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Tag Archives for " FBI "

The FBI Is Secretly Using A $2 Billion Travel Company As A Global Surveillance Tool

An unprecedented order on a huge travel company reveals how the FBI tracks suspects around the world.

As the biggest of three companies that store the vast majority of the world’s travel information—from airline seats to hotel bookings — Sabre has been called on to hand over that travellers’ data and, on at least one occasion, do “real-time” tracking of a suspect. And, say former employees, the same powerful trove of information could be used to help monitor the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: The FBI Is Secretly Using A $2 Billion Travel Company As A Global Surveillance Tool

Warrant needed to search locked phones, US court rules

Thanks to the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution and all the case law built upon it, police generally need a warrant to search your phone—and that includes just looking at the lock screen, a judge has ruled.

Generally, courts have held that law enforcement can compel you to use your body, such as your fingerprint (or your face), to unlock a phone but that they cannot compel you to share knowledge, such as a PIN. In this recent case, however, the FBI did not unlock the phone. Instead, they only looked at the phone’s lock screen for evidence.

Basically, the court ruled, the FBI pushing the button on the phone to activate the lock screen qualified as a search, regardless of the lock screen’s nature.

Source: Just turning your phone on qualifies as searching it, court rules | Ars Technica

FBI cracks alleged al-Qaida shooter’s iPhone without Apple’s help

U.S. authorities have reportedly broken through the encryption on one of the iPhones belonging to a mass shooter without the help of Apple who refused to create a backdoor saying it violated privacy rights.

FBI defeated the password on the iPhone belonging to Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi military trainee who went on a mass shooting at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida last December killing four and injuring eight.

Source: FBI cracks alleged al-Qaida shooter’s iPhone without Apple’s help | Cult of Mac

Senate Votes to Allow FBI to Look at Your Web Browsing History Without a Warrant

The government just got even more power to spy on your internet habits as millions remain quarantined at home.

The US Senate has voted to give law enforcement agencies access to web browsing data without a warrant, dramatically expanding the government’s surveillance powers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The power grab was led by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell as part of a reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which gives federal agencies broad domestic surveillance powers.

Source: Senate Votes to Allow FBI to Look at Your Web Browsing History Without a Warrant – VICE

Justice Department audit finds widespread flaws in FBI surveillance applications 

A Justice Department audit of the FBI’s use of secret surveillance warrants has found widespread problems with the law enforcement agency’s process for ensuring that facts are backing up the claims made to judges when seeking a warrant.

The finding of broader failings in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act program came in a review launched by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz after an earlier inquiry found numerous errors in applications to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. In a bid to assess whether the faults in the Page’s surveillance process were an aberration or a chronic problem, Horowitz’s audit team zeroed in on 29 applications for surveillance of U.S. citizens or green-card holders over a five-year period.

Source: Justice Department audit finds widespread flaws in FBI surveillance applications – POLITICO

NSA spent $100M on phone surveillance program that prompted two unique FBI leads

A multimillion-dollar cellphone surveillance program that sifted through the metadata from millions of individual phone numbers yielded just two unique leads over a five-year period.

According to a newly declassified study, the National Security Agency spent $100 million on a highly invasive cellphone surveillance system. With that investment, the agency yielded only one significant FBI investigation from 2015 to 2019.

Source: NSA spent $100M on phone surveillance program that prompted two unique FBI leads

FBI Practices for Intercepted Emails Violated 4th Amendment, Judge Ruled

A federal judge secretly ruled last year that the F.B.I.’s procedures for searching for Americans’ emails within a repository of intercepted messages that were gathered without a warrant violated Fourth Amendment privacy rights, newly declassified files showed.

The F.B.I. improperly searched the repository for information involving large numbers of Americans who fit within general categories but against whom there was no individualized basis for suspicion. In a twist, one March 2017 search used more than 70,000 identifiers, like email addresses, linked to the F.B.I.’s own work force.

Source: F.B.I. Practices for Intercepted Emails Violated 4th Amendment, Judge Ruled – The New York Times

Secret FBI Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies

The F.B.I. has used secret subpoenas to obtain personal data from far more companies than previously disclosed.

The requests, which the F.B.I. says are critical to its counterterrorism efforts, have raised privacy concerns for years but have been associated mainly with tech companies. Now, records show how far beyond Silicon Valley the practice extends — encompassing scores of banks, credit agencies, cellphone carriers and even universities.

Source: Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies – The New York Times

Government watchdog says the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs

A government watchdog says the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs — including from driver’s licenses, passports and mug shots — that can be searched using facial recognition technology.

The fact was reported by the Government Accountability Office at a congressional hearing in which both Democrats and Republicans raised questions about the use of the technology.

The figure reflects how the technology is becoming an increasingly powerful law enforcement tool, but is also stirring fears about the potential for authorities to intrude on the lives of Americans.

Source: Government watchdog says the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs [Video]

DNA Testing Company Will Allow Customers to Opt Out of sharing data with FBI

FamilyTreeDNA drew heat from privacy advocates after it was revealed that the company let the FBI access its database.

The decision exposes the ethical and legal conundrums surrounding at-home DNA testing and illustrates the tension between protecting users’ privacy and aiding law enforcement in catching violent criminals. Law enforcement has increasingly been using genealogy to solve crimes.

Source: DNA Testing Company Will Allow Customers to Opt Out of Helping FBI Amid Privacy Concerns

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