French spy used darknet to sell access to national mass-surveillance databases

A cop working for the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (the French national domestic surveillance agency) used the darknet marketplace Black Hand to sell access to France's prodigious national surveillance apparatus to criminals: give him a phone number and he'd track its location; give him a name and he'd tell you whether that person was under police investigation and disclose the contents of the associated files; he'd also sell you everything you needed to forge papers and other official documents (he took payment in Bitcoin).

The cop, who used the online handle Haurus, was caught when Black Hand was raided and seized last June. He was arrested on September 28 and faces a seven year prison sentence and fines up to €100,000.

The amazing thing about this is how predictable it was. Think of how easy it is to believe in the detective novel character who jots down a license plate and says, "I'll get a friend on the force to run this for me later." Beat cops, officers, and feds are just as flawed as anyone else, and the history of police corruption tells us that the first line of defense against this kind of leak is not to collect the data in the first place.

Of course, the situation in the USA is even worse.

French authorities also say the officer advertised a service to track the location of mobile devices based on a supplied phone number. He advertised the system as a way to track spouses or members of competing criminal gangs. Investigators believe Haurus was using the French police resources designed with the intention to track criminals for this service.

He also advertised a service that told buyers if they were tracked by French police and what information officers had on them.

French police officer caught selling confidential police data on the dark web [Catalin Cimpanu/Zdnet]