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Remember when a conversation was just between the people having it? Phantom Secure will protect your communications at all costs, we take extreme measures in a world where nothing is private. Below you will find some articles that reveal shocking reports of spying. Contact info@phantompgp.eu to guarantee your email privacy today.

NSA spying  |  Spanish Citizens

The widespread surveillance of Spanish citizens by the US National Security Agency, which caused outrage when it was reported this week, was the product of a collaboration with Spain's intelligence services, according to one Spanish newspaper.

In the latest revelations to emerge from the documents leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Spanish agents not only knew about the work of the NSA but also facilitated it, El Mundo reports.

An NSA document entitled "Sharing computer network operations cryptologic information with foreign partners" reportedly shows how the US relies on the collaboration of many countries to give it access to intelligence information, including electronic metadata.

Source: The Guardian

The widespread surveillance of Spanish citizens by the US National Security Agency, which caused outrage when it was reported this week, was the product of a collaboration with Spain's intelligence services, according to one Spanish newspaper.

In the latest revelations to emerge from the documents leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Spanish agents not only knew about the work of the NSA but also facilitated it, El Mundo reports.

An NSA document entitled "Sharing computer network operations cryptologic information with foreign partners" reportedly shows how the US relies on the collaboration of many countries to give it access to intelligence information, including electronic metadata.

According to the document seen by El Mundo, the US classifies cooperation with various countries on four different levels. In the first group – "Comprehensive Cooperation" – are the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The second group – "Focused Cooperation" – of which Spain is a member, includes 19 countries, all of them European, apart from Japan and South Korea. The third group – "Limited cooperation" – consists of countries such as France, Israel, India and Pakistan; while the fourth – "Exceptional Cooperation" – is made up of countries that the US considers to be hostile to its interests.

The reports come a day after the director of the NSA, General Keith B Alexander, testified before the US house intelligence committee that suggestions the agency monitored millions of calls in Spain, France and Italy were "completely false" and that this data had been at least partially collected by the intelligence services of those countries and then passed on to the NSA.

According to El Mundo the NSA documents explain the "specific guidance for evaluating and initiating Computer Network Operations (CNO) cryptologic cooperation with other countries, generally within existing foreign cryptologic relationships". It outlines these telephonic and electronic surveillance operations, indicating that the results would be shared with allied countries. In short, this suggests the Spanish intelligence services were working hand in hand with the NSA, as were other foreign agencies. But if there was any doubt as to who held the upper hand, the NSA documents make clear that any collaboration was always to serve the needs of protecting American interests.

On Monday, El Mundo reported that the NSA had intercepted 60.5m phone calls in Spain over one month alone.

Alexander said foreign intelligence services collected phone records in war zones and other areas outside their borders and passed these on to the NSA. He said this arrangement had been misunderstood by French and Spanish newspapers, which reported that the NSA was spying in their countries.

But this explanation has not allayed European or domestic US concerns about the exact nature of NSA surveillance in allied countries.

The suggestion that the Spanish intelligence agency was working with the NSA will confirm the suspicions of many in Spain who believe that the government has not only failed to protect its own citizens' privacy, but was actively supportive of US surveillance inside the country.

Although there are strong privacy laws in Spain, and judicial oversight is required before a phone can be tapped, there are concerns that these laws are applied less than rigorously.

The US has offices for the CIA and the NSA in Madrid.

On Monday, Amnesty International called on the Spanish government to "reflect on its total failure to protect its own citizens' privacy".

The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, announced on Wednesday that the director of the Spanish national intelligence centre (CNI), Félix Sanz Roldán, would be called to appear before the official secrets committee to explain the activities of the NSA and the CNI. Unlike in the US, however, this meeting will be held behind closed doors.

The latest document, published by El Mundo on Wednesday, shows the NSA to be watchful of any information gathered by countries outside the top tier of allies, which together with the US are known as the "five eyes".

According to the Spanish newspaper's report, the NSA says any co-operation with countries outside this group is to be carefully evaluated, and they should be reliable allies, capable of protecting any US classified information.

A further document seen by El Mundo reportedly explains how that cooperation between the NSA and foreign intelligence agencies increases the number of foreign-language speakers available to it, so as better to understand any communications they uncovered.

Not every line in the document is hard intelligence work, though. At one point, an NSA agent apparently writes that the Spanish agents were exceptionally helpful when they collaborated, not just at work, but also in their downtime. In Madrid, lunch apparently always took place at 2pm; the US agents were given an enjoyable bus tour of the sights of Madrid; and one dinner was accompanied by opera singers. The only disappointment came during one trip to Spain, when it rained all the time, despite the Spanish agents having promised unlimited sunshine.

Federal Judge Rules  |  Bulk Surveillance is Legal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has affirmed the legality of the U.S. government's bulk collection of phone and email data from foreign nationals living outside the country — including their contact with U.S. citizens — in denying a man's motion to dismiss his terrorism conviction.

It was the first legal challenge to the government's bulk data-collection program of non-U.S. citizens living overseas after revelations about massive, warrantless surveillance were made public by former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden.

The program also sweeps up information about U.S. citizens who have contact with overseas suspects. This type of surveillance played a key role in this case.

Source: The Huffington Post

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has affirmed the legality of the U.S. government's bulk collection of phone and email data from foreign nationals living outside the country — including their contact with U.S. citizens — in denying a man's motion to dismiss his terrorism conviction.

It was the first legal challenge to the government's bulk data-collection program of non-U.S. citizens living overseas after revelations about massive, warrantless surveillance were made public by former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden.

The program also sweeps up information about U.S. citizens who have contact with overseas suspects. This type of surveillance played a key role in this case.

Lawyers for Mohamed Mohamud, a U.S. citizen who lived in Oregon, tried to show the program violated his constitutional rights and was more broadly unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Garr King on Tuesday denied that effort.

The ruling also upheld Mohamud's conviction on terrorism charges. In his decision, King rejected the argument from Mohamud's attorneys that prosecutors failed to notify Mohamud of information derived under the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act until he was already convicted.

Suppressing the evidence collected "and a new trial would put defendant in the same position he would have been in if the government notified him of the (surveillance) at the start of the case," King wrote. "Dismissal is not warranted here."

Mohamud's attorneys argued that such a failure withheld important information from the defense team.

Mohamud was convicted last year of attempting to detonate a bomb at Portland's Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in 2010. The purported plot was actually an FBI sting, and the bomb was a fake.

The bulk data collection under FISA permits the U.S. government to sweep up information regarding foreign nationals "reasonably believed" to be outside the U.S. But it also includes the incidental collection of data from U.S. citizens communicating with people in other countries.

That was the case with Mohamud, whose email communications with two terror suspects were used as evidence at his trial.

Both of those men, U.S. citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, were killed in drone strikes in 2011. The federal government classified the men as enemy combatants. On Monday, a federal court released the Justice Department memo justifying their killings.

Mohamud also communicated with a friend who was believed to have traveled to Pakistan to attend a terrorist training camp, according to evidence presented at the trial.

Other potential challenges to foreign surveillance watched the Portland case closely, said Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury, including a pending challenge in Colorado.

Mohamud "is at such a significant disadvantage," Fakhoury said. "He doesn't even have the evidence to make the challenge. That's the whole problem in this whole regime of after-the-fact (informing of suspects)."

