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Travel

Using ADS-B Data to track dictators from around the globe

A freelance investigative journalist used Reddit to share a peculiar post about using the ADS-B in order to track the traveling habits of different dictators on a worldwide scale. The ADS-B signal is carried out by airplanes with info on aircraft ID, speed, GPS position and altitude. Resources such as ADSB-Exchange accumulate all that info from stations that are using RTL-SDR dongles. The reporter noticed that you can track the movements of the planes that were registered to known dictators and therefore keep a closer eye on where they are mostly heading.

For example, there was this story he reported about Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya. According to that story, Paul Biya is quite often traveling to Switzerland, apparently on private visits. However, since he published this story, the dictator stopped traveling there altogether.

The reporter also has a Twitter bot using the ADS-B data to post automatic tweets when dictators’ planes are detected landing Geneva airport. You can find the list of these aircraft on a public Excel file that is easily available to anyone on the net.

At the moment, the reporter himself is hoping to expand his operations and asks for his audience to energize the ADSB-Exchange resource. This is the only viable option, since this is the only available web page that is not censoring any planes on the radar. There are other web sites such as FlightAware and Flightradar24 but they were noticed to be willing to censor and block certain political or military planes as well as jets that were owned by different companies. Certain dictators’ planes were censored there as well. Still, the ADS-B tracking may become illegal overtime because of that unwillingness to censor aircrafts in the first place.

The reporter wrote on Reddit that he is a freelance investigative journalist who is looking into SDR/ADSB and found this amazing group to get some help in his investigations. He is aiming to use the DXing forum to get more antennas and therefore make the most from his journalistic needs in all the right ways. His just cause is interesting enough to get certain funding and we’ll definitely be hoping that he will reach his ambitious goals within the very least amount of time feasible. Feel free to learn much more about his profile and discover his exciting investigations that could help the entire global community in the future.

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