At a glance.
- RCMP defends its use of lawful intercept tools.
- Treasury elaborates on sanctioning of Tornado Cash.
RCMP defends its use of lawful intercept tools.
Sometimes spyware really is lawful intercept technology, at least when it's not being abused, so Parliamentary testimony by Canadian security officials would maintain. Global News reports that Mark Flynn, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) assistant commissioner responsible for National Security and Protective Policing, told Members of House of Commons Ethics Committee yesterday that between 2002 and 2015, the RCMP used “Canadian-made technology” to covertly access electronic information. “As encryption started to be used by targets that we had judicial authorization to intercept, and we were unable to hear the audio, hear the phone calls or see the messages they were sending, that is when we developed the tool and technique to make it possible to intercept those communications,” he told the committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the use of surveillance tools against cellphones. “We have evolved in the use of the tools as individuals evolved in the way they communicate.” He also stressed to the Members that hostile foreign states were certainly using tools at least as powerful, and that Members of Parliament should understand that they themselves are the targets of foreign surveillance efforts.
Specifying "Canadian-made" rules out, of course, NSO Group's Pegasus, which is made by an Israeli company. POLITICO reports that Public Safety Minister Marco Mendocino said that intercept tools were not tools of either "first resort" or "convenience," rather were tools of "investigative necessity." He said the widespread use of encrypted communication poses a challenge for law enforcement, and spyware is used to “frustrate the efforts of sophisticated criminal organizations.”
Treasury elaborates on sanctioning of Tornado Cash.
The US Department of the Treasury has elaborated on the sanctions it imposed yesterday on Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixer Treasury connects to money laundering. Tornado Cash, Treasury says, "has been used to launder more than $7 billion worth of virtual currency since its creation in 2019. This includes over $455 million stolen by the Lazarus Group." The Lazarus Group, of course, is the North Korean cyber operations group that has for years engaged in cybercrime designed to fund Pyongyang's weapons programs and to mitigate the crippling effects of sanctions on the North Korean economy.
Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said, in the statement, “Despite public assurances otherwise, Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis and without basic measures to address its risks. Treasury will continue to aggressively pursue actions against mixers that launder virtual currency for criminals and those who assist them.” Tornado Cash's assets are blocked, and US persons are prohibited from doing business with the mixer.