Indeed, King said in his ruling that Mohamud's attorneys didn't have classified information provided by prosecutors to King, and therefore could only speculate as to the evidence given falsely or omitted by the government.

"This is insufficient," King said in the ruling. "I realize the difficult position the defense team is in, but the denial of a (hearing) is commonplace in the FISA context."

King held that Mohamud's most persuasive argument was that, even if the original surveillance were lawful, the subsequent use of that information on a U.S. citizen required a warrant. Previous federal appeals court rulings have said that the government needs a warrant to test pills seized in an unrelated search or to search a computer for more information that the warrant sought.

Those rulings, the defense argued, meant King should apply the same standard to the evidence seized.

But King disagreed.

"I do not find any significant additional intrusion," King wrote. "Thus, subsequent querying of (collected data), even if U.S. person identifiers are used, is not a separate search and does not make (such surveillance) unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment."

New spy leak  |  Denmark part of NSA ‘inner circle’

DANISH NEWS - Denmark works closely with intelligence agency NSA and enjoys a closer relationship with the USA than other non-Anglo Saxon countries such as Germany, the British newspaper The Guardian writes

Documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden show that Denmark is part of an exclusive ‘second-tier’ group, named ‘9-Eyes’, that collaborate on intelligence gathering, reports Seven59.dk and b.dk.

The group of countries is an extension of the more elite 5-Eyes, which includes the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Source: University Post/b.dk

DANISH NEWS - Denmark works closely with intelligence agency NSA and enjoys a closer relationship with the USA than other non-Anglo Saxon countries such as Germany, the British newspaper The Guardian writes.

Documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden show that Denmark is part of an exclusive ‘second-tier’ group, named ‘9-Eyes’, that collaborate on intelligence gathering, reports Seven59.dk and b.dk.

The group of countries is an extension of the more elite 5-Eyes, which includes the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway join in to make 9-Eyes and enjoy access to more classified intelligence material than the third tier ‘14-Eyes’ which numbers Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

Should come clean

Former head of Danish Intelligence (PET), Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, said he wasn’t surprised at Denmark’s high ranking. He said: “We have traditionally been closely linked to agencies such as the CIA since World War 2 and this has helped to build up the trust and respect that’s decisive in the world of intelligence.”

Both Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Justice Minister Morten Bødskov have so far declined to comment on reports of any collaboration with foreign intelligence agencies but the Red/ Greens have now called on them to come clean.

Good reason to be mistrustful

“The government needs to provide some insight about the Americans’ intelligence gathering and whether Danes’ phones and e-mails have been monitored,” said spokesman Nikolaj Villumsen.

“People have good reason to be mistrustful and that won’t go away unless the government helps to build confidence in PET and the collaboration that exists with other countries.”

Espionage  |  Personal & Corporate

Surveillance is getting easier. Bugs are getting better. The other day I was lecturing to twenty senior executives from a major international high technology company on the future. During a fast moving multimedia presentation, which included virtual reality, videoconferencing, Internet television, Cyberbanking, and a host of other related technologies, I bugged one of the participants. Right under their noses - as a demonstration in a country where such a demonstration of surveillance was legal. Even as they watched me pace around them, one of them was now carrying a minute transmitter capable of being picked up half a mile away. The device would have landed up being carried into the next meeting or the hotel bedroom. Devices today are so sensitive that even with a receiver the participants were unable to decide who was carrying the transmitter. Everyone could hear the sound of his or her own breathing. They were shocked.

Source: Global Change

Surveillance is getting easier. Bugs are getting better. The other day I was lecturing to twenty senior executives from a major international high technology company on the future. During a fast moving multimedia presentation, which included virtual reality, videoconferencing, Internet television, Cyberbanking, and a host of other related technologies, I bugged one of the participants. Right under their noses - as a demonstration in a country where such a demonstration of surveillance was legal. Even as they watched me pace around them, one of them was now carrying a minute transmitter capable of being picked up half a mile away. The device would have landed up being carried into the next meeting or the hotel bedroom. Devices today are so sensitive that even with a receiver the participants were unable to decide who was carrying the transmitter. Everyone could hear the sound of his or her own breathing. They were shocked.

Surveillance devices can be turned on/off from a mile away

That means a board room will test negative when screened for surveillance devices just minutes before a vital meeting, and afterwards, although the bug may have been transmitting every word spoken during the entire course of the meeting. These kind of surveillance devices are extremely difficult to detect, requiring equipment that is complex, expensive, and time-consuming to use. In theory every room used for sensitive meetings needs a screening every time it is used. The only possible exception could be rooms that remain permanently locked except when used by a very select group of people. But a sophisticated screening to detect non-transmitting bugs may take several hours.

Remember that most commercial breaches of security are created by staff themselves who agree to betray their own companies for money.

And just in case you were still under the delusion that a swept room is secure, devices are available using lasers which allow someone to listen to a conversation taking place half a mile away using equipment operating at that distance. Laser light reflects off window glass, carrying with it vibrations from noise inside the room.

Then there are the cameras

A high quality colour video camera operating in bright or dim light can now be squeezed into a screw head. The centre of a Phillips screw is more than large enough to contain the lens of such a camera, which can therefore be concealed in any light switch, or any area of any room where a Phillips screw head is visible.

Networking means that every word spoken in one room in Australia can be heard in precise detail in any other country of the world day and night, using local telephone calls and Internet encryption.

Most companies are still in the Stone Age when it comes to commercial security. Most of their attention has focused on such things as password protection for systems, or identity passes at the security gate. Those measures are useless against the constant threat of commercial espionage -- a boom industry judging by the rapidly growing turnover of company making these devices. Counter espionage has often become the same technologies turned against one's own staff. Bugging of friends, rooms, cars or even homes has now become a routine part of commercial self protection. Of course one of the big markets for all this is the divorce industry with spouses trying to catch each other out, or to lay jealous fears to rest.

So what happens to privacy?

Privacy died a long time ago. In some countries use of concealed transmitters is against the law yet these things are widely available for decreasing cost. When it comes -- say -- to mergers or acquisitions, or other price sensitive market information, a single phrase may acquire a commercial value of several million dollars all more. Thus theft of "words spoken" has become one of the highest value crimes that can possibly be committed. We urgently need international agreement that covert electronic surveillance is illegal except for enforcing law and order. The sale of these devices should be banned in every nation - they can all be bought in the UK with total freedom. The market will still be there but it will send a clear message.

So how can you protect yourself?

Firstly, you should assume that whatever room you are using is insecure unless otherwise proven. You should also assume that participants in meetings may occasionally be wired themselves, and that participants leaving a room in the course of a meeting may be hearing every word said after they have left. It's the oldest trick in the book. Regard with suspicion any small gift that the donor might expect you to keep in your office, or put in your pocket. Examples included expensive pens, paper weights or any other object. Strangely enough, a meeting in a restaurant which is busy and noisy could actually turn out to be safer than your own boardroom or videoconference suite.

12 Countries  |  that spy on their citizens

The US government spies a lot on their own citizens. But these days, who doesn't? Here's just a partial list of the other governments around the world who have been caught wanting to know too much.

