Spy inside PH telecom firm has been feeding US our text, call records

Posted at 05/20/2014 8:58 PM

Do you think that text messages through Globe and Smart Telecom were spy-proof? Did you believe the explanation that mobile phone text messages are next to impossible to intercept because one message is relayed in several packets? Did you imagine the leaks of Edward Snowden have nothing to do with the Philippines?

Time to reconsider all of those things. According to Cory Doctorow, a Canadian journalist and Internet freedom fighter, he pointed out in a post yesterday in popular site Boing Boing that a spy inside one of the Philippine telecom firms has been collecting and forwarding our mobile phone traffic to the US National Security Agency. A voice interpretation program called “Mystic” is being secretly used to collect phone data from the Philippines, thanks to a well-placed spy in one of our telecom firms. The unnamed spy was allegedly placed there by Australian intelligence.

Doctorow wrote:

 "According to the NSA documents, MYSTIC targets calls and other data transmitted on Global System for Mobile Communications networks – the primary framework used for cell phone calls worldwide. In the Philippines, MYSTIC collects “GSM, Short Message Service (SMS) and Call Detail Records” via access provided by a “DSD asset in a Philippine provider site.” (The DSD refers to the Defence Signals Directorate, an arm of Australian intelligence. The Australian consulate in New York declined to comment.)"

You can read more about Doctorow’s article here.

As usual, it was my hubby Alan who alerted me to this news. Alan specializes on the Internet and lives there most of the time.

We don’t exactly know how extensive the spying is in our country. Or if our top Philippine government officials have been targeted.

So far, none of the publications has named the Philippine telecom provider where the spy works.