Somebody has Parliament Hill under surveillance. Nobody knows who it is.
CBC Ottawa has discovered that there's an IMSI at work.
The devices, sometimes known by the brand name of one model, StingRay, work by mimicking a cellphone tower to interact with nearby phones and read the unique ID associated with the phone — the International Mobile Subscriber Identity, or IMSI.
That number can then be used to track the phone and by extension the phone's user. In some instances, IMSI catchers can even be used to gain access to a phone's text messages and listen in on calls.
We then used even more sophisticated equipment called an Overwatch Sensor that confirmed the presence of an IMSI catcher close to Parliament Hill.
CBC took its data to Les Goldsmith, CEO of a company that provides counter-surveillance services.
Based on the configurations suggested by CBC's results, he believes the IMSI catchers detected in Ottawa could be foreign made.
"We're seeing more IMSI catchers with different configurations and we can build a signature. So we're seeing IMSI catchers that are more likely Chinese, Russian, Israeli and so forth," he said.
"Somebody could be listening to calls right now and [the phone owners] have no idea," he said.