Canada probes report of cellphone tracking near Parliament Hill

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian security agencies are probing a media report that someone is illicitly tracking and spying on cell phones in the area around Parliament Hill, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Tuesday.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said unidentified persons had been using so-called International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) spy devices that record all types of telephone, internet or text-messaging conversations.

“Obviously we are very anxious to determine who lies at the source of this activity,” Goodale told reporters, saying the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Security Intelligence Service spy agency were both investigating.

No Canadian agency was responsible, he said, adding that RCMP does use IMSI devices.

The CBC said it had detected four locations where the devices were being used, close enough to cover Parliament Hill and the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as the U.S. and Israeli embassies.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Dan Grebler