to determine.
Most SDRs only decode 1090 MHz signal. It is possible to decode 978 MHz but requires more work to support both.
But to be clear: the SDR's tuners are rarely limited that way. Most can tune to 978 MHz even easier than 1090 MHz. Covering the entire VHF to UHF range is pretty typical.
You can build a P25 listener for less than $100.
You'll use https://www.radioreference.com and get the appropriate control and voice channels for your area. You'll also get the talkgroups and put them in a CSV.
From there, you'll use http://garvas.org/trunk-recorder/ to determine how many RTL-SDR dongles (or others) you'll need, along with their respective center frequencies. Note that you'll copy/paste the relevant control/voice line for your p25 from radioreferece.com
From there, just define where to store the files on the drive, and off it goes. There's a python webserver ( https://github.com/ScanOC/trunk-player ) you can install for on-prem, and/or you can also upload it to openmhz website ( https://github.com/robotastic/trunk-recorder/wiki/Uploading-... ).
I'm interested in seeing where the proposal goes. I'm not sure where I stand on the issue but I'm curious of others opinions.
They can have their privacy while they aren't flying polluting multi-million dollar planes through the country and above our buildings.
Second, just because an airplane is over your building, doesn't mean it's going to crash into it. Even in an emergency, airplanes can keep gliding. A car is more likely to hit you while you're on the sidewalk - does that mean you get to know the name and address of every person driving local streets?
Third, I don't see how pollution has anything to do with privacy.
I can see an argument for being able to report an airplane doing something unsafe. But that's literally what the FAA exists for, and they have ways to look up who's flying an aircraft — anonymous or not. I don't see a good argument to releasing owners' names and addresses publicly so people can do law enforcement themselves.
Similar things apply to e.g. Amateur Radio. We've given people a big chunk of spectrum, and in exchange we expect transparency on what it's being used for. With few planes being owned by individuals, the case should be even stronger for aeroplanes, since the privacy argument applies less.
It makes you a target for doxing and swatting, and causes an unending amount of spam mail that you can't unsubscribe from.
It made sense in the older days when people routinely mailed paper QSL cards. The FCC also relies on amateur radio operators to self-police each other, which is relatively unique as far as enforcement goes (see: ARRL official observers - but even in that case, if you do something sufficiently wrong then the FCC will get involved and could look up your address).
On the other hand... QSL cards are pretty cool.
That might be a thing when self driving cars proliferate.
I also don't want my location broadcast as I move around on foot, or in my car, so why would I want to be tracked in the air?
And if you don't like being tracked, what makes you think that others want to be tracked all the time?
This isn't the private data of your neighbor. This is either data from corporations which, despite being people in some senses, don't have any privacy rights, or individuals so rich that what they're doing with planes that they really want to keep secret should be everyone's concern.
The pilot of this is likely not some rich individual undergoing clandestine operations.
Meh? As a passenger, I don't want to be tracked the way we do cattle.
Maybe I'm missing the point here, but more tracking feels more invasive and more likely to lead to abuse of said information (information imbalances equate to power, too!) and I don't want any more of that than is absolutely positively unavoidable.
You know a used Cessna is within the range of a new car, right? Is anyone who owns a townhome also in your "so rich they can't have privacy" category, because the cheapest junky townhouse around me is easily 6x the cost of a cheap personal aircraft.
There are 600,000 GA pilots in the US. It’s ignorant if you think we all have Gulfstreams.
My dad was a pilot and engineer, and we built many things together in my childhood (go-carts, computer video games, an automotive speedometer, more).
But there was one thing that I always wanted to do with him: build an airplane. As a 13 year old, I found different plans from vendors, created a budget, put together a basic timeline, but could never convince him to do it.
In fairness, building a plane is a huge multi-year commitment, and almost certainly more expensive than buying a used Cessna. But the price is not completely out of reach for many folks (<$100k). The real draw is the amount you learn during the process and seeing your handiwork.
I'm still sad we never did it, but it was a big ask of a dad with a full-time job from a twerp son. As a consolation however, he did buy a small wing-section kit and we got to rivet a few panels together over a weekend. First time I ever used rivet fasteners!
Flying also isn’t a prohibitively expensive activity; I know high school teachers who fly small aircraft.
It's not just something multi-millionaires do. In many cases it's cheaper than owning a Tesla.
Pilots of small aircraft are just as sensitive about giving up their privacy as anyone else.
Would you want your name, address, and position broadcast on the internet every time you get in your car?
So when someone says these types of aviators aren’t trying to hide themselves I’m highly skeptical on just how well-versed the speaker is with the issues and perspectives this class people have with more and more expensive operating requirements being put on them with diminishing returns for their compliance.
