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Montreal Police Monitored iPhone of La Presse Journalist Patrick Lagace ( 56

Montreal police have reportedly spied on La Presse journalist Patrick Lagace, tracking his cellphone calls, texts, and locations. According to Legace, the police department "obtained the court-authorized search warrants because they believed the target of one of their investigations was feeding him information." However, he said "the story in question was actually first reported on by a competitor, leading him to believe the investigation was actually a thinly veiled attempt to learn the identity of the sources within the police department." reports: La Press reported Monday at least 24 surveillance warrants were issued for Patrick Lagace's iPhone this year at the request of the police special investigations unit. That section is responsible for looking into crime within the police force. The warrants were used to track Lagace's whereabouts using the GPS chip in his iPhone. The warrants also allowed police to obtain the identities of everyone he spoke to or exchanged text messages with during that time. It's part of a "culture shift" among law enforcement and judges that began with the passing of Bill C-51 under the previous Conservative government, he said. Henheffer pointed to other recent cases where law enforcement has been spying on journalists or fighting for them to turn over the names of anonymous sources in court. In September, the Surete du Quebec seized Journal de Montreal reporter Michael Nguyen's computer because they believed he illegally obtained information cited in a story he wrote. At the same time, the RCMP has been trying to get a reporter from Vice News to hand over background materials used for stories on a suspected terrorist. Last May, CBC News revealed that a rogue group of Mounties investigating the leak of a secret document spied on two Canadian journalists for more than a week without any authorization.
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Montreal Police Monitored iPhone of La Presse Journalist Patrick Lagace

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you're not a cop, you're guilty.

  • News-speak at 11. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hylandr ( 813770 )

    Last May, CBC News revealed that a rogue group of Mounties investigating the leak of a secret document spied on two Canadian journalists for more than a week without any authorization..

    I read this as :

    Last May, CBC News reported Mounties had investigated two Canadian journalists for more than a week over the leak of a secret document. No charges were filed.

    • by Korbeau ( 913903 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2016 @07:18PM (#53195449)

      I am not sure if your comment is aimed at minimizing the impact of police spying over journalists (business as usual?), but you should note that this snippet from the article is completely unrelated to the main case with the Montreal police.

      About the main case with the Montreal police, it is currently considered a big enough thing that it is monopolizing the news in Quebec and all government levels are actively seeking answers and solutions to this unprecedented abuse of power against freedom of press.

      It now appears that Montreal police has started mass spying over journalists last spring in order to find whistle-blowers inside their organization (

      Edward Snowden even twitted on the topic yesterday: []

      • Slightly OT:

        A tracking warrant also allowed the SPVM to activate the GPS chip in the iPhone

        Is this actually possible or did the journalist make this up because cell tower triangulation sounds too complicated for the average reader?

        • by castus ( 4552487 )
          I'm being an idiot. Activating the GPS remotely would be pointless because you would still need to install some malware that sent the coordinates to the police.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Police does what they can do, not what they are allowed to do! "The end justifies the means"

    More at 11!

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The police was authorized, so isn't the judge who approved the warrants to blame here? When the police said "we're investigating X and X called Y, so let us spy on Y for 1 year" the answer should have been "hell no, a phone call doesn't mean that Y is a suspect, do you think that I'm stupid?"

  • Well so (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is something of a big deal here. There always has been mistrust of police since the 1970's in Quebec.

    When you start spying on journalist, you are are only one Putin away from dictatorship.

    Pun intended.

  • If your going to have a cell phone on you know the gov, mil, police will track you.
    The ability to plot you and your contacts is easy. The ability to log what other phone stopped with and for how long is within a nations city or state police budget per case.
    A park bench, a cafe, walking side by side for any length of time can all be discovered. With cell phone mapping it will all be logged and can be played back.
    Don't meet contacts with your phone. Have a friend take your phone with them into an area a
    • What surprised me most from TFS is that it puts GPS in the mix. By nature, GPS is a passive technology: you can not track something using GPS without the device itself cooperating. To be able to track a phone using its own GPS receiver you must have a way for that phone itself to switch on the GPS receiver and relay this information to who-ever wants to know it. Normally the only way to do this is to hack into someone's phone: install some malware that relays the info, or break into someones anti-theft acco

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        A telco log will give you time, a street like resolution and advanced software will do the rest.
        Too long near another phone with a fancy map overlay will show two people sitting or in contact.
        Back in 2003 it was more a security forces export product globally, government to government on request for special trusted and cleared mil/police units. Software like that is now very common now and very low cost for any local police.
        • I know all that, but those technologies don't use the GPS from the phone. TFS explicitly mentioned using the phone's built in GPS chip.

          • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
            People wonder why so few informants get information out or can help the press. The first meeting is tracked from one or both phones.
            The GPS part could be more easy to understand for readers or part of internal malware logging. Always telco logs to fall back on :)
      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Re "Giving it to a friend all the time beats the purpose of having one in the first place." Just when meeting contacts.
        Fill the telco logs with everyday random junk walks and shopping all the time to make it look used and the data of use.
        The really fun part is that phone is now an active informant. So surround it with bureaucrats, technocrats everyday for a few mins.
        Anyone of them could be an informant or whistleblower given a few mins contact with the press phone of mischief.
        Cascades of secret i
  • They must share the bed with Apple, otherwise, doesn't the carrier only have access to much less precise cell tower localization?
    Isn't that a serious back door?

  • Was he using an iPhone or an Android?

  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2016 @11:21PM (#53196593)
    I hope the press gets really indignant about this. They sure don't seem to care much when it is not a member of the press whose privacy is violated.
  • What shocks me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ptaff ( 165113 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @03:33AM (#53197145) Homepage

    What shocks me the most: the public reaction to the news. I'm from Quebec, saw the local news and everyone from mayors to prime ministers had their word about the incident.

    It's mostly about the police's power and journalist's source protection. Almost no one mentions how the whole operation was sanctioned by law, and that *anyone* can easily be spied on the same way (that seems to involve way more than cell tower math), and almost nobody seems to question the fact that most phones are manufactured in a way where the consumer has no reasonable way to opt-out of surveillance.

    Am I late to the party or is this dystopia something humanity wilfully agreed on?

    Oh, right, convenience of a portable candy crush game trumps everything, don't make me think.

  • Sounds like they used proper procedure which is good. However considering the change of what was actually taking place the big question is A) Did the police lie to get the warrants from the Judge, or B) Did the Judge make a mistake and overstep? I'm guessing A. They likely made up a bogus reason in order to get at what appears to be whistle blowers. Which if that is the case I expect some heads to roll. I don't see this as something where law enforcement will be "closing ranks" as sometimes happens, as if t

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers