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Canadian Arrested Over Plans to Test G20 Security 392

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-forward-thinking dept.
epiphani writes "Byron Sonne, of Toronto, was arrested today by a task force of around 50 police officers associated with the G20 summit taking place this week. An independent contractor, IT security specialist and private investigator, he had notable ties to the Toronto technology and security communities. According to friends and associates, he had been purchasing goods online and speaking with security groups about building devices to collect unencrypted police broadcasts and relay them through Twitter, as well as other activities designed to test the security of the G20 summit. By all accounts, it would appear that Mr. Sonne had no actual malicious intent. In Canada, the summit has been garnering significant press for the cost and invasive nature of the security measures taken." "By all accounts" may not be quite right; the charges against Sonne, exaggerated or not, involve weapons, explosives, and intimidation.
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Canadian Arrested Over Plans to Test G20 Security

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  • Re:Hey... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:46PM (#32682416) Journal

    It's pretty ridiculous, I know.

    "By all accounts" may not be quite right; the charges against Sonne, exaggerated or not, involve weapons, explosives and intimidation.

    Can't you be charged with just about anything a police officer deems necessary to bring you into the station, but you aren't guilty of any of them until proven so? I thought that's how it worked but clearly I'm mistaken.

    Though, I mean, the question of Malicious intent does bring up some good points. If I fire a weapon to shoot an Apple off someones head and I miss and end up murdering them, despite how un-malicious my intent is, do I still have to pay for the crime?

  • Re:Bizarre .... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:57PM (#32682578) Homepage

    On the bright side, you get to cut the bull's balls off and eat it if you win.

    If you consider that a perk, go ahead.

    But, if you lose, you have to suck the bull's balls before he has his way with you. It's a dangerous game of chicken, and a little too risky in my opinion.

  • Re:FRAUD! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:07PM (#32682750)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_G-20_London_Summit#Security_operation

    "The security operation, Operation Glencoe headed by Commander Bob Broadhurst, was projected to cost £7.2 million. Six police forces were used during the operation: the Metropolitan Police, the City of London Police, British Transport Police and the forces of Essex Police, Sussex Police and Bedfordshire Police. Furthermore some units from the Ministry of Defence Police have been used. It is the highest security expenditure in British history"

    Enough said.

    There is overpayment, there is waste (see $2 billion spent over *10 YEARS* for the long gun registry), and there is outright fraud. This is definitely the latter.

    IF the toronto police force paid their 6000 people $12,000 bonuses+salary for this, that's a "small chunk" of money. That leaves 1000 people with $800,000 - $1 million *each*. WTF???

    Canada's waste and corruption scandals are dwarfed by this. This is beyond unacceptable.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:09PM (#32682770) Journal

    Googling his name and filtering out (as best I can) the plethora of reprints of this article, it looks like the "explosives" were deliberate acquisition of ingredients to see what it would take to provoke a response. I guess he found out.

    As far as "weapons" was concerned, I don't know enough about Canadian law -- what is and is not classed as a "weapon" -- to speculate. But his linkedin says he's a licensed private investigator, and in many areas where it's otherwise impossible, a valid PI license sometimes allows a person to carry concealed. So, he could have legally owned a firearm.

    I suspect that to a certain extent this is another example of the "kitchen sink" approach to high-profile arrests, and some of these charges will be dropped in plea negotiations.

    Or, I dunno, he could really be a nut. But I don't think so. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:10PM (#32682802)

    He acts suspicious and gets caught, just as he did.

    He convinces the police it was just a "test". They laugh and go away.

    He continues and security ignores him as he is just "testing".

    He does commit a terrorist attack which get through because the police were ignoring him since that was his objective in the first place.

    Would you want to be the head of security to try to explain this?

  • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe.jwsmythe@com> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:12PM (#32682822) Homepage Journal

        I've heard of people being arrested in the US for possession of burglary tools. Well, tools for the commission of a crime. That can simply be a hammer, screwdriver, and pry bar. The hammer and screwdriver could simply have been in a toolbox, and the "pry bar" can frequently be found as standard equipment in the vehicle with the jack, if it had hubcaps.

        These two counts caught my eye:

    Intimidation of a justice system participant by threat.
    Intimidation of a justice system participant by watch and beset.

        It sounds like this wasn't only involved with his other plans, but I'd guess "justice systems participant" could be law enforcement. I'm not that familiar with Canadian law, so it's just a guess. If he made direct threats of some sort, then that changes the whole ballgame.

        These two could be easily explained:

    Possession of explosives for an unlawful purpose.
    Possession of dangerous weapons.