The list is exhaustive, here's 12 to get you started; Germany, France, China, Russia, Zimbabwe, Syria, Iran, New Zealand, Bahrain, Canada, Vietnam, United Kingdom...

Source: Global Post

The US government spies a lot on their own citizens. But these days, who doesn't? Here's just a partial list of the other governments around the world who have been caught wanting to know too much.

1) Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not happy that the United States is spying on her. And Germans are not happy that the United States is spying on them. But does anyone care that Merkel's government was one of the National Security Agency's "key partners"? Der Spiegel reported that German intelligence agencies worked with the NSA to collect data on its own citizens. The software, XKeyScore, allows users to monitor and store data, some from personal messages. The government recently ended its Cold War pact with the United States and the United Kingdom to prevent any spying on German citizens. But what if that spying is done by the German government?

2) France

France’s Le Monde newspaper reported that the French government is spying on its citizens in much the same way as the United States. According to the paper, the Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure collects data daily from phone calls, emails, text messages and social media accounts. It then stores the information for years. The government says the allegations are false.

3) China

China spies on its own citizens — that's no secret. The country has a vast digital empire to perform such tasks. But the domestic spying has gotten so out of control in China that its public officials are even spying on each other. Many Chinese officials have found wires in their offices and cars. Some have even found them in their showers. Communist Party member Bo Xilai went as far as wiretapping the president. Before meetings, Chinese officials now often hug so they can pat each other down.

4) Russia

If surveillance were an Olympic sport, Russia would likely take the gold this year. It has installed a surveillance system so the government can listen to athletes and visitors at next year's Sochi Olympic Games. The system, known as SORM, was first developed in the 1980s and has been used in Russia to spy on the opposition. During the Games, law enforcement agencies will have the authority to tap all internet and phone communications without notifying communication providers.

5) Zimbabwe

The government of Robert Mugabe is really good at winning elections. It's almost like it has some kind of unfair advantage. Recently, the government asked all broadband providers and phone companies to begin saving information on its users for up to five years. The information will be stored in a national database. They say such monitoring is an effort to fight crime; but many suspect it's just another way for the government to spy on the political opposition.

6) Syria

Syria’s internet is in the control of two main corporations, both of which were founded by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. These companies record all online and offline activities. They also block text messages and shut down internet access to deter protesters. According to a report from Reporters Without Borders, Syria is one of the most spy-happy countries in the world. Iran, China, Vietnam and Bahrain also made the group's list.

7) Iran

The Iranian government does not just censor websites. It's also a fan of "deep packet inspection," which is just a fancy way of saying that the government likes to collect personal data, with the help of Western companies like Nokia and Siemens. According to the Wall Street Journal, the government has access to emails, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and any internet phone calls.

8) New Zealand

New Zealand? Really? A new law allows the country's main intelligence agency to spy on its own citizens. The government realized that the Government Communications Security Bureau had been spying on New Zealand citizens illegally, anyway — so it introduced the new law to make it a lot less illegal. As in other countries, there's been a lot of public opposition to the law; as in other countries, the government claims that the added surveillance is needed to protect the people. Aww, thanks government!

9) Bahrain

The Bahrain monarchy, which has been brutally stamping out a protest movement for several years now, uses FinFisher, a spyware software sold by Gamma Group, a UK company. The government uses the software to monitor opposition activists in both Bahrain and abroad. The software works by sending activists an email about some pertinent subject, like political prisoners or torture methods used by the government. Hidden in the email is the software, and once opened it allows the government to copy files, log keystrokes and intercept Skype calls.

10) Canada

Yes, even Good Guy Canada spies on its own. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Associationrecently accused the government of illegal domestic surveillance. The group said Canada’s intelligence agency, known as Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), is collecting personal information on its citizens. The head of CSEC denied the accusations. If you can't believe the head of an intelligence agency, who can you believe?

11) Vietnam

Vietnam’s communications networks may not be as strong as in some other countries, but it’s still under tight government control. After the passage of Decree 72, Vietnamese bloggers and social media users are prohibited from publishing material against the government. Vietnam is also using the same UK-developed software as Bahrain. And, like Bahrain, it is accused of using it to spy on the political opposition.

12) United Kingdom

The United Kingdom and the United States have a beautiful friendship. They share everything, even records of your phone calls. The UK intelligence agency, known as the Government Communication Headquarters, or GCHQ, has been sharing information collected on its own citizens with the NSA through a program known as PRISM. Many in Britain say such sharing, and the original surveillance, is illegal. The government, to no one's surprise, says it committed no crime.

33 Arrested  |  Major Sumner County Drug Bust

For Gallatin police, this was a historic day. “We arrested street dealers all the way up the chain to the top in this operation,” said Gallatin Police Chief Don Bandy. Officers arrested 33 people on charges of conspiracy to sell heroin, cocaine and marijuana. This massive bust was part of a year-long investigation. It began after Gallatin Police started looking into a local homicide and discovered a much bigger and darker picture into the local drug trafficking scene that stretched across state lines.

“We realized that it was going over beyond what we could do as far as resources,” Bandy said. “So we reached out to the Sumner County 18th Judicial Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.” In all, 17 different...

Source: Fox 17

For Gallatin police, this was a historic day. “We arrested street dealers all the way up the chain to the top in this operation,” said Gallatin Police Chief Don Bandy.

Officers arrested 33 people on charges of conspiracy to sell heroin, cocaine and marijuana. This massive bust was part of a year-long investigation. It began after Gallatin Police started looking into a local homicide and discovered a much bigger and darker picture into the local drug trafficking scene that stretched across state lines.

“We realized that it was going over beyond what we could do as far as resources,” Bandy said. “So we reached out to the Sumner County 18th Judicial Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.” In all, 17 different law enforcement agencies teamed up for the round-up. Gallatin police say they used wire-tapping during this investigation, which was a first for Sumner County, Kaneshia Fitts waited outside the Sumner County Courthouse Thursday morning for a friend that police arrested in this raid.

She says the timeline of the bust doesn't make sense. “You have something on somebody you say it happened a year ago and you've tapped them. Why would you wait a year and not catch them in the act of doing it,” she asked. “Why would you wait until somebody is trying to better themselves?” Fitts believes these people are released they won't have any other options besides bad ones. “You are going to make them lose a job,” she said. “If they can’t get out to work, then you forcing them back out on the streets to do things.”

Government spy programme will monitor every phone call, text and email

Government spy programme will monitor every phone call, text and email and store details for up to a year. Details about text messages, phone calls, emails and every website visited by members of the public will be kept on record in a bid to combat terrorism.

The Government will order broadband providers, landline and mobile phone companies to save the information for up to a year under a new security scheme.

Direct messages to users of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter will also be saved and so will information exchanged between players in online video games.

Source: Daily Mail

Details about text messages, phone calls, emails and every website visited by members of the public will be kept on record in a bid to combat terrorism.

The Government will order broadband providers, landline and mobile phone companies to save the information for up to a year under a new security scheme. What is said in the texts, emails or phone calls will not be kept but information on the senders, recipients and their geographical whereabouts will be saved.

Direct messages to users of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter will also be saved and so will information exchanged between players in online video games.

The information will be stored by individual companies rather than the government.

