History Main / PhoneTraceRace

19th Jan '17 1:07:06 PM FordPrefect
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* Happens all the time in ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'', but it was a plot point of an entire episode. In "911", the squad gets a call from a 9 year old girl who says she's locked in a room, she's been abused, and does not know where she is. Olivia stays on the line with her and works with the squad to try and narrow down the area to where the girl might be being held. The number itself is untraceable, but a tech expert in cell phone mapping eventually is able to narrow down the cell phone tower the girl is using.

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* Happens all the time in ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'', but it was a plot point of an entire episode. In "911", the squad gets a call from a 9 year old girl who says she's locked in a room, she's been abused, and does not know where she is. Olivia stays on the line with her and works with the squad to try and narrow down the area to where the girl might be being held. The number itself is untraceable, but a tech expert in cell phone mapping is eventually is able to narrow down the cell phone tower the girl is using.
19th Jan '17 1:06:32 PM FordPrefect
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* ''Film/WarGames''. After David accidentally hacks into NORAD and takes over its main computer system, he hangs up before they can trace the connection and determine his location. When the {{AI}} computer calls David back the FBI manages to trace the calls and find him.

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* ''Film/WarGames''. After David accidentally hacks into NORAD and takes over its main computer system, he hangs up before they can trace the connection and determine his location. When the {{AI}} computer calls David back back, the FBI manages to trace the calls and find him.
19th Jan '17 1:05:42 PM FordPrefect
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* Used in ''Film/{{Goldeneye}}'' to figure out where [[spoiler: Trevalyen's]] base is located.

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* Used in ''Film/{{Goldeneye}}'' to figure out where [[spoiler: Trevalyen's]] Trevelyan's]] base is located.
19th Jan '17 1:04:41 PM FordPrefect
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In order to justify this trope in a modern day setting, the call is often bounced through a bunch of alternate locations, and the back-tracing of the call to it's actual source will take time.

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In order to justify this trope in a modern day setting, the call is often bounced through a bunch of alternate locations, and the back-tracing of the call to it's its actual source will take time.
19th Jan '17 1:04:31 PM FordPrefect
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As technology marches on, this trope has morphed into tracing the computer connection, but the essence remains the same. Is often a source of artistic license, since (unless the work is set in the 1960s or earlier) the phone company can use their computer records tell the cops what numbers called a given phone, and when, even months after the call.

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As technology marches on, this trope has morphed into tracing the computer connection, but the essence remains the same. Is often a source of artistic license, since (unless the work is set in the 1960s or earlier) the phone company can use their computer records to tell the cops what numbers called a given phone, and when, even months after the call.
19th Jan '17 1:03:54 PM FordPrefect
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If the call was long distance, they'd have to send someone to the central office that connected the call to the city, then trace it back to wherever it was connected from, and so on. This is why if someone was making obscene phone calls long distance, it would require many repeated calls to trace back the caller because of the time involved to trace, say, a call over mechanical switches from Pasadena, California to Ellicott City, Maryland. Traces from major cities, say, Los Angeles to Baltimore or Chicago, even over mechanical circuits would be much faster, however because the calls didn't have to go through intermediate cities.

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If the call was long distance, they'd have to send someone to the central office that connected the call to the city, then trace it back to wherever it was connected from, and so on. This is why if someone was making obscene phone calls long distance, it would require many repeated calls to trace back the caller because of the time involved to trace, say, a call over mechanical switches from Pasadena, California to Ellicott City, Maryland. Traces However, traces from major cities, say, cities (say, Los Angeles to Baltimore or Chicago, Chicago) even over mechanical circuits would be much faster, however because the calls didn't have to go through intermediate cities.
28th Oct '16 12:13:45 PM Morgenthaler
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Series/ForeverKnight'': One episode had a serial killer phoning a radio psychiatrist, and killing his victims on the air; he knew about phone tracing, and was keeping his calls short enough to prevent a trace. He also specifically called from a public phone when he expects them to be running a trace for this reason. When he kidnaps the psychiatrist, Nick takes her place on the air, and starts playing mind games with the killer so that he stops watching his clock and stays on the phone too long.
29th Aug '16 3:52:28 PM WillKeaton
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Added DiffLines:


In order to justify this trope in a modern day setting, the call is often bounced through a bunch of alternate locations, and the back-tracing of the call to it's actual source will take time.
26th Jul '16 2:52:40 AM Morgenthaler
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A horror and police procedural trope where the police set up a phone trace to catch a criminal but they need them to stay on the line for a certain amount of time. The amount of time will vary, yet somehow the criminal will know the exact amount of time and [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy purposely hang up]] just before the police can get a trace. If it's a particularly high-tech setup, expect to see a computer generated map showing the tracing process.

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A horror and police procedural trope where the police set up a phone trace to catch a criminal but they need them to stay on the line for a certain amount of time. The amount of time will vary, yet somehow the criminal will know the exact amount of time and [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy purposely hang up]] up just before the police can get a trace. If it's a particularly high-tech setup, expect to see a computer generated map showing the tracing process.
25th Jul '16 1:53:31 PM WillKeaton
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* Invoked in the RealTrailerFakeMovie [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg4ztJ32iPI The Waldo Ultimatum]].
* [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18385_7-bullshit-police-myths-everyone-believes-thanks-to-movies_p2.html Cracked's references to misconceptions about it]].

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* Invoked in the RealTrailerFakeMovie [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg4ztJ32iPI The Waldo Ultimatum]].
Ultimatum.]]
* [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18385_7-bullshit-police-myths-everyone-believes-thanks-to-movies_p2.html Cracked's references to misconceptions about it]].it.]]
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