        That can of gasoline you have in the garage for your lawnmower could be an explosive. It "could" be used for unlawful purposes, and if it were to be used for an unlawful purpose, could be a dangerous weapon. Likewise, a propane tank for your grill could be an explosive, if handled incorrectly. It's an easy claim to make, but would be laughed out of court. Usually the bomb squad wouldn't be called out for a gas can or propane tank, so that leads me to believe there was more to those items. It could simply be misidentification of unusual hardware.

        A while back I had made a electrolysis cell, to provide hydrogen gas to supplement the gasoline in a car. My prototype was very unusual, with lots of custom components. It had carbon rods in a grid, and wires attached to provide DC power. I showed it to a few people who didn't know what it was, and they came up with all kinds of wild, and dangerous, assumptions of what it could be. The best guess was a prototype nuclear reactor. :) When you have a grid of 100 equally spaced carbon rods in a lexan case, that can make your imagination run. At very least, it would look like something you'd see in a scifi movie.

        BTW, it didn't work as well as it should, even over several generations of modifications. The power consumption to make a significant enough volume of hydrogen simply made it not feasible. I'd need something like 20A at 120VAC, rectified to 120VDC, and I hadn't even gotten to the live filtering (to remove particulate carbon), explosion protection (on low water level or flashback from the engine), and automatic refilling capabilities.

      I'd suspect there was more to it than these simple examples, but that puts the LEO's on dangerous ground, where they will have the case dropped, and could be severely reprimanded (drop in rank, period of suspension without pay, etc).

        We don't have all the facts, so this is all just speculation. I'd be interested to see where it goes.

       

  • by ushering05401 (1086795) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:13PM (#32682844) Journal

    And the relationship with Poland will never be the same as Canadian politicians blocked Polish attempts to exercise an agreement allowing independent investigation of incidents involving Polish Nationals in Canada.

    Being Canada I hope someone named some farm animals after the politicians involved.

  • In Texas, though (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:13PM (#32682850)

    In Texas, you can carry rifles while you protest outside a Republican state convention where Laura Bush is speaking and no one questions you.

    Interesting contrast.

    Here are a couple [virginia.edu] of links. [chron.com]

  • by RingDev (879105) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:15PM (#32682880) Homepage Journal

    This guy had a theory, that a person acting very suspiciously may not be noticed by government intelligence agencies in a timely manner during an international gathering of heads.

    To test his theory, he began taking suspicious actions in an attempt to get noticed. One would assume that the longer his suspicious acts went unnoticed, the more suspicious acts he partook in.

    Eventually, his actions were noticed and he was detained.

    The conclusion of his test will be in the summary of what suspicious actions he managed to take BEFORE he was detained.

    It sure seems like the goal all along was to get caught. The question was to determine the amount of suspicious actions he could take prior to being caught.

    -Rick

  • Re:Hey... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:21PM (#32682978)

    IT HAD BETTER BE THE BEST FUCKING SECURITY EVER.

    Over a billion dollars. A billion fucking dollars. Canadian. Citizen's. Dollars. (Our exchange rate is about par.) That's .1% of our GDP and .25% of our national debt. Think about that.

    It's a four-day event. That's $300 Million a day, or 12.5 Million an hour, or 208 thousand dollars a minute. (3.5 thousand PER SECOND.)

    I'm all for making sure that we've got a secure event, but for that they could have bought an Aircraft Carrier and parked it in the middle of Lake Superior and had an impenetrable fortress. Okay, so some of the G20 don't like the cramped quarters on a military vessel. They could have rented a cruise ship and hauled in, let's say Halifax and VDQ (Canadian Patrol Frigates, our ships-of-the-line) for security. (Or Montreal if they wanted to show off the new Cyclones) If someone else (like POTUS) wanted more security, they could task a Nimitz to accompany the group for the duration. The same with anyone else -- you want more security, bring in a warship.

    No "Conservative" ever gets to talk about adscam ever again. EVER. FUCKING. AGAIN.

  • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:25PM (#32683024)

    They have appointed a special prosecutor and it is likely that those murdering murderers that murdered Dziekanski will face criminal charges.

    Now, those charges might be perjury, which is unfair, but there are ~30 million of us who want those murdering murderers that murdered Dziekanski put into prison. I'd accept any charges that put them in jail.

  • Re:FRAUD! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ixitar (153040) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:58PM (#32683512) Homepage
    An event like this involves more than three days in execution. There are months of planning involved. That costs money. Resources are tied up in advance of the event. That costs money. I would like to see an itemized accounting for this event.
  • Re:Hey... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphani AT dal DOT net> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @05:00PM (#32683550)

    Thanks, you basically summed up my feelings on the matter.