The news has sparked huge concerns about the risk of hacking and fears that the sensitive information could be used to send spam emails and texts.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: 'Britain is already one of the most spied on countries off-line and this is a shameful attempt to watch everything we do online in the same way.

'The vast quantities of data that would be collected would arguably make it harder for the security services to find threats before a crime is committed, and involve a wholesale invasion of all our privacy online that is hugely disproportionate and wholly unnecessary.

'The data would be a honey pot for hackers and foreign governments, not to mention at huge risk of abuse by those responsible for maintaining the databases.It would be the end of privacy online.

'The Home Secretary may have changed but it seems the Home Office’s desire to spy on every citizen’s web use and phone calls remains the same as it was under Labour.

'At a time when the internet is empowering people across the world to embrace democracy, it is shameful for one of the world’s oldest democracies to be pursuing the kind same kind of monitoring that has a stranglehold on civil society in China and Iran.'

It is believed the Home Office started talks with communication companies a few months ago and could officially be announced in May.

The plans have been drawn up by home security service MI5, MI6 which operates abroad, and the GCHQ, the governments communication headquarters which looks after the country's Signal Intelligence.

Security services would then be able to request information on people they have under surveillance and could piece together their movements with information provided.

Mobile phone records are able to show within yards where a call was made from and emails will be tracked using a computer's IP address.

Security services are said to be concerned about the ability of terrorists to avoid tracking through modern technology and are believed to have lobbied Home Secretary Theresa May to introduce the scheme.

According to The Sunday Times ministers are planning to include the spy initiative called the Communications Capabilities Development Programme in the Queen's speech in May.

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said: 'This would be a systematic effort to spy on all of our digital communications.

'No state in history has been able to gather the level of information proposed,' he said to The Sunday Times.

Edward Snowden  |  Leaks that exposed US spy programme

Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, left the US in late May after leaking to the media details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence. Mr Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, faces espionage charges over his actions.

As the scandal widens, BBC News looks at the leaks which brought the US spying activities to light.

Source: BBC News

Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, left the US in late May after leaking to the media details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence. Mr Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, faces espionage charges over his actions.

As the scandal widens, BBC News looks at the leaks which brought the US spying activities to light.

US spy agency 'collects phone records'

The scandal broke in early June 2013 when the Guardian newspaper reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans. The paper published the secret court order directing telecommunications company Verizon to hand over all its telephone data to the NSA on an "ongoing daily basis". That report was followed by revelations in both the Washington Post and Guardian that the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as Prism.

Britain's electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ was also accused of gathering information on the online companies via Prism. Shortly afterwards, the Guardian revealed that ex-CIA systems analyst Edward Snowden was behind the leaks about the US and UK surveillance programmes. He has been charged in the US with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.

UK spy agency 'taps fibre-optic cables'

The GCHQ scandal widened on 21 June when the Guardian reported that the UK spy agency was tapping fibre-optic cables that carry global communications and sharing vast amounts of data with the NSA, its US counterpart. The paper revealed it had obtained documents from Edward Snowden showing that the GCHQ operation, codenamed Tempora, had been running for 18 months. GCHQ was able to boast a larger collection of data than the US, tapping in to 200 fibre-optic cables to give it the ability to monitor up to 600 million communications every day, according to the report. The information from internet and phone use was allegedly stored for up to 30 days to be sifted and analysed. Although GCHQ did not break the law, the Guardian suggested that the existing legislation was being very broadly applied to allow such a large volume of data to be collected. GCHQ and NSA eavesdropping on Italian phone calls and internet traffic was reported by the Italian weekly L'Espresso on 24 October. The revelations were sourced to Edward Snowden. It is alleged that three undersea cables with terminals in Italy were targeted. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta called the allegations "inconceivable and unacceptable" and said he wanted to establish the truth.

US 'hacks China networks'

After fleeing to Hong Kong, Edward Snowden told the South China Morning Post that the NSA had led more than 61,000 hacking operations worldwide, including many in Hong Kong and mainland China. He said targets in Hong Kong included the Chinese University, public officials and businesses. "We hack network backbones - like huge internet routers, basically - that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one," Mr Snowden was quoted as saying.

EU offices 'bugged'

Claims emerged on 29 June that the NSA had also spied on European Union offices in the US and Europe, according to Germany's Der Spiegel magazine. The magazine said it had seen leaked NSA documents showing that the US had spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the 27-member bloc's UN office in New York.

The paper added that it had been shown the "top secret" files by Edward Snowden. One document dated September 2010 explicitly named the EU representation at the UN as a "location target", Der Spiegel wrote. The files allegedly suggested that the NSA had also conducted an electronic eavesdropping operation in a building in Brussels, where the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council were located. It is not known what information US spies might have obtained. But observers say details of European positions on trade and military matters could be useful to those involved in US-EU negotiations.

Merkel phone calls 'intercepted'

The German government summoned the US ambassador on 24 October - a very unusual step - after German media reported that the NSA had eavesdropped on Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone. The allegations dominated an EU summit, with Mrs Merkel demanding a full explanation and warning that trust between allies could be undermined. She discussed the matter by phone with US President Barack Obama. He assured her that her calls were not being monitored now and that it would not happen in future. But the White House did not deny bugging her phone in the past.

Past surveillance by secret police - whether Nazi or communist - has made Germans very sensitive about privacy issues. Mrs Merkel grew up in the former East Germany, where the Stasi spied on millions of citizens. France's President Francois Hollande meanwhile expressed alarm at reports that millions of French calls had been monitored by the US. The Guardian later reported that the NSA had monitored the phones of 35 world leaders after being given their numbers by another US government official. Again, Edward Snowden was the source of the report.

Embassies 'under surveillance'

A total of 38 embassies and missions have been the "targets" of US spying operations, according to a secret file leaked to the Guardian. Countries targeted included France, Italy and Greece, as well as America's non-European allies such as Japan, South Korea and India, the paper reported on 1 July. EU embassies and missions in New York and Washington were also said to be under surveillance. The file allegedly detailed "an extraordinary range" of spying methods used to intercept messages, including bugs, specialised antennae and wire taps. The Guardian report also mentioned codenames of alleged operations against the French and Greek missions to the UN, as well as the Italian embassy in Washington. US Secretary of State John Kerry said that activities to protect national security were "not unusual" in international relations.

Latin America 'monitored'

US allies in Latin America were angered by revelations in Brazil's O Globo newspaper on 10 July that the NSA ran a continent-wide surveillance programme. The paper cited leaked documents showing that, at least until 2002, the NSA ran the operation from a base in Brasilia, seizing web traffic and details of phone calls from around the region.

Is Brazil US espionage target?

US agents apparently joined forces with Brazilian telecoms firms to snoop on oil and energy firms, foreign visitors to Brazil, and major players in Mexico's drug wars. Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile all demanded answers from the US. But the revelations on Latin America kept coming, and in September more specific claims emerged that emails and phone calls of the presidents of Mexico and Brazil had been intercepted. Also, the US had been spying on Brazil's state-owned oil firm Petrobras. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a state visit to the US in the most high-profile diplomatic move since the scandal hit.