Then again, this perspective isn't in line with "rich moguls and their private personal jets" and represents a blue-collar voice that gets left out of discussions in this community with a frustrating frequency; so I'm really not surprised, either.
Hell go talk to some ground-based truckers how they feel about having their routes tracked by logistics companies who book them for loads. There’s videos all over YouTube from long haul truckers complaining about faceless entities demanding they install tracking systems or download GPS enabled apps and the constant complaint is “don’t tell me how to drive my truck"
These operators want autonomy.
The only thing special about private aircraft is people picturing some high-dollar gulfstream, and aiming a bit of jealousy at the people who own and operate them. Some of us fly planes that cost less than your Tesla and would prefer not to be painted with that broad of a brush.
This is a government program, mandate even, with easily-downloaded data feeds.
My 'you can track my plane when...' was hyperbole for the moment. ADS-B compliance cost me a few thousand dollars. Getting off of the public 'radar' with my plane is on my 'get to it eventually' list of things to do. Somewhere around refinishing my deck and swapping my winter tires back for all-season. I'm bothered philosophically, but my actions say I'm not that bothered.
But to your point, if the government required all car owners to pop a GPS tag onto their honda, at a cost to them of a few hundred bucks, then gave the 24/7 surveillance data to the public freely, I can see a few noses being tweaked for a few different reasons.
Edit -- I guess this thread is getting too deep for more replies. Aircraft have registration numbers painted on their side. That's the analogy to license plates which are publicly visible, and systems do exist to video-capture those numbers (usually for billing purposes -- Vector is one I know of). ADS-B is automatic reporting/broadcasting by the aircraft itself. It is collected and distributed by government, and it is also capture-able by anyone with a receiver. I am not aware of any cars which broadcast their movements 24/7 to government, nor any initiative to make that happen at car-owner expense, nor the ability for one to capture that data freely on radio bands.
But I think the 'of interest to society' argument against cars is equally strong. Which was the original idea I was replying to. :)
Hang on. The ADS-B requirement is a government program, like car license plates. The data feeds are privately collected, and similar things absolutely exist for cars.
> DRN is a private surveillance system crowdsourced by hundreds of repo men who have installed cameras that passively scan, capture, and upload the license plates of every car they drive by to DRN's database. DRN stretches coast to coast and is available to private individuals and companies focused on tracking and locating people or vehicles.
Do you know more about how this is done? Is there a fixed price list for this service? Can one "buy" it online? Is there some sort of registry that is shared between networks?
> Additionally military aircraft are typically not reported.
While I'm sure the military can turn off transponders at will, I presume (?) they often fly with them on. Can these signals be tracked with "standard" gear when they are on?
A copy of the ASDI block list is on https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/faa...
The FAA also has a new program to hand out pseudonymous aircraft identifiers via commercial providers so there probably is a fee for that https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/equipadsb/privacy/
Feeders sending them free data for fake enterprise dashboards and fake "$89 value" accounts have made David Baker a multi-millionaire.
As for military stuff - they have additional capabilities for their transponders that provide for responding to interrogators (think identify friend or foe - IFF systems). They're not supposed to disable transponders in the required airspace - they've got to comply with the FAA rules too. There are situations where ATC transfers control over to the military where they are free to do more things. Like in a hot military operating area (MOA) or when ATC transfers traffic separation to the military (MARSA).
On iOS at least I think this door is closing.
I noticed a helo circling with a huuge spotlight a mile or so from my house, and the skies were empty according to flightradar24, but ads-b exchange showd me that it was a police helicopter. I can see the reason for blacklisting those, so the people being chased cant easily track the helicopter? Otoh theyre bloody obvious due to their noisiness imo so I dont think it would matter one bit for the 1% of criminals aware enough to use flightradar24 to somehow evade capture..
That leaves a lot of airspace in the US. Someone flying his C182 in eastern Wyoming may not bother with it as he does not see any benefit. Here in western Oregon, I see the benefit (weather and traffic via ADS-B IN) and have equipped my aircraft even though I (mostly) avoid the airspace where it is required.
What happens is that the transponder generates a random self-assigned temporary ICAO ID number. This is for UAT only.
So people can tell that someone is flying in a particular position, but not who.
1. The minimal: Raspberry Pi and an RTL-SDR dongle. You can even use the small stock antenna that often comes with a dongle, if you put it near a window.
2. A real 1090 MHz antenna, plus filter + amp will greatly increase your performance, and cost less than $100.
Weidehopf has a shopping list: https://github.com/wiedehopf/adsb-wiki/wiki/adsb-receiver-sh...
