"You can track any phone number from any country and anywhere in the world," said a source with direct knowledge of Circles' technology. The source was speaking generally about SS7, and not about the capabilities of any specific Circles' customer. Motherboard granted the source anonymity as they weren't authorized to speak to the press about Circles issues because of non-disclosure agreements.According to the Citizen Lab investigation, the researchers suspect Circles' customers include European governments such as Belgium and Denmark. Notably, one of the suspected customers includes a member of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership: Australia.
"You can track any phone number from any country and anywhere in the world."
"Many of the government clients described above who appear to have acquired and/or deployed Circles technology have a dismal record of abuses of human rights and technical surveillance capabilities," Citizen lab wrote in its report. "Many lack public transparency and accountability, and have minimal or no independent oversight over the activities of their security agencies."Most of the governments named in the report did not respond to requests for comment sent through law enforcement and intelligence agencies or embassies. The Estonian Foreign Intelligence Agency declined to comment on its capabilities, the Australian Federal Police declined to comment, and the Danish Army said it would not be able to provide a response in time for the publication of Citizen Lab's report. The Malaysian embassy in Washington D.C. declined to comment "without prior approval from [the] capital."
Do you work, or did you used to work, at Circles or NSO? Do you have more information about SS7 surveillance? We’d love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, Wire/Wickr lorenzofb, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can contact Joseph Cox on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, or email email@example.com