Canada: Ortis case linked to Vancouver firm that supplied secure cellphones to international criminals - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaOrtis case linked to Vancouver firm that supplied secure cellphones to international criminals

12:15  17 september  2019
12:15  17 september  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Five Eyes allies raising questions as damage control continues in Cameron Ortis case: sources

Five Eyes allies raising questions as damage control continues in Cameron Ortis case: sources Members of the Five Eyes intelligence bloc are already raising questions about the type of information accessible to Cameron Ortis as the director of an intelligence unit within the RCMP, diplomatic sources tell CBC News. The Five Eyes, made up of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, is one of the world's leading intelligence-sharing networks, linking some of the most powerful countries in the world. Diplomatic sources speaking to CBC on condition of anonymity said the alliance is worried that Ortis, charged under Canada's national secrets act, had access to their allied information.

The International Criminal Court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, provides that individuals or organizations may submit information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court. These submissions are referred to as "communications to the International Criminal Court".

“ Cellphones have become important tools in facilitating coordination and communication among A more comprehensive search of the phone led to information that linked Mr. Riley to a shooting. The Justice Department, in its Supreme Court briefs, said cellphones were not materially different from

Ortis case linked to Vancouver firm that supplied secure cellphones to international criminals © Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press Documents prepared for security officials in Canada and seen by CBC News reveal that the arrest of a high-level civilian RCMP official last week has ties to the investigation of Phantom Secure, a Vancouver-based company that sold encrypted phones for criminal purposes. The investigation into top RCMP civilian official Cameron Ortis began with a shadowy, multimillion-dollar Vancouver-based company run by Canadians that sold encrypted cellphones to drug traffickers and money launderers around the world.

The key figures behind Phantom Secure Communications even used modified versions of Canada's iconic Blackberry devices to help their international criminal clientele evade police.

RCMP surveying potential damage in wake of charges against top intelligence official

RCMP surveying potential damage in wake of charges against top intelligence official RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says the force is still trying to understand the fallout of allegations levelled against one of their top intelligence officials and that RCMP officers are "shaken" by the charges.

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According to a grand jury indictment filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California dated June 2017, four of the five key people behind Phantom Secure Communications were Canadian.

Vincent Ramos of Richmond, B.C. was the founder and CEO and American prosecutors said he was also the company's key administrator.

Security documents seen by CBC News say an FBI investigation in 2018 found Ortis had emailed Ramos. It is alleged that Ortis contacted Ramos to offer him "valuable" information.

Ortis was arrested last week on charges under the Security of Information Act.

Pleaded guilty, got nine years

Ramos pleaded guilty in an American court to racketeering conspiracy and was sentenced in May to nine years in prison.

RCMP director accused of stealing secrets had access to allied intelligence

RCMP director accused of stealing secrets had access to allied intelligence OTTAWA—The high-ranking RCMP employee accused of stealing secrets had access to an extensive trove of intelligence from both Canadian and international sources. RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki confirmed Monday that Cameron Ortis, the director of the force’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre, had access to information shared by international partners as well as intelligence gathered by Canadian agencies. Lucki said Ortis’ arrest has “shaken many people throughout the RCMP.” “We are aware of the potential risk to agency operations of our partners in Canada and abroad and we thank them for their continued collaboration.

Expanding international businesses, changing regulatory requirements, increasing corporate scrutiny and complex cross-border transactions are among the drivers. Regardless of origin, the stakes can be high, with a potential global impact. Organizations and individuals look to proactively reduce their risk.

The global impact of transnational crime has risen to unprecedented levels. Criminal groups have appropriated new technologies, adapted horizontal network structures that are difficult to trace and stop, and diversified their activities. The result has been an unparalleled scale of international crime .

Four of his associates, Canadians Younes Nasri, Michael Gamboa and Christopher Poquiz, and Kim Rodd, who has joint Australian-Thai citizenship, are still being sought by American authorities.

The conviction followed a joint investigation by the FBI, the Australian Federal Police and the RCMP that carried out 25 searches in the United States, Australia and Canada.

Police estimate the group made more than $80 million providing international criminals with secure communications systems between 2008 and 2018.

"Phantom Secure's devices were specifically designed to prevent law enforcement from actively monitoring the communications between members of transnational criminal organizations," prosecutors wrote in the indictment.

"As part of its services, Phantom Secure guaranteed that messages stored on its devices could be (and would be) remotely deleted by the company if the device was seized by law enforcement or otherwise compromised."

Ortis arrest 'unsettling,' top Mountie says amid damage assessment

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Before the International Criminal Court (ICC), there have been numerous political problems in bringing people to But a number of specific criminal tribunals have started to perhaps raise the stakes. As the title of (Also check out this link to a Democracy Now radio show interview for more about this ruling.)

Modified Blackberry phones

At the heart of the system was Canada's iconic Blackberry.

Phantom Secure took the Blackberry phones, installed sophisticated encryption software and routed the data through encryption servers located in countries the company believed were unco-operative with law enforcement.

Police estimate that in 2018 there were at least 10,000 Phantom Secure devices in use worldwide, with users paying $4,000 a year for the service.

But not just anyone could buy these phones. Prospective customers had to be vouched for by an existing client, which prosecutors said helped restrict Phantom Secure's customer base to those who wanted to use the device for criminal activity.

Prosecutors said Phantom Secure maintained its servers in Panama and Hong Kong, using proxy servers to further disguise the location of its servers.

The company helped drug trafficking and money laundering in Australia, Asia, Europe, the United States and Canada, concealing its proceeds through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Elizabeth Thompson can be reached at [email protected]cbc.ca

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Canada bids to reassure U.S., other allies after intelligence official arrested.
Canada bids to reassure U.S., other allies after intelligence official arrested

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