    The only reason this guy has gotten arrested is because he saw this insanity and wondered "how effective is it really" and proceeded to tell everyone he knew (and a whole bunch of people he didn't know) that he planned to test the security of the thing.

  • Re:Hey... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @05:05PM (#32683656) Journal
    We have officially reached insane levels of polarization in the reporting of this event. Law claims he is basically a terrorist, but claim that he is an independent researcher seeing how well our tax dollars are being spent holds water, and gives the police a very good reason to lie.
  • Re:Hey... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Americano (920576) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @05:30PM (#32684016)
    And tens of police raided the guy's house, arrested him - and apparently later, his girlfriend - and charged them both with very specific crimes, including possession of weapons & explosives.

    Do you think the police just sit around the squad room all day and go, "Joe, check me out. Why don't we... drive up to a random house in Toronto, kick the door in, arrest the guy on trumped up charges, get the story splashed in newspapers around the world, and then have a beer and laugh about it?"

    He and his girlfriend are being charged with very specific crimes; Given the intensity of the media coverage surrounding the G20, the level of outrage over the security spending, and the fact that so many people were involved in the raid and arrest, I think it's far more likely that there is something *actually illegal* going on here. Think of the black eye to Canada (and especially their law enforcement), if this were shown to be trumped up charges over a guy with a cell phone, a can of gas in his garage, and a couple walkie talkies? They'd be laughed at as a bunch of Keystone Kops for years over this.

    Your scenario, where it's just a bunch of crooked cops looking to railroad some guy for a crime he didn't commit, while no doubt appealing to the "IANAL, but I play one on Slashdot!" crowd, simply doesn't pass the test of logic. It would require dozens, perhaps hundreds, of law enforcement and judiciary personnel to be corrupt to the point of downright evil in order for that to happen. Is it *possible*? Sure, just about anything is. But it's not *likely* that that many people would wake up and, in the midst of Canada being in an international press spotlight, decide to ruin someone's life just for the fun of it.

    Perhaps it's a misunderstanding, and the guy bought a bunch of weapons and bomb-making materials "just to see if anybody would notice." Well, guess what? They noticed, and now the justice system is responding in exactly the way it should to somebody who legitimately appears to be a threat to public safety.
  • Re:Hey... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Americano (920576) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @05:51PM (#32684326)
    Of course it happens. Do a simple google search for "false arrest" with your state or province name, and you'll find lawyers who advertise as specialists in this type of case. They wouldn't be offering the services if it wasn't helping to pay their bills.

    In the United States at least, the real issue is whether or not the claim of "false arrest [wikipedia.org]" shows a violation of "clearly established law". Law enforcement officials are granted qualified immunity against "false arrest" claims, with the qualifier being that no such violation occurs.

    In the link provided above, an example of false arrest is outlined, Sorrell v. McGuigan (4th Cir. 2002). The plaintiff was arrested for possession of a weapon, when the law clearly exempted the type of knife he was carrying. The officer thought the knife constituted a weapon, and so arrested him. Because the knife wasn't considered a weapon under the law, and the man hadn't broken any law, he sued for false arrest, and the officer's qualified immunity was denied, and that denial has been upheld on appeal.

    I'm not certain of the details of the law in Canada, but I'm certain that they have false arrest provisions as well, and I've no doubt that a massive suit will be brought against anybody with a hand in the G20 security effort if there's even a shred of hope that the guy's being arrested & held on completely trumped up charges.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @06:18PM (#32684678) Homepage Journal

    How much time in advance did the Canadians have to put this together in, was it enough to build a hotel or whatever? Besides, it is irrelevant what you build if you still have to secure it, and securing a totally new structure from scratch is probably much more difficult than an existing one.

    I don't really know what went into the 1 Billion, I am interested to see, but to put a blank statement that the fraud perpetrated by the former government is the same thing as spending a billion or whatever on security for a meeting for a bunch of world-leaders, their stuff, to make it all work... it's not a fair comparison.

    Whether there was any money wasted or not on this event (and government always wastes money) does NOT change the fact of the liberals' government behavior.

  • by shovas (1605685) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @07:25PM (#32685274) Homepage

    Having a court say once and for all that "excited delirium" is bullshit and not a valid medical term and can't be used to describe a death which only happens when tasers are used.

    My father has a police officer neighbour. He works in Toronto and lives far out in the suburbs. He's a decent guy. He brought up that "excited delirium" like he was sold it by his department and Taser Corp. (or whoever they are). I told him if two police officers can't take down one individual without aids, something is wrong.

