In the early morning hours of March 17, 2017, a federal agent drove a white Dodge Charger into the front yard of the owner of an apartment complex in the downtown core of Toronto.
The Dodge had a sticker on the side of the vehicle saying “UNLIMITED PRIVATE USE ONLY.”
Inside, the agent found the owner’s iPad, a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, and a bag containing a number of SIM cards and other devices.
Agents confiscated the devices, which the agent then called a “bundle of illegal devices.”
The suspect, a 33-year-old Ontario man named Justin Mascarenhas, was arrested a few hours later.
Mascarenwas was charged with “making and distributing” the “illegal devices,” a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
But the charges weren’t the only ones Mascareres charges: He also allegedly used his own Samsung phone to make calls and make unauthorized calls from the phone of another person in the United States, a charge he denies.
Mascareris charges, among other things, that the U.S. government “has a warrantless surveillance capability that extends beyond the U,S.
borders,” and that “anyone who makes or sends such a communication through the U.,S.
could be subject to prosecution.”
Misconduct charges and “miscellaneous charges” are also included in the federal indictment.
In his opening statement, Acting U.K. Assistant Commissioner of National Security Ben Johnson noted that the indictment is the first of its kind in Canada.
“There are no restrictions on how you can communicate online in the U of A,” Johnson said.
“This is a very serious offence, one that has no doubt attracted the attention of the U [United Kingdom], and which could well be the subject of a prosecution.”
He continued: “This type of conduct by an individual who was not born here to live here, who has no access to any U.N. agencies or foreign agencies, who was born here and who has a British passport, it is extremely serious and it will attract the attention and the scrutiny of all relevant agencies.”
“The government has been committed to protecting the privacy of all its citizens, and this is a serious matter,” Johnson continued.
“We are confident that the investigation and the court proceedings will lead to a swift and effective prosecution.”