IGF 2020 WS #159 Phone surveillance in Latam using Imsi-Catchers FADe project


Organizer 1: Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 2: Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Speaker 1: Andres Alaerkhon-Schiavi, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Carlos Guerra , Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Maria Paz Canales, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Panel - Auditorium - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

-What is the current landscape in mobile phone surveillance, technical detection and legal treatment? Both legal and illegal exercise of surveillance techniques. -How can be inserted regulatory and transparency considerations on mobile phone surveillance at the local legal framework? -If any, What is the use of available findings in order to help shape better regulations around mobile phone surveillance?

It is known that in many countries of the region this type of surveillance is exercised, but there are not many projects that seek evidence in this regard. In the region there are many activists at risk who suspect that their data is being monitored. This project can help them to elucidate their suspicions as soon as it can be proven that vigilance is exercised in the areas where their activities are carried out. Also, in the region, there are a lot of deficiencies of applied methodologies in surveillance research, so this project would help to introduce this topic from an accessible and academically valid point of view to promote research on these issues. This approach does not seek to link the use of IMSI Catchers with specific actors, but we would like to discuss about the application of this methodology in order to raise awareness of its use beyond attribution. However, depending on any other information aside from IMSI-Catchers presence, this could serve for analyze further topics, as surveillance to vulnerable zones, targeted surveillance to specific groups (e.g. Human rights defenders, politicians, and media) given certain strategic geographic areas where the IMSI-Catchers are operating.


GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


The session will describe the work done by the Fake antenna Detection Project. During 90 days, cell phone data were collected, and analyzed to corroborate the potential existence of Imsi-Catchers in three 3 cities in Latin America. This session delves into aspects of mobile communication protocols, but seeks to land the concepts discussed for all types of audiences. We will be presenting different tools and projects to gather and analyze cell phone data to detect Imsi-Catchers among different contexts and cases of study against local surveillance policies. Our team is supported by several allied organizations that advocate and do activism in each country implicated in the project.

Expected Outcomes

-Get some suggestions and conventions at a policy level to start driving the discussion of principles and limitations in the building of regulations around surveillance control and capabilities. - Capture an expanded contact network among stakeholders around this topic willing to take further steps about this issue in their own contexts. - Gather any observations from participants to enrich the methodologies applied, in order to be more valuable to policy making communities, given that the research made was carried out from the academic and civil society communities.

The session has been designed to be approachable towards the audience, and get to know them as well. After panelists have shared anecdotes, we will consider asking if anyone in the audience has had a similar experience and/doubts, in order to add anything that will help understand what the audience wants to get out of the session.

Relevance to Internet Governance: With a better understanding of the current technologies and numerous threats associated with it, is critical that the multiple stakeholders are in sync about accurate and inaccurate solutions at the protocol, threat models and policy levels, to strengthen future technology implementations, among effective and respectful regulations.

Relevance to Theme: Given that the community is focusing in the internet side of the data management, privacy and surveillance, and the discussion about current and massively adopted technologies like GSM and 4G/LTE are usually not treated with the same determination, mostly because the lack of knowledge or technical evidence supporting surveillance possibilities and exercise, affecting all the personal data transmitted every second around the world, including all the metadata that combined with internet traffic can undermine people privacy and the exercise of their rights.

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