Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Judge Tells FBI To Buzz Off Denying Request To Hack Into Person's Computer And Spy On Them Using Their Webcam

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller

A Texas judge told the FBI to kick rocks when the agency requested clearance to hack into the computer of an alleged suspect to copy the person's files and take control of their webcam to watch them in their home. I've been warning you for years in this column the FBI has been watching select people in their homes via audio and visual means and in most cases without justification.

Secretly watching people in their homes is perverted and sick beyond redemption. It is an abomination and the worst, most depraved privacy violation in history. Only extremely sick people do nastiness like that. It is not justified under any circumstances.

The judge in Texas stated, "The FBI provided 'little more than vague assurances' to protect privacy" of the alleged suspect. If the FBI was looking for corrupt judicial rubber-stamping maybe they should have tried one of the Miami judges on their payroll (you know, like Jose E. Martinez, Marcia Cooke or Cecilia Altonaga). However, this was a jurisdictional issue, as their target in this case resides in Texas.

The sad part about it is the FBI has been known to abuse its authority granted by Congress to request court orders to get into the computers of law-abiding journalists and bloggers, who write exposés on the agency and select politicians, revealing they are breaking the law. The FBI labels it a "national security" matter, but it is actually a national cover your butt matter, when they are outed for breaking the law. The FBI has even gone so far to state they, "Might arguably not be required to obtain a warrant to remotely install spyware" on people's computers to watch them in their homes and copy their files.

The FBI has also misused their authority to get into the computers and emails of select financial executives, so certain people in the Federal Bureau of Investigation can make quick money on the stock market. While they do that, terrorists plot attacks against America and are allowed to roam around free in the country (see: Boston Marathon Bombers).


Judge denies FBI request to hijack suspect's PC using spyware

By Joshua Kopstein on April 26, 2013 09:45 am 20Comments - A rare public court opinion ruled the request was too vague, and the privacy risks too great. For a long time, the FBI has been refining its ability to get inside your computer whenever it thinks you might be breaking the law. But this week a Texas judge put his foot down, denying the agency a search and seizure warrant that would have allowed them to break into an unknown suspect’s computer system and secretly install malware that steals data and monitors activities.

It’s a rare but not unprecedented situation that casts law enforcement in a light strikingly similar to the hackers it’s normally hell-bent on pursuing. After deploying the payload, the FBI would be able to record keystrokes, read emails, and even take pictures from an attached webcam for a period of 30 days — the last part being somewhat ironic, considering that the FBI has warned about the possibility of criminals using the same tactic. "FBI provided "little more than vague assurances" to protect privacy"

In the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries reports the "offensive" cybersecurity measures were being requested to pursue a case of fraud and identity theft that seemed to originate from a Texas bank account. The computer, according to the court documents, was targeted because it used an email address similar to the one on the account.

But Federal Magistrate judge Steven Smith said the FBI didn’t give any information on exactly how they’d be deploying the spyware, and provided "little more than vague assurances" that it would be able to minimize the amount of data collected from innocent people in the process. And since the identity of the suspect and the location of the computer are both unknown, there also existed the possibility that the FBI might be hacking an innocent stranger whose computer has already been compromised by the culprit.

Law enforcement's use of such tools is not without precedent. First discovered in 2001, a spyware package called Magic Lantern has been used by the FBI for remote monitoring, reportedly delivered as an email attachment. And in Germany, a flawed piece of spyware engineered by the German government that opened remote backdoor access was famously reverse-engineered and exposed in 2011 by the renowned hacker group Chaos Computer Club...

"FBI emails mention that "one might arguably not be required" to obtain a warrant to remotely install spyware"...