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Arrest of hundreds of Australians in what’s been dubbed the “sting of the century”

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posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 06:23 AM
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Breaking news with worldwide implications

Operation Ironside was formed three years ago as a collaboration between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to bring down underworld figures.

Operation Ironside began almost three years ago and is the Australian component of a long-term, international, covert investigation. The FBI and AFP targeted the dedicated encrypted communications platform, which was used exclusively by organised crime.

Basically, it all started over a couple of beers between FBI and Australia's AFP when a tech nerd suggested imagine if we created an app that encrypted phones for criminals ... but we could still see the contents.

So after a couple of months they created an app, loaded it onto phones and it became one of the most sought after tools for some of the biggest criminals in the world. Undercover officers started to distribute and then they all trusted this phone app once Australia's biggest drug lord who is hiding overseas in Turkey, distributed the phone to worldwide underworld figures. For four years they have recorded in real time all messages, calls, photos etc. Not one of them had any clue.

Yesterday the first arrests were made and its expected arrests are taking place all over the world with mafia, drug lords and bikie criminals all being taken down.

While they have not got the biggest drug lord hiding in Turkey, the police said they are not so worried as he has a world wide network of some of the worlds biggest criminals now getting arrested because of him.

To me the funniest part .... when they paid for the app, the money went to the police.

www.news.com.au... a
www.bbc.com...



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 06:32 AM
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a reply to: bellagirl

Wow, I hadn't heard about this one.

I thought your post was going to be about the Qantas revelation yesterday.

ETA - I wonder if they may be related? Could very well be.


edit on 6/8/2021 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 06:39 AM
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a reply to: bellagirl




For four years they have recorded in real time all messages, calls, photos etc. Not one of them had any clue.


I thought they needed a warrant to pull that off legally? At least
in the states? No? Maybe not if they purchased the app? IDK
edit on 8-6-2021 by Randyvine because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 06:51 AM
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originally posted by: Randyvine

I thought they needed a warrant to pull that off legally? At least
in the states? No? Maybe not if they purchased the app? IDK

You know they had some sort of loophole figured out ahead of time.


ETA: I see now. It wasn't something they could purchase. Apparently it was already on the phone before they received it.



"You had to know a criminal to get hold of one of these customised phones. The phones couldn't ring or email. You could only communicate with someone on the same platform," the Australian police explained.

www.bbc.com...



In total, some 12,000 encrypted devices were used by around 300 criminal syndicates in more than 100 countries.

edit on 6/8/21 by BrokenCircles because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 06:59 AM
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a reply to: Randyvine

To be fair, these people voluntarily used this app. I'm sure there's some language in the terms of service that states by using the app they are agreeing to give law enforcement access to their messages. But since nobody reads those things, nobody would actually know.



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 07:00 AM
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Operation Ironside led to the arrest of 224 offenders on 526 charges in every mainland Australian state.
Those facing charges include members of outlaw motorcycle gangs, Australian Mafia, Asian crime syndicates and serious and organised crime groups.
Property seized included 3.7 tonnes of drugs, 104 weapons, $44,934,457 million in cash and assets expected to run into millions of dollars.

The AFP said it also acted on 20 threats to kill, potentially saving the lives of a significant number of innocent bystanders, with intelligence handed to state police agencies which took immediate action.

The app AN0M was installed on mobile phones that were stripped of other capabilities. The mobile phones, which were bought on the black market, could not make calls or send emails. Criminals needed to know a criminal to get a device.
The devices organically circulated and grew in popularity among criminals, who were confident of the legitimacy of the app because high-profile organised crime figures vouched for its integrity.

As part of the global investigation, New Zealand police also arrested 35 people after raids across the North Island today.



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 07:00 AM
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a reply to: bellagirl

Another writeup here ...

www.theregister.com...



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 07:06 AM
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that is some funny stuff right there.

sometimes rushing to get the next new tech thing isnt the best of ideas.



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 07:11 AM
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What was the name of the app?

HoneyPotz?
FlyTrapz?

Also, is this app available in the Android/iOS store, and can we get a modified version in the US for criminals of the public variety? In other words, can it be made standard-issue on government work phones.