As does flightaware: https://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build
Software-wise, you have a couple nearly-turnkey solutions. The easiest thing is just to follow the guide at https://www.adsbexchange.com/how-to-feed/ You can even use their custom Raspberry Pi image, and instantly have dashboards and maps and all the cool stuff.
(If it can change? Probably yes...)
If you wouldn't mind taking a look at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and posting in that spirit, we'd appreciate it. I'm sure HN readers have a lot to learn from you.
I think in certain areas they have a different frequency for an ADSB equivalent.
AIS technology works similar to ADS-B, but the details of being on the water make reception a different problem than for planes. There's three or so major ground-based AIS tracking services out there that compete, and while AISHub isn't the biggest it is the most open.
I also built a Python AIS parsing library with a bunch of command-line tools (e.g., aisgrep, ais2json): https://github.com/wpietri/simpleais
If anybody ends up using this, please let me know. On Twitter, I'm @williampietri. I have also been keeping a copy of all the AIS data for the last few years, and am happy to share it.
The sort where I could subscribe to notifications and get a few messages a day and go "huh, that is cool".
Ships like you describe are also often weirder with what they transmit. Cargo and cruise ships go from known port to known port in reasonably predictable ways. (Reasonably predictable meaning that 50 or so regexes can usually extract a little sense from what some sailor types into a bridge console.) But a lot of data from smaller, less predictable ships is much less regular.
Now that it has been running a while, I should definitely go back and see what else I can extract from the data. But one of my problems is that this stuff is poorly documented. What I really need is connections to maritime experts who can look at the data and say, "Oh, that ship is..."
I should say this isn't all AIS data, just all that comes through this particular network of receivers. For truly global coverage, there are satellite AIS receivers, but I don't have access to that.
E.g., do you need line of sight? I'm a couple km from water, not quite 100m elevation.
As someone else pointed out all of these executives carry cell phones and as the recent NY Times series pointed out the things are leaking out location data everywhere. Competitors and hedge funds likely aren’t using ADS-B data to track movements when they can get significantly better data elsewhere.
I wonder if high level executives have any kind of training and protocols for avoiding cell phone location tracking.
This isn't about your choices with mobile devices, this is mandated by the government, and the broadcasted data is literally open to anyone.
Setup a reliable feeder sending data to ADSBexchange.com and get a REST API key that would cost you $100,000+ a month from FlightAware or FlightRadar24. Non-commercial enthusiast use only. And please be kind to API, no sending 10,000 requests a second.
All this data at your finger tips, are you hackers or not!
Let's make something useful and fun!
The TrueAnon podcast had an interesting discussion with him where he speaks at length about ADS-B:
Also...the DCSA (Digital Container Shipping Association) recently published the first API spec for shipping lines to provide tracking info to the public https://github.com/dcsaorg/DCSA-OpenAPI
Glad to see industries moving towards more open standardized API.
As for guides. It's a pretty big community so just use the keywords from above [RTL-SDR, ADSB, DUMP1090] and you should get a lot of guides on tracking aircraft.
This is a popular and up-to-date fork: https://github.com/flightaware/dump1090
Whens someone asks for a glass of water, do you also drive them to the mountains and point at the rain clouds?
I use a raspberry pi, a couple cheap USB radio receivers, and use it with my tablet to show the weather and nearby traffic in the air. On android, you can link the flight data via wifi (from the pi) to a tablet running Avare (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ds.avare&h...) or some of the other flight tools on a moving map. Super helpful, as when flight following says there is someone somewhere, you stand a chance of being able to find them faster. It also pulls weather information in the air... which with moving map near real time is fantastic.
FWIW: I have been streaming FR24 my ADS-B data for a few years. In return they give you a business account ($50/mo value).
Back to the main point: Even the FR24 business-class account data is filtered. Given that this is an open protocol to begin with, I think the data should be recored "straight up" and made available to the public as a common service (benefit).
Future thoughts: Imagine if we had tons of people incentivized to deploy these? We could make "cyber" phased arrays on a massive scale by doing time of arrival analysis and so on. It could supplement the FAA primary/secondary radar system on a huge level. Perhaps even provide dense ATC control for drone operations where deploying primary/secondary radars is not feasible.
Just my $.02!
This is already going on. Some transponders don't report position (often seen on older turboprop airliners in Europe), so feeds from multiple receivers are combined to triangulate them. It's called multilateration (MLAT). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilateration
I haven't done it myself, but if you are located somewhere that their network doesn't have good coverage, they'll even send you a free receiver and antenna to get you started: https://www.flightradar24.com/apply-for-receiver
They have a proposal to create a parallel tracking system just for drones. It's created quite the uproar in the drone/model-aircraft community.