US spying 'errors'

Documents leaked to the Washington Post in mid-August suggested the NSA breaks US privacy laws hundreds of times every year. The papers revealed that US citizens were inadvertently snooped on for reasons including typing mistakes and errors in the system. In one instance in 2008, a "large number" of calls placed from Washington DC were intercepted after an error in a computer program entered "202" - the telephone area code for Washington DC - into a data query instead of "20", the country code for Egypt. Later in August, the Washington Post reported that US spy agencies had a "black budget" for secret operations of almost $53bn in 2013.

SMS messages 'collected and stored'

In January 2014, the Guardian newspaper and Channel Four News reported that the US had collected and stored almost 200 million text messages per day across the globe. A National Security Agency (NSA) programme is said to have extracted and stored data from the SMS messages to gather location information, contacts and financial data. The documents also revealed that GCHQ had used the NSA database to search for information on people in the UK.

The programme, Dishfire, analyses SMS messages to extract information including contacts from missed call alerts, location from roaming and travel alerts, financial information from bank alerts and payments and names from electronic business cards, according to the report.

Through the vast database, which was in use at least as late as 2012, the NSA gained information on those who were not specifically targeted or under suspicion, the report says. The revelations came on the eve of an expected announcement by President Obama of a response to recommendations by a US panel on ways to change US electronic surveillance programmes.

Can you spy on a phone when it is turned off?

Whether you consider Edward Snowden a traitor or a patriot, before he hit the news most people didn't give much thought to government spying on everyday citizens. During a recent interview, he said that the NSA has the ability to spy on your Smartphone, even if it's turned off.

So the NSA can listen to your conversations and use your camera when you powered off your phone? Sounds crazy but it is possible — in a way. The most likely way is with a type of invisible spying app. Spying apps aren't anything new; everyone from corporations to hackers to jealous exes use them. This spying app though doesn't just steal your surfing history, text messages and photos.

Source: USA Today

Whether you consider Edward Snowden a traitor or a patriot, before he hit the news most people didn't give much thought to government spying on everyday citizens. During a recent interview, he said that the NSA has the ability to spy on your Smartphone, even if it's turned off.

So the NSA can listen to your conversations and use your camera when you powered off your phone? Sounds crazy but it is possible — in a way.

The most likely way is with a type of invisible spying app. Spying apps aren't anything new; everyone from corporations to hackers to jealous exes use them. This spying app though doesn't just steal your surfing history, text messages and photos. It also gives full access to your phone's microphone and camera. Your phone basically becomes a bug that tells the NSA everything going on around you. Any conversation you have or any embarrassing thing you do, the NSA will have it recorded.

The worst part is that even if you turned the phone off to be safe, it wouldn't really be off. The app makes your phone pretend to be off — it turns off the screen, ignores incoming calls and doesn't respond to button presses — but the spying will still be going on. Now, if you wanted to have a sensitive conversation without worry, you could remove the phone's battery. Then the phone would really be off. But, some phones, like the iPhone, don't have a removable battery.

Here's when you get to feel like a spy. To truly turn off an iPhone you have to know how to use the "device firmware upgrade" or DFU, mode. This is what Apple and developers use to install iOS updates, jailbreak a phone or unlock a SIM card. Don't worry, you're not doing any of that. You just want to really turn off your iPhone. To get into DFU mode, you'll need an iPhone, USB cord and a computer with iTunes installed. First, connect the iPhone to your computer using the USB cord and start iTunes. Once iTunes is running, go to the iPhone and hold down the Power button for three seconds, then press the Home button. Hold both buttons and count to 10 seconds. The phone's screen will go black, but keep holding the buttons. After the 10 seconds are up, let go of the Power button, but keep the Home button pressed. Hold the Home button for another 10 to 15 seconds. When you see a pop-up message in iTunes, you know you're successfully in DFU mode. When you're ready to get out of DFU mode, hold the Home button and Power button until the Apple logo appears. Then let the phone start like it normally would.

Of course, this turning on and off procedure is a complete hassle. So you might think it's better to keep the NSA or anyone else from putting the spy app on your phone in the first place. Good idea, but it's going to be tricky. The NSA or anyone else after you could slip a spy app on your phone disguised as another legitimate app. This is easier to do on Android phones because they can download apps from third-party sites and Google Play's review policy is very relaxed. Apple gadgets can only download from the Apple App Store, and the nefarious would have to get the app past Apple's reviewers. That's harder, but still isn't impossible.

Another concern is that the NSA knows undiscovered bugs in operating systems and common programs that lets it collect data without anyone knowing. It turns out the NSA was exploiting the Heartbleed bug to spy on people, so it isn't that farfetched. And it's just about impossible for you to stop.

In the worst case, the NSA could pull the same trick it allegedly uses with American-made routers heading overseas. The NSA intercepts a router shipment, puts a backdoor in the software, packages the routers back up and sends them on. Then it can spy on any networks the routers connect to.

I doubt the NSA is doing that to phones coming into the U.S. - it would be a logistical nightmare if nothing else - but you never know. If you're really worried about spying apps, you might want to look into the new Blackphones. These Android-based phones are built from the ground up with security and privacy in mind.

Of course, once on the market, a Blackphone will set you back $630, so it isn't for the faint of heart or light of wallet. It might worth it, though, if it keeps the NSA out of your life – for now.

Denmark in US spy agreement

The halls of Christiansborg are simmering after a British newspaper revealed that Denmark is among several countries that have shared sensitive information with the US intelligence agency NSA for decades. The Guardian newspaper revealed that at least seven EU member states have shared personal information with the NSA, including Denmark, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands. Sensitive documents, seen by another English newspaper, The Observer, reportedly showed that the countries have had agreements in place since the Cold War that compel them to hand over data, which experts believe includes mobile phone and internet data.

Source: cphpost.dk

The halls of Christiansborg are simmering after a British newspaper revealed that Denmark is among several countries that have shared sensitive information with the US intelligence agency NSA for decades.

The Guardian newspaper revealed that at least seven EU member states have shared personal information with the NSA, including Denmark, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands. Sensitive documents, seen by another English newspaper, The Observer, reportedly showed that the countries have had agreements in place since the Cold War that compel them to hand over data, which experts believe includes mobile phone and internet data.

A number of political parties in parliament are now calling for an explanation from the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), the defence minister, Nick Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), the domestic intelligence agency PET, and the defence intelligence services, FE.

“One thing is that the intelligence agencies exchange information with agencies in other countries; we were aware of that. But if it is true that the Danish agreement corresponds to the British one, then that means that the Americans have direct access to Danish communication,” Pernille Skipper, the justice spokesperson for Enhedslisten (EL), told Information newspaper.

In the past, EL has demanded a guarantee from the government that the NSA was not monitoring Danish citizens and authorities. “Such surveillance is against the data laws. It is difficult for the Danish police to gain access to this information, so the American authorities have better access to monitor Danish citizens than the Danish authorities themselves have,” Skipper said. The revelation come in the wake of the espionage scandal that has rocked the EU in the last few days and that has threatened to derail the ongoing free-trade negotiations between the EU and the US. Today’s news did not serve to abate those threats.

“It’s incredible that the US, which is considered our ally, has a need to behave like this. I can’t imagine that the Danish authorities do anything to provide access to the information, because if that is the case, heads will roll in the Defence Ministry,” Villum Christensen, the defence spokesperson for Liberal Alliance, told Information.

