The Australian Federal Police is using handheld wireless tools to search for unprotected networks suspected of being used to commit online crime.
The devices are used by police agencies to help track wireless networks used by individuals suspected of downloading child exploitation images.
Fluke Networks which designed the AirCheck device said police use the unit allowed police to "more confidently enter the suspect’s location" if illegal material is suspected of being downloaded over a password-protected network.
The unit tracked client devices over unsecured networks to avoid implicating innocent users in case illegal material was downloaded by unauthorised users who had tapped into an unsecured network.
Sergeant Dave Mathers, head of the Electronic Crimes Unit of the City of Martinez Police Department, said it used the device to track suspects using wi-fi.
"The tool verifies wireless network settings, providing us with more confidence that we’ve identified the suspect’s location. Using this information, we can eliminate more variables while focusing on the suspect downloading the illegal content," Mathers said.
Update: A spokesperson for the company told SC that the device was used by the Australia Federal Police . That statement was later retracted.