Intelligence Support Systems (ISS) and Lawful Intercept(?) - how your mobile phone is tapped, continuously, 24/7 by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA's)
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Chris Soghoian from Indiana posts on the Surveillance State blog of C net on September 8, 2008 . He writes ..."Exclusive: Widespread cell phone location snooping by NSA?"
It is lengthy and technical requiring careful and rewarding reading. Basically Chris identifies an opportunity for NSA to use legal powers to divulge details commercial companies may have about telcom communications.
Whilst everyone knows that the major carriers have been involved in warrantless wiretapping there are ,any other sources of information available to saate agencies both in the US but also in human-rights abusing governments in the Middle East and Asia . This was identified in an article in the London Review of Books by Daniel Soar - Short Cuts on 14th August 2008.
The major networks – in the UK, Vodafone, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile decided, in around 2002, to sell their location data to any company willing to pay for it. As a result you can sign up for a very modest sum , currently £29.99 a year/ $50 – to mapAmobile.com (‘you’ll always know where your loved ones are’). This service (not unique) provides a facility to follow movements of a designated phone - your daughter, husband. This requires approval by replying to a text message alerting him to the request - easily by-passed by a lady who wishes to track a suspicioulsy errant husband.
Apple’s iPhone users can now download an application that displays a friend’s location as a bright green dot on a map.
This is just one example of the way "dis-aggregation" or unbundling of cellphone traffic enables the data to be utilised by third parties.Whilst you have a contract with Sprint, they don't own the towers, they may piggy back other networks, they may outsource billing.
Not only is this information available there are companies who supply proprietary and powerful software products to mine the data available, in a way that is helpful to law enforcement. A guesstimate is that half a trillion calls are made every day on networked cellphones: their time and location of call origination, destination, time and duration and all identifying codes are logged on telecom provider hard-drives and generally retained, under emerging legislation, for up to two years.
For example ThorpeGlen,("serious crime solutions") a U.K firm based in Ipswich , offers intelligence analysts a graphical interface to the company's mobile-phone location and call-record data-mining software. (and VASTech and Kommlabs and Amesys sell products as well - the Danish based company Spectronic celebrated their 25th anniversary in June - they are part of Cobham the UK based supplier to the military)
ThorpeGlen’s VP of sales and marketing showed in a ‘Webinar’ broadcast to the Intelligence Support Systems (ISS) community on 13 May - 'Nomadic Target Lawful Intercept'. His example was based on real time data on 50 million subscribers in Indonesia ("With an increasing number of terror threats, Asian countries are taking aggressive, pro-active steps to prevent any potential violence toward their countries and their neighbors."). Calls from the entire network of 50 million subscribers had been processed, over a period of two weeks, to produce a database of eight billion or so ‘events’. Analysis showeed 48 million were just calling/texting friends , 400,000 subscriptions could be attributed to a few large ‘nodes’, with numbers belonging to call centres, shops and information services.
That left finally groups ranging from 2 - 142 members these folks only called each other, in one group all the subscribers only ever called a single number at the centre of the web.
They have lots of other tricks as well, profiling users, identifying multiple phone use, swaps etc., You can catch up with developments by contacting them or visiting their booth to see sample software at ISS World Prague (1-3 October, 2008) or Milipol Qatar (17-19 November, 2008) .
"ThorpeGlen has already installed several large scale Call Detail Records (CDR) collection and analysis systems in Asian countries and is currently in contract negotiation with several other regional National Security Agencies for further sales opportunities."
ThorpeGlen is based at Adastral Park, Ipswich and has been funded by Cambridge-based fund management team CREATE Partners Ltd on 7 August 2006 and 5 April 2007 . The CEO is David Woods. They recently purchased the Advanced Communications Monitoring business from Azure Solutions - TG is actually a management spin off from Azure . Azure was spun out from BT Brightstar in April 2003, and taken over by an Indian company, Subex, in June 2006 to form Subex Azure. The advanced systems the company makes can acquire, enhance, monitor and analyze massive amounts of data. These use sophisticated pattern detection and analysis methods and have the capability to isolate suspects and criminal groups by association, monitor specific levels of activity and, as a result of this increased visibility, proactively predict activity leading to major crimes. Other major benefits include : Intelligence gathering from all electronic sources into one core system; detecting and solving issues in counter-terrorism, major and organised crime, narcotics, financial fraud; and the protection of losses for large organisations. This can be used to predict activity which may indicate preparation for major criminal events, including terrorism acts and high-tech financial frauds.
If you want to learn more simply go to https://188.8.131.52:58443 but you won't get far if you haven't got an authorised user certificate.
This site covers the ISS conference 2007 in Dubai and provides many links to suppliers and users ... for example Government Keynote Panelists included ;
Funsho Fayomi, Assistant Director, Legal Services, Nigerian Communications Commission
Masoon Shukair, Commissioner, Telecom Regulatory Commission, Jordan
Shamsul Jafni Shafie, Head Information and Network Security Department Content, Malaysian Communication
Mohamed Ali Eid, Director General, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Somalia
Basil Udotai, Office of the National Security Adviser, Cybercrime Working Group , Nigeria Gen. George Boustani, Ex Executive Committee Member of Iterpol, Lebanon
Not countries where one imagines they are too concerned about "Lawful" Interception.
The suppliers present provide an interesting glimpse of what must be a secretive but very successful business. Here is the site for the ISS conference in Prague in October - there are a lot of people at work in this business.
Click to enlarge .. major sponsors here Just look for example at what one of the companies are showing and what they are doing ..
Telesoft Technologies has been deploying intelligence gathering and lawful interception solutions since 1991, building an enviable reputation for ease of connection into a wide variety of networks with country variants, reliability in the field and ability to hand off data to Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA). Major Lawful Interception (LI) standards supported include CALEA, ETSI, 3GPP and SORM allowing rapid integration with 3rd party mediation and collection functions.
Read the data on their Hinton product here (pdf - see benefits list above) and maybe turn up and listen on the first day to the ISS and Lawful Interception Track 1 conference at 13:15-13:45 and listen to Keith Driver, Head of Business Development (Intelligence/Defence), Telesoft Technologies on the subject ; Real Time Intercept from Packet Networks, Challenges and Solutions
Which will be different (no doubt) to his address to ISS World Asia Pacific in Singapore Monday 9th June - 13:15-14:15 Lawful Interception Guru Panel - 15:15-15:45 Using Passive Probes In Packet And Traditional Networks to Deliver High Precision Communications Intercept
Then folks shake their heads when Lord Patel doesn't have a mobile and won't let anybody on the staff to use one.