The information-sharing agreement between the US and the UK was developed back in 1955 and conveyed that "in accordance with these arrangements, each party will continue to make available to the other, continuously, and without request, all raw traffic, COMINT [communications intelligence] end-product and technical material acquired or produced, and all pertinent information concerning its activities, priorities and facilities."

The agreement explains how it can be extended to incorporate similar agreements with third party countries, such as Denmark, providing both the UK and the US agree. Denmark, given the code name Dynamo in the third-party sharing agreement, held great strategic importance during the Cold War and historian Peer Henrik Hansen said he wouldn’t be surprised if such an agreement was in place, referring to an agreement between Denmark and the US from 1946.

“Denmark doesn’t just give away information. That would be giving away trade goods, which is what intelligence is. We have to be honest and say that the intelligence capabilities here in Denmark are limited,” Hansen told Information. “We can’t monitor our own citizens without a warrant, and if the Americans discover that there are six men in Nørrebro plotting terror, then such an agreement would allow the US to alert the Danes of that.”

Indeed, the US has claimed that the massive data collection programme carried out by the NSA played a major roll in thwarting the planned 2010 terrorist attack against Jyllands-Posten newspaper’s Copenhagen offices. The Justice Ministry has deferred all questions about the espionage to the Defence Ministry, which has not yet commented on a possible secret Danish-American espionage agreement.

NSA spied on 60 million phone calls in Spain

A Spanish newspaper published a document Monday that it said shows the U.S. National Security Agency spied on more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone — the latest revelation about alleged massive U.S. spying on allies.

The El Mundo newspaper report comes a week after the French paper Le Monde reported similar allegations of U.S. spying in France and German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Washington tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone. The leaders of Brazil and Mexico are also reported to have been spied on.

Source: NY Daily News

A Spanish newspaper published a document Monday that it said shows the U.S. National Security Agency spied on more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone — the latest revelation about alleged massive U.S. spying on allies.

The El Mundo newspaper report comes a week after the French paper Le Monde reported similar allegations of U.S. spying in France and German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Washington tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone. The leaders of Brazil and Mexico are also reported to have been spied on.

A European summit last week was dominated by anger over the reported extent of U.S. spying on allies and Germany was sending its spy chiefs to Washington to demand answers. El Mundo said the bar graph document titled “Spain - Last 30 days” showed daily call traffic volume between Dec. 10, 2012, and Jan. 8, 2013. It says the NSA monitored the numbers and duration of the calls, but not their content. The document does not show the numbers. El Mundo said the Metadata system used by the NSA could also monitor emails and phone texts, although these were not shown on the graph.

The newspaper said the document was one those leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is wanted by the United States but has been granted asylum in Russia. Just as with the report in Le Monde, the El Mundo story was co-written by Glenn Greenwald, who originally revealed the NSA surveillance program based on leaks from Snowden. El Mundo said it had reached a deal with Greenwald to have the exclusive on the Snowden documents relating to Spain.

There was no immediate reaction to the report from either the Spanish government or the U.S. embassy in Madrid. However, U.S. Ambassador James Costos had already been summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Monday to discuss reports that indicated Spain was a U.S. spying target.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ordered the summoning last Friday but insisted his government was unaware of any cases of U.S. spying on Spain. He spoke after Spain’s leading newspaper El Pais on Friday cited unidentified sources that saw documents obtained by Snowden as saying they showed that the NSA had tracked phone calls, text messages and emails of millions of Spaniards and spied on members of the Spanish government and other politicians.

At a European Union summit on Friday, Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said they would press the Obama administration to agree by year’s end to limits that could put an end to the alleged American eavesdropping on foreign leaders, businesses and innocent citizens.

Nine European Parliament deputies were visiting Washington beginning Monday to get more information on the U.S. mass surveillance by the NSA.

Blackberry Messages helped police crack Montreal Mafia Ring

Police used more than a million intercepted Blackberry messages between alleged mobsters in Quebec to break up two Mafia cells involved in drug trafficking who employed arson and kidnappings to prevent rivals from treading on their territory.

MONTREAL—Police used more than a million intercepted Blackberry messages between alleged mobsters in Quebec to break up two violent Mafia cells involved in drug trafficking who employed arson and kidnappings to prevent rivals from treading on their territory.

Source: The Star

Police used more than a million intercepted Blackberry messages between alleged mobsters in Quebec to break up two Mafia cells involved in drug trafficking who employed arson and kidnappings to prevent rivals from treading on their territory.

MONTREAL—Police used more than a million intercepted Blackberry messages between alleged mobsters in Quebec to break up two violent Mafia cells involved in drug trafficking who employed arson and kidnappings to prevent rivals from treading on their territory.

Early morning raids Thursday resulted in the arrests of 31 people who will face charges related to possession of weapons, drugs and explosives, as well as forcible confinement, conspiracy and gangsterism.

The vast majority of those arrested are from Montreal and the surrounding regions, including Antonio and Roberto Bastone, the alleged leaders of one of the cells.

The head of the other Mafia group, Giuseppe “Ponytail” De Vito, died in prison last year while awaiting trial on drug and gangsterism charges. The provincial coroner determined his death was the result of cyanide poisoning.

One Ontario man, 22-year-old Mikel Fosco, of Barrie, was also arrested in the raids. Other individuals were arrested in the Quebec cities of Gatineau, Laval and Quebec City. Three suspects are still on the loose, police said. The raids targeted two groups that sought greater control of the underworld in the power vacuum following the arrest of Mafia godfather Vito Rizzuto and a 2006 gang sweep that resulted in charges again 73 people, including the father of the godfather, Nicolo Rizzuto. Project Colisée, as it was known, brought the Rizzuto clan to its knees.

In the struggle for control, police said the two Mafia cells were behind a wave of arsons between 2009 and 2011, including one Montreal restaurant that was targeted by Molotov cocktails twice in the span of three months between October 2010 and February 2011.

We were dealing with very dangerous... organized crime groups willing to do anything to achieve their goal,” RCMP Insp. Michel Arcand told reporters. The entire investigation, which stretches back to 2010, was based on intercepted Blackberry PIN messages, police said. More than a million messages in all were tracked over the course of the probe. That information helped lead to the arrest of former Rizzuto lieutenant Raynald Desjardins and others in 2011 after the murder of Salvatore Montagna, who had designs on the godfather’s vacant seat.

Blackberry PINs are meant to be a secure form of communication between users of the device. Investigators would not say if they had the help of the Waterloo, Ont.-based firm in carrying out their probe. Arcand said the individuals arrested represented the “next generation of the Mafia” in Montreal.

They include the likes of 34-year-old Marcello Paolucci, who pleaded guilty to the 2008 kidnapping and assault of a rival mobster before the charges were withdrawn; Massimo Paparelli, 26, whose record includes charges of drug trafficking; as well as Steven Cecere, 27, and 45-year-old Nicola Di Marco, who were identified as obtaining for the Mafia sensitive documents about an ongoing RCMP Mafia probe obtained from Cecere’s father, Angelo, a 26-year civilian member of the RCMP and Italian-speaking translator for the Mounties.