  • Re:FRAUD! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @07:56PM (#32685528) Journal

    The question that should be asked in the first place - why the hell do 20 people (they're still people, not Cthulhu-sized monstrosities, despite the fact that they're G20 leaders) need to meet in person in a highly publicized event in a middle of a large city just to discuss some matters, no matter how important? I'd bet most of the bill - which doesn't even account for major inconveniences to the locals - is due to that alone.

    Just give them a cruise ship with an armed escort, and be done with it already. They don't need these kinds of meetings.

  • Re:Hey... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:21PM (#32685768)

    As an American who lived under 8 years of Bush and company I can certainly sympathize with your feelings about gross overspending and mismanagement of money.

    As an American who has lived under a little over 2 years of Obama... I'm cautiously optimistic on the whole "keeping his campaign promises" thing. One of these days on my vacation I'm going to have to read through the entire Obameter.

  • Re:Hey... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @09:02PM (#32686066)

    Actually, in those four words you've managed to fail at history, political science, and the Internet.

    The political spectrum shows socialism on the left-hand side and fascism on the right. Fascism is not restricted to 1930s-1940s Germany. Rather, it is when the state enforces its will upon your own and individuals get little or no freedom. It's in the first paragraph on Wikipedia, for crying out loud. For example, adding restrictions on abortion, gay marriage, and copyright legislation are all fascist moves. (Yeah, I know, one of these things are not like the others.)

    Godwin's law requires a direct comparison of someone or something to Nazi Germany or Hitler. You could, I suppose, also Godwin a discussion by invoking alternate Axis figures, for example Himmler, Mussolini, or by a stretch Hirohito.

    Merely stating the fact that a behaviour pattern is fascist is not directly comparing anything to Nazis. There's no comparing the murder of 12 million civilians to the mishandling of citizen dollars. That's ridiculous and it shows a serious lack of political insight on your part. I can only assume that you're deliberately putting on a character, as logical flaws that deep should not exist in nature.

    Also, none of the participants in the argument can call "Godwin" as that itself Godwins the thread, which means that either party can simply end the discussion by claiming Godwinning on the part of the other party.

  • Re:Hey... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by delinear (991444) on Friday June 25, 2010 @06:16AM (#32688402)

    It's as patently absurd an excuse as those people who justify looking at child porn by claiming to be "hunting it down to report to the police" (incidentally, I never hear in those cases that the people arrested have previously reported X incidents of offending material that they've found in the past, they're always incredibly unfortunate to be discovered on their first attempt). If you're planning on helping out the police, the first thing you should do is speak to the police. The chances are they will tell you that they have everything under control and thanks, but they don't need your assistance.

    If you really think there are big holes in the security, report it to their superiors or contact someone in the government about your concerns. If they agree and if they think your insight is worthwhile, they might even hire you as an official security consultant to test their security. The fact is, most people who claim they're only testing security are either Walter Mitty characters living out some deluded fantasy, or else they're people with bad intentions seeking to cover them up with a shield of ineptitude.

    I know we tend to want to support the plucky underdog, and some guy "testing the security" of a political event such as this is awfully similar to the plucky hacker "testing the defences" of the Military's computers, but really, even if you have the very best of intentions, if you put yourself in a situation where you mirror the actions of the "bad" guys without the explicit consent of the "good" guys, don't be surprised when the "good" guys treat you like a "bad" guy. As you said, he'll get his day in court to argue his point (but the courts tend to frown on vigilantes just as much as the police), but really if his actions were merely to test security and he did so fully aware of and ready to accept the risks inherent, he should be happy he got caught and happy to take whatever punishment is meted out (as this both proves that security is better than expected and acts as a deterrent).

  • Re:Hey... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zx-15 (926808) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:46AM (#32691486)


      and costs of 'cleaning up' disasters are much higher than costs of preventing them.

    And your point being?


    If a government wants to, has a political will and the correct structure (read: is not neck deep in taking 'contributions' and generally relying on the corporations for the (re)elections) then nothing at all can stop a government from suing.

    Most electoral campaigns in Canada are publicly funded -- http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/federal-campaign-finance-laws-canada [mapleleafweb.com]

    Here's also a nice table from that website:


    Public Support as Portion of Total Funding by Political Party (2007)

    Bloc Québécois 86%

    Green Party of Canada 65%

    Liberal Party of Canada 63%

    New Democratic Party of Canada 57%

    Conservative Party of Canada 37%

    Also your second to last paragraph is mostly an incomprehensible rant, try turning off the TV and learn how to paraphrase.

    And fuck you too.

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