I’ve decided that the way I’m going to deal with this is by doing disk forensics on my computer and moving on, continuing my life as normal. I am not going to slip into total paranoia because of this incident. I have a history of attempted entrapments, of border interrogations and of surveillance, and with this incident, here’s what I’ll say:
If any agency is continuing to monitor me because of Cryptocat, you are invited to meet me under honest pretenses and have a cup of coffee with me. Just don’t lure me in with lies and don’t backdoor my computers. Be honest with me and I will have no problem discussing my work with you. I am not a criminal, I am an upstanding citizen. If you want answers, then contact me and be honest about it. You have nothing to fear from me.
Disclaimer: While this story sounds highly suspect, especially considering that I have been the target of FBI entrapment less than a year ago, please take it with a grain of salt. After all, this may all be just one big prank, with me as the victim.
For public record:
On January 12, 2013, I had an interview with Radio-Canada regarding Cryptocat, my surveillance by the U.S. Government, how the FBI tried to entrap me, and so on. It was a successful interview and everything went well.
On January 31st, 2013, a person identifying as PG sent me an email saying that he would wish to meet to discuss a business opportunity with me. He specified Concordia University’ bar, Reggie’s, as the place where he would like to meet. At the time I received his email, I was in a class at Concordia just one floor above that bar.
I answered PG telling him that I leave for New York City that day. He insisted he can meet me before I leave. When I asked him what he’d like to discuss, he simply answered “I’ll be wearing a black suit. See you at Reggie’s at 12:45PM.”
I insisted that I would not meet with him unless he specified his reason. He said he needed a website for his new business venture, a traffic ticket contestation service. I replied saying sorry, I am not available for this sort of work. PG replied: “OK, thank you.”
At 1:00PM, I received an email, sent from a Blackberry, from someone claiming to be PG’s colleague. They identified themselves as GB. GB mentioned that he was surprised that I am not at Reggie’s, and that PG had asked him to write an email to me since PG is partially blind and cannot write emails. This is very strange to me since PG had written to me many emails during this incident.
At this point, I angrily replied to both GB and PG asking them to go away, and that I had already said that I am not available for a meeting or for hire.
Hours went by with no answer. Then, PG again sent an email (this time switching to the French language) in which he claimed that the radio interviewees from Radio-Canada had given him my contact information (this was denied by Radio-Canada when I checked with them.) In this new email, PG suddenly claimed that he was both a Juror and that he was previously a correspondent for Le Monde Paris.
PG then claimed that he knew people at CSIS, Canadian Intelligence, who were interested in acquiring Cryptocat. GB had incidentally mentioned that PG was interested in Cryptocat acquisition. In the same email, PG also mentioned that he too went to NYC often due to being invited to CIA conferences there. He said: “I’m sure you know what I’m talking about re. CIA conferences, since you yourself seem to be funded by the U.S. Government.”
To this I replied: “Well, this was never a story of a business venture at all, was it? I am not surprised. I must admit, a former Juror and Parisian journalist who claims to work for CSIS; you inspire a lot of confidence ;-)” PG replied: “We will speak Tuesday upon your return.”
Ever since my return from NYC, for days now, the Secure File Transfer desktop client that I use to connect to Cryptocat and other services in order to manage critical file and data transfers has been attempting to connect to, by itself:
- Hostnames that appear to belong to CSIS.
- Hostnames belonging to Lexum, a Montreal “software company that provides products and services to legal information users as well as various other organizations and companies that prepare, manage and publish large collections of documents.” Lexum.com also provides IT services for the Supreme Court of Canada, Courts Administration Service (CAS), Canada’s Department of Justice, and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada “to name a few”. They are located a 20 minute drive from where I live.
- Hostnames that appear to belong to the Supreme Court of Canada, operated by Lexum.
These connections were all detected and prevented by my external firewall system. I have documented the connections to the extent possible. In anger, I called a close friend to complain about these connections. Shortly after my phone call, the connection requests stopped, even though they had been occurring for days.
I immediately then tried to call PG. The first time, his phone rang a couple of times and he then hung up. The same thing happened the second time, except he hung up more quickly. The third time, he turned his phone off.