Alessandro Sucapane, is reputed to be an influential actor in the Montreal mob. Also arrested on Thursday, the 49-year-old was identified at an ongoing provincial corruption inquiry in 2012 as belonging to the Rizzuto clan and was charged in 2006 with operating a cocaine trafficking ring along with other members of the group.

Police said their best hope is that the arrests will temporarily destabilize the Italian organized crime world, which is said to be still regrouping after the death of Vito Rizzuto last year, reportedly from lung cancer.

Government Spying on Your Email

Today, federal departments and law enforcement have the ability to access the emails you write without a warrant, sidestepping Fourth Amendment protections. Even if you have done nothing wrong, it doesn’t matter. Law enforcement can, through current existing law, obtain any of your emails over 180 days old.

The most ridiculous part is that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) use a 28 year old law that was passed before the Internet was available for private use and before email was even called “email.” The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 ensured individual electronic privacy at the time, but is now far outdated due to the progression of technology.

Source: Free The Future

Today, federal departments and law enforcement have the ability to access the emails you write without a warrant, sidestepping Fourth Amendment protections. Even if you have done nothing wrong, it doesn’t matter. Law enforcement can, through current existing law, obtain any of your emails over 180 days old.

The most ridiculous part is that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) use a 28 year old law that was passed before the Internet was available for private use and before email was even called “email.” The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 ensured individual electronic privacy at the time, but is now far outdated due to the progression of technology.

In today’s technologically driven world, there is little difference between physical documents and electronic documents. If you create or possess a physical document, the SEC and IRS must go to court and get a warrant from a judge to search your property. But if you create or possess an email, federal law enforcement can simply ignore the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and take what they want.

As Congressmen Kevin Yoder (KS-03) puts it, “There’s concern from a lot of Americans that the federal government would somehow treat electronic correspondence different than paper correspondence.”

Last Tuesday, the House Appropriations subcommittee on financial services asked SEC chairwoman Mary Jo White why her agency doesn’t obtain a warrant for spying on the private emails of American citizens. Ms. White responded that because SEC issues subpoenas and allows the accused party to protest, not possessing a warrant is reasonable because it’s important to law enforcement.

I’m sorry Ms. White, but our Fourth Amendment right to privacy and due process should not be violated simply because it creates a headache for federal law enforcement agencies. Comments from the IRS that American Internet users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy” are not only false, but also downright arrogant. Constitutional rights cannot be dismissed just because federal agencies find them annoying.

Fortunately for us, Congressmen Yoder and Jared Polis (CO-02) introduced legislation to stop the unconstitutional actions of federal agencies like the SEC and the IRS.

The Email Privacy Act (H.R. 1852), first introduced last May, would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to strengthen privacy protections for electronic communications stored by third party service providers, forcing government agencies to obtain a warrant from a judge before obtaining access to our sensitive online information regardless of how old it is.

This bill is a bi-partisan piece of legislation that currently has 200 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives – 18 more co-sponsors would give it majority approval in Congress and put pressure on leadership to bring it to a vote.

The Senate Judiciary Committee already approved a version of this bill last year. It’s time for the House to follow the Senate’s bipartisan effort to protect the Fourth Amendment right of every American citizen.

Tapped BlackBerry  |  Man admits drug trafficking

John Krokos got nabbed by American law enforcement agents posing as underworld figures beginning in late 2009. Krokos arranged to purchase encrypted BlackBerrys from one of the agents on an ongoing basis. He then distributed the devices to his co-conspirators, believing they were a secure method for arranging cocaine shipments. Little did he know he was enabling U.S. agents to monitor drug shipments for years.

“In furtherance of the conspiracy, co-conspirators, including defendant (Krokos), would use encrypted Blackberry devices to coordinate the sale and transportation of cocaine from sources of supply in Mexico … to purchasers within the United States, generally by providing the cocaine to couriers working for the purchasers,” the documents say.

Source: Vancouver Sun

John Darrel Krokos, a B.C. man who set up shop in Mexico and has been linked to one of the deadliest drug cartels in the world. Now Krokos is preparing to spend at least 10 years in a U.S. jail after admitting guilt for his role in an international cocaine smuggling operation.

He is yet to appear in court in California to make the agreement official. The documents have Krokos admitting he conspired to possess and distribute cocaine “beginning on a date unknown, and continuing to on or about June 6, 2012” when he was arrested in Puerto Vallarta on behalf of U.S. officials.

Other charges Krokos was facing as head of the purported “Krokos Drug Trafficking Organization” will be dropped once the agreement is executed in U.S. District Court. Krokos faces a minimum 10-year prison term and a maximum of life behind bars.

The lawyer of one of Krokos’s 18 co-accused said in an unrelated Arizona case that U.S. agents accuse the Kamloops man of having ties to the notorious Sinaloa Cartel, considered by police to be the most powerful drug organization in the world. A Canadian police source told The Sun that Krokos was the Vallarta-based cocaine broker for B.C. bikers. “We believe that he was a point person for the Hells Angels in Mexico with the Sinaloa Cartel,” the officer said.

The June 13 court documents include an agreed statement of facts that lays out how Krokos got nabbed by American law enforcement agents posing as underworld figures beginning in late 2009. Krokos arranged to purchase encrypted BlackBerrys from one of the agents on an ongoing basis. He then distributed the devices to his co-conspirators, believing they were a secure method for arranging cocaine shipments. Little did he know he was enabling U.S. agents to monitor drug shipments for years.

“In furtherance of the conspiracy, co-conspirators, including defendant (Krokos), would use encrypted Blackberry devices to coordinate the sale and transportation of cocaine from sources of supply in Mexico … to purchasers within the United States, generally by providing the cocaine to couriers working for the purchasers,” the documents say.

Some of those cocaine transactions are highlighted in the plea agreement: a total of 96 kilograms sent north from April to August 2010 and then a further 90 kilograms transported between May and September 2011. Some of the coke was intercepted by U.S. agents. Krokos was also involved in transferring millions of dollars in payments to Mexico, the documents state.

Gone from the agreement are allegations contained in the original indictment, dated May 31, 2009, that Krokos had ordered the kidnapping and torture of an underling who claimed U.S. authorities had seized a load of cocaine. The plea deal, however, does say that Krokos is not eligible for one specific sentence reduction because he “was aware that serious bodily harm resulted from the conspiracy because of co-conspirators’ conduct.”

The original indictment said Krokos received a call in May 2011 saying another member of the gang had lied about police seizing 44 kilos of cocaine. As a result, the man was “punished” and his son was forced to pay a $400,000 fine. Now 42, Krokos has no criminal history in B.C. He is believed to have left Canada about four years ago to settle in the Mexican beach city.

Before his arrest a year ago, he was living the high life in Mexico, staying at a luxury condominium complex. He was featured in snap shots with buddies, drinks in hand, poolside, and showing off his muscles at a local gym.

The U.S. court file lists a number of aliases for Krokos — Walter, Lord of the Beach, the Hulk and JJ — without explaining their origins. Krokos’s father Gus said Tuesday that he was unaware his son had signed a plea agreement. In a phone interview from Kamloops, he said he has received calls from his son since his arrest, but does not know specifics of the case against him.

