Feds admit they used secret anti-terror mass surveillance tool to catch an undocumented waiter

Rudy Carcamo-Carranza was an undocumented restaurant worker in Michigan wanted for a DUI and a hit-and-run; the FBI and ICE used IMSI catchers -- powerful, secretive cellphone tracking tools that the agencies bill as a kind of superweapon in the war on terror -- to catch him and put him up for deportation. Read the rest

The basic opsec failures that unmasked James Comey's Twitter show how hard this stuff is

Gizmodo's Ashley Feinberg (almost certainly) figured out that James Comey's secret Twitter handle was @projectexile7, because America's top G-man failed at some of the most basic elements of operational security. Read the rest

Internal Islamophobia and racism are costing the FBI its vital, tiny cohort of Muslim and Arab agents

FBI agents have described the 83% white Bureau as "Trumpland," where conspiracy theories about Sharia law takeovers of America are taken seriously; the far-right, racist nature of so many agents has resulted in the loss, firing, and purging of many of the Bureau's tiny, dwindling minority of Arab and Muslim agents, who have been identified as crucial to the Bureau's counterterrorism mission. Read the rest

When Jack Chick offered to help the FBI fight Commies

Fundamentalist cartoonist Jack Chick wrote to J. Edgar Hoover in 1971 seeking the FBI's help with his bizarre religious comics. Today we publish that correspondence in its entirety for the first time, after obtaining it through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Yahoo secretly built a tool to scan all email in realtime for US spies

In 2015, Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer ordered the company's engineers to build a tool that scanned Yahoo Mail messages in realtime for "characters" of interest to a US security agency, either the FBI or the NSA. Read the rest

Petition: make the FBI explain why they didn't bring criminal charges against bank execs

Last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren published an open letter to FBI director James Comey observing that, in revealing details of its investigation into the Clinton email scandal, the Bureau had seemingly abandoned its longstanding policy of not sharing its deliberations, meaning that there was no longer any reason to keep secret its reasoning for not bringing criminal charges against the bankers who did trillions of dollars' worth of damage to the world economy, sparking wars, starvation, and personal ruin for millions of people. Read the rest

LGBTQ people and Apple vs FBI

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Everyone is focused on the high profile fight between Apple and the FBI, which is a good thing, because the outcome of this case will affect all of us." Read the rest

Apple engineers quietly discuss refusing to create the FBI's backdoor

If you're one of the few engineers at Apple qualified to code up the backdoor that the FBI is seeking in its court order, and if your employer loses its case, and if you think you have a solemn duty as a security engineer to only produce code that makes users more secure, not less, what do you do? Read the rest

John Oliver on Apple vs FBI and the new crypto wars

John Oliver continues to deliver the best comedy tech analysis in the business, with an epic rant/explainer that delves into Apple vs FBI and the new crypto wars with scathing wit and deep, technical truth that's made miraculously accessible to a general audience. Read the rest

If the FBI can force decryption backdoors, why not backdoors to turn on your phone's camera?

Eddy Cue, Apple's head of services, has warned that if the FBI wins its case and can force Apple to produce custom software to help break into locked phones, there's nothing in principle that would stop it from seeking similar orders for custom firmware to remotely spy on users through their phones' cameras and microphones. Read the rest

Racial justice organizers to FBI vs Apple judge: crypto matters to #blacklivesmatter

Phenomena like the Harlem Cryptoparty demonstrate the connection between racial justice and cryptography -- civil rights organizers remember that the FBI spied on and blackmailed Martin Luther King, sending him vile notes encouraging him to kill himself. Read the rest

Why the First Amendment means that the FBI can't force Apple to write and sign code

Code is speech: critical court rulings from the early history of the Electronic Frontier Foundation held that code was a form of expressive speech, protected by the First Amendment. Read the rest

ISIS opsec: jihadi tech bureau recommends non-US crypto tools

The US government is attempting to force Apple to backdoor its Iphone security, congress is considering mandatory backdoors for all secure technology, and FBI director James Comey insists that this will work, because there's no way that America's enemies might just switch over to using technology produced in other countries without such mandates. Read the rest

Apple v FBI isn't about security vs privacy; it's about America's security vs FBI surveillance

Dan Kaminsky, one of the Internet's essential squad of "volunteer fire fighters" who oversaw the largest-ever synchronized vulnerability patching in Internet history, has written a stirring editorial for Wired explaining what the FBI puts at risk when it demands weaker encryption: it's not our privacy, it's the security of finance, health care, roads, and every other piece of tech-enabled infrastructure in the land. Read the rest

FBI claims it has no records of its decision to delete its recommendation to encrypt your phone

Two years ago, the FBI published its official advice to "protect your mobile device," including a recommendation to encrypt your storage. This year, the FBI is suing Apple to force it to break its encryption. Read the rest

Worried about Chinese spies, the FBI freaked out about Epcot Center

Muckrock has secured the FBI's files on Epcot Center, revealing the panicked thrash that the prospect of a semi-circle of international pavilions around a toy artificial lake set off in Cold War atmosphere of 1981. Read the rest

J Edgar Hoover fought to write ex-FBI agents out of Hitchcock's scripts

Michael from Muckrock writes, "Like almost everyone else in the J. Edgar Hoover era, Alfred Hitchcock managed to catch the attention of the FBI, leading to a 16-page file. Did it investigate the rumored murders the Master of Suspense committed? Secretive ties to foreign states? Nope, mostly just the fact that, in one episode of Hitchcock Presents, a bad guy was briefly referenced to be a 'former FBI agent,' a plot point that the Bureau worked surprisingly hard to change ... perhaps worth of a Hitchcock treatment all its own. Read on for the full story." Read the rest

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