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Encrypted Phones Seized As AFP Helps Break Up Encryption Racket

The Australian Federal Police have played a major role in ending the activities of an alleged criminal IT-based enterprise in Canada.

The feds say their joint effort with Canadian, US and Australian police and agencies had seen the indictment of  five men connected to a Canadian firm calling itself Phantom Secure.

Police say the men “knowingly participated in a criminal enterprise that facilitated the transnational importation and distribution of narcotics through the sale and service of encrypted communications”. Australia was said to be easily Phantom Secure’s biggest market.

The men under arrest allegedly removed the camera, microphone, GPS navigation and other features from BlackBerry devices and installed PGP-encrypted e-mail and VPN software. More than 10,000 devices were sold and used in Australia, the AFP claims.

Police raided 19 premises across four Australian states earlier this month, seizing 1000 encrypted mobile devices.

The company’s CEO, Canada-based Vincent Ramos, has been indicted for alleged racketeering activity involving gambling, money laundering and drug trafficking.

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