Odds are if the FBI is involved the app is already being circulated among US officials, problem being that likely only half of the group of US politicians is being targeted.



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 07:18 AM
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originally posted by: Xcalibur254
To be fair, these people voluntarily used this app. I'm sure there's some language in the terms of service that states by using the app they are agreeing to give law enforcement access to their messages. But since nobody reads those things, nobody would actually know.


Most likely.

This is how people get turned into the Human CentiPad or in this case nabbed by law enforcement.


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posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 07:24 AM
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originally posted by: bellagirl
Operation Ironside led to the arrest of 224 offenders on 526 charges in every mainland Australian state.
Those facing charges include members of outlaw motorcycle gangs, Australian Mafia, Asian crime syndicates and serious and organised crime groups.
Property seized included 3.7 tonnes of drugs, 104 weapons, $44,934,457 million in cash and assets expected to run into millions of dollars.

So... not a single corrupt politician?

In that case, this was simply a ploy by the real criminals to eliminate the competition...



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 07:25 AM
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a reply to: Randyvine

Heh, the feds can do whatever they wanna' do, they just make up new rules as they go along! You know that!

Besides that, even if they couldn't use the actual audio from the recordings, the recordings would give them enough information to go get the actual evidence of many of the crimes.



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 07:33 AM
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a reply to: bellagirl

First link didn't work.

What's weird is so many were involved and no one leaked it out. And it said the FBI was involved....

I guess the right people with badges weren't paid off. Or paid enough.

Either way, yay!



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 08:02 AM
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a reply to: bellagirl

Makes you wonder, do we really have it all...



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 08:11 AM
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originally posted by: Xcalibur254
a reply to: Randyvine

To be fair, these people voluntarily used this app. I'm sure there's some language in the terms of service that states by using the app they are agreeing to give law enforcement access to their messages. But since nobody reads those things, nobody would actually know.
There were no terms. They weren't normal phones that they bought from a store. They basically got the phones on the black market, and they were used specifically for this allegedly encrypted communication.



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 08:16 AM
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Yeah we've known about these phones being suss a while over here now. Knew they were untrustworthy.
The price was 5 grand for one.
But they weren't the ones in the op, these ones were called Phantom Systems or something. Supposedly secure encryption.
A couple of years ago a protestant crew up north were busted and they only used those phones.
That was the end of their usage here in The Republic.

If i remember correctly, the supplier of the phones was arrested a couple of years ago and that was the end of that system



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 08:19 AM
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a reply to: BrokenCircles

Doesn't matter where they got them really, they were still just normal phones. They had to be, else they wouldn't have been able to use all the international cellular networks. You can't just get on one of those networks with a device which isn't using one of the allowed protocols. And there's no way authorities got all the cellular providers, all over the world, to allow some special protocol through their systems.

ETA - Now, these phones may have had some extra electronics in them to encrypt the data and voice audio sent across them, but the devices themselves were still just regular old cellular phones when it came to accessing cellular networks.
edit on 6/8/2021 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 08:23 AM
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a reply to: BrokenCircles


Does this not smack of Entrapment to anyone else? Not that I mind nasties getting their dues in life, but this really seems sketchy AF from the legal end of it, at least from a US laws POV.


Also, that'll learn criminals, AND regular people alike, to trust tech so much. Fools. Luddite Life is starting to look real inviting, innit? /sarc-but-not-totally



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 08:25 AM
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a reply to: Nyiah

Absolutely it does! Smacks of 'illegal wiretaps' too, but since when did that stop any of the feds?



posted on Jun, 8 2021 @ 08:27 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Well idk anything about that, but the phones were initially distributed by the F.B.I. And they could only communicate with other phones on the same platform. I'm just saying it wasn't something they purchased legally, so there's really nothing to be said about the legality of the F.B.I. spying on them through the app.



The FBI began operating its own encrypted device company called ANOM, and covertly distributed devices with the chat app among the criminal underworld via informants.

"You had to know a criminal to get hold of one of these customised phones. The phones couldn't ring or email. You could only communicate with someone on the same platform," the Australian police explained.



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