Blog Archives

RCMP defends use of secretive cellphone surveillance technology for the first time

how-an-imsi-catcher-works

An IMSI catcher pretends to be a cellphone tower to attract nearby cell signals. When it does, it can intercept the unique ID number associated with your phone, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity, or IMSI. That number can then be used to track your phone. (CBC)

Unprecedented briefing with reporters comes in wake of CBC investigation into illegal spying in Ottawa

By Dave Seglins, Matthew Braga, Catherine Cullen, CBC News, April 5, 2017

The RCMP for the first time is publicly confirming it uses cellphone surveillance devices in investigations across Canada — but at the same time says the potential of unauthorized snooping in Ottawa, as reported by CBC News, poses a threat to national security. Read the rest of this entry

CIA could listen through cellphones, smart TVs, WikiLeaks claims

wirelesss-show-flagship-phone

WikiLeaks claims the CIA has developed malware to eavesdrop through cellphones, and that it can bypass the encryption on apps including WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram. (Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press)

Leaks suggest spies can bypass encryption of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram

The Associated Press, March 7, 2017

WikiLeaks on Tuesday published thousands of documents purportedly taken from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, a dramatic release that appears to provide an eye-opening look at the intimate details of America’s cyberespionage toolkit. Read the rest of this entry

RCMP can spy on your cellphone, court records reveal

Stingray box

This undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows the StingRay II, manufactured by Harris Corporation, of Melbourne, Fla., a cellular site simulator used for surveillance purposes. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office/The Associated Press)

There’s ‘no regulation or oversight’ as to how police use Stingray device, says privacy advocate

By Dave Seglins, Matthew Braga, CBC News, June 10, 2016

The RCMP can secretly target and intercept Canadians’ mobile phones, and they’ve used these covert surveillance techniques in a variety of major crime investigations across the country, court documents show.

A judge today lifted a publication ban on details surrounding the shooting death of Salvatore (Sal the Ironworker) Montagna, a high-ranking member of a New York crime family killed outside Montreal in 2011. Read the rest of this entry

Are StingRay cellphone surveillance systems used by Vancouver police?

This undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows the StingRay II, manufactured by Harris Corporation, of Melbourne, Fla., a cellular site simulator used for surveillance purposes. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office/The Associated Press)

This undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows the StingRay II, manufactured by Harris Corporation, of Melbourne, Fla., a cellular site simulator used for surveillance purposes. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office/The Associated Press)

Pivot Legal Society raises concerns spoof cell phone towers may be used to collect data from nearby phones

CBC News, Nov 12, 2015

The Vancouver Police Department is refusing to say whether it is using a controversial cellphone surveillance system called a StingRay that mimics cell phone towers to intercept calls and data.

StingRay is the common name for cell-site simulators that trick nearby mobile devices into connecting, revealing the phone’s location and data transmissions, including texts, emails and even voice conversations.

The devices have caused a furore in the U.S. where they are increasingly used by police, with towers sometimes disguised as pine or palm trees. Read the rest of this entry

NSA helped U.K. spies hack Dutch firm to get cellphone eavesdropping codes

Cell phone surveillanceSpy agency hackers breached network of SIM-card maker Gemalto, Snowden documents show

Thomson Reuters, CBC News, Feb 20, 2015

U.S. and British spies hacked into the world’s biggest maker of phone SIM cards, allowing them to potentially monitor the calls, texts and emails of billions of mobile users around the world, an investigative news website reported.

The alleged hack on Gemalto, if confirmed, would expand the scope of known mass surveillance methods available to U.S. and British spy agencies to include not just email and web traffic, as previously revealed, but also mobile communications. Read the rest of this entry

Police Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool‏

by Eric Lichtblau , New York Times , April 1, 2012

Cell phones can be used by police as tracking and audio surveillance devices.

Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.
The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations. Read the rest of this entry