Blog Archives

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


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


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

Police forces tracking suspects through phones refuse to pay fees imposed by Rogers Communications

Cell phone surveillanceby Jim Bronskill, National Post/Canadian Press, January 12, 2015

OTTAWA — The RCMP and many other police forces are refusing to pay new fees imposed by Rogers Communications for helping track suspects through their mobile phones.

Police say the telecommunications firm is legally obligated to provide such court-ordered services and to cover the cost as part of its duty to society.

Rogers says while it picks up the tab for most judicially approved requests, in some cases it will charge a minimal fee. 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