Gus Krokos said he has never visited his son in Mexico, but had been led to believe he was employed there selling time share condos. And he was training at the gym, the elder man said. As for allegations Krokos was a major cocaine smuggler, his dad said: “I don’t know nothing about it. I don’t know what the hell was going on.”

Spy Scandal as 5 Scandinavian Countries Catch the U.S. spying on their citizens

America has been accused of illegally spying on hundreds of people in Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. Officials in the five countries expressed their unhappiness at surveillance tactics that were conducted without the knowledge of the individual nations' governments. America claims officials informed the Norwegian government about the operation which was aimed at terror suspects.

In other instances, it has stated it has 'nothing to hide'. But Danish security services have stated they will begin an investigation into the matter if evidence of illegal surveillance is uncovered.

Source: Daily Mail

America has been accused of illegally spying on hundreds of people in Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. Officials in the five countries expressed their unhappiness at surveillance tactics that were conducted without the knowledge of the individual nations' governments. America claims officials informed the Norwegian government about the operation which was aimed at terror suspects.

In other instances, it has stated it has 'nothing to hide'. But Danish security services have stated they will begin an investigation into the matter if evidence of illegal surveillance is uncovered. The diplomatic dispute erupted on November 3 when Norwegian media outlet TV2 screened a report stating that a group of US agents has been surveilling 15 to 20 Norwegian for 10 years, mostly at various rallies. It stated potential terrorists were photographed, and the information was sent to Washington, to prevent terrorist attacks against U.S. embassies. A spokesman of the U.S. State Department, Philip Crowley, said that the Norwegian authorities were notified about their covert operation. 'We are implementing the program throughout the world and are vigilant against people who can keep track of our embassies, as we understand that our diplomatic missions are a potential target,' said Mr Crowley.

However, Norway disagrees and a representative of the American embassy was called to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry for an explanation, according to Russian online newspaper Pravda. When the Norwegian case became public knowledge, Denmark also raised its concerns about the surveillance of its citizens. Danish newspaper Politiken claimed that all American embassies have surveillance teams to address threats to the U.S. security.

Former head of the Danish security service PET Jorgen Bonniksen said that he had never heard of such groups: 'If this is true, then we have to deal with illegal intelligence operations in Denmark. 'On Danish territory such operations can be conducted by PET, and PET only.' The current head of PET, Jakob Scharf, said that if illegal activity is determined, 'of course, we will take action.'

Sweden followed suit, with Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask stating U.S. Embassy staff in Stockholm have been spying on people there since 2000. The head of the Stockholm's security police, Anders Danielsson, directly accused the U.S. of violating international norms, stating, 'The Swedish security police (SAPO) did not give the U.S. a permission to engage in activities that are contrary to Swedish law.'

Again the U.S said it had notified Sweden of its actions, but representatives also said they 'have nothing to hide'. Finland weighed last week when authorities in Helsinki declared that they did not believe American reassurances that there was no illegal activity. Iceland completed the picture in Scandinavia when it declared that it suspected members of the American Embassy in Reykjavik of espionage.

'There is nothing surprising here,' Intelligence expert and author Alexander Kolpakidi told Pravda.ru. 'U.S. intelligence services have always behaved that way around the globe. 'Virtually all countries of the world, including the members of European Union and NATO, have secret CIA tracking stations.'

Uncrackable Phones provided by Phantom Secure

Phantom Secure is an exclusive service meant for the most serious individuals that are concerned about privacy. What we have created is a true form of secure communications from one member to another. This is established by creating a private communication channel where clients use a specialized standard form of security found both on the network and hardware. When designing our secure service everything has been seriously taken into consideration. From the network located in multiple offshore locations to our proprietary system design that incorporates specially configured handheld devices, Phantom Secure has become the leader in trusted secure communications.

Source: ABC News

Phantom Secure is an exclusive service meant for the most serious individuals that are concerned about privacy. What we have created is a true form of secure communications from one member to another. This is established by creating a private communication channel where clients use a specialized standard form of security found both on the network and hardware. When designing our secure service everything has been seriously taken into consideration. From the network located in multiple offshore locations to our proprietary system design that incorporates specially configured handheld devices, Phantom Secure has become the leader in trusted secure communications.

“Phantom Secure are a modified BlackBerry. In a way what they have done to a BlackBerry phone is added additional encryption for secure communication, plus the ability to wipe the phone after messages are sent.” - Richard Bergman, Cyber Expert PriceWaterhouseCoopers

It is everyone’s constitutional right to be able to communicate freely and privately without fear. At Phantom Secure, we are committed to our clients to always hold their privacy as our number one priority. For over 9 years our service has been put to the test. This has resulted in a recent confirmation on a nationally televised news story, that our service is unbreakable. What was once only available to the government can now be offered to people that care about their privacy in this new digital age of communications.

“It [Phantom Secure] sells encrypted phones that are so secure even Australia's electronic spy agency can't crack their code.” “Phantom Secure's encryption is so strong even the country's electronic intelligence agency, the Australian Signals Directorate, can't crack messages sent from one Phantom phone to another.” - Dylan Welch ABC 7.30 Reporter

Our Exclusive Private Service - Unlike Any in the Market Today

Don’t be fooled by opportunists who will simply tell you what you want to hear but in reality are complete amateurs when it comes to secure communications. Will they stand up for your constitutional right to privacy or break from the first sign of pressure? Our clients know that when it comes to their privacy, we have their backs. Our service doesn’t allow anyone to compromise our member’s privacy and we will not be pressured into doing so. This includes not only their communications but also a complete private experience that respects the anonymity of our members.

Phantom goes to extreme lengths to ensure their clients' anonymity. They don't ask for personal information, only credit card details and even that is deleted after payment. It means the company holds no paperwork linking the phone to its owner.” - Dylan Welch ABC 7.30 Reporter

“The phones are purchased overseas. You can purchase them for cash; you don't necessarily need to prove your identity to get access to some of the phones. So tying a device to a person can be challenging.” - Richard Bergman, Cyber Expert PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Considering the fact that we actually care about the safety of our clients, our service is not designed as an open communication network or one that allows unsafe features to be present alongside our service. Many so-called privacy services simply overlook or have total disregard to good privacy standards and practices. As security experts we will not put our clients in harms way nor will we allow them the option. Our success is built on a foundation of core values that dictate strict privacy standards in all aspects of our corporation, service and the hardware our clients use. For instance we do not allow the use of all device features or potentially threatening applications to be used on our client’s hardware. Unsecure forms of communications or applications such as, cameras, SMS, phone, GPS, Maps, unknown applications etc. present huge security risks to people which could expose a persons location, communications and identity. The security standards we implement rival that to President Obama’s secure messaging service, which is a complete locked down private communications network where users are provided a specially configured BlackBerry device.

We’ve been saying it for a decade and now even independent experts in cyber security agree, Phantom Secure truly is the No.1 name in private communication. Proven and effective worldwide.

Phantom Secure - Securing Your Constitutional Right To Privacy

“[Phantom Secure] offering is effectively a handset that's highly locked down. You're not able to make calls, you're not able to use the SMS system or emails or anything like that. The only thing you can use is use the BlackBerry messaging system.” “If you took every single computer in the known world and you joined them together to try to decrypt the message, it would probably take about a lifetime of the universe, so hundreds of millions of years.” - Craig Searle, Head of Cyber Security