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FBI Sought Approval To Use Spyware Through FISC

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the hey-guys-this-is-ok-right dept.

Privacy 92

An anonymous reader writes "Wired is reporting that the FBI sought approval to use its custom spyware program, CIPAV, from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in terrorism or spying investigations. Affidavits prepared for the court are among 3,000 pages of documents gathered, but not yet released, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Wired. The FBI hasn't answered any questions about its use of the CIPAV since the program's existence became widely known in July. The FISC is generally regarded as a rubber stamp; it approved over 4,000 surveillance requests in 2005 and 2006[PDF], rejecting none."

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92 comments

Not surprising (5, Informative)

insanechemist (323218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343180)

Reading up a bit: "The FISA Court did not reject a single warrant application from its beginning in 1979 through 2002. In 2003 it rejected four applications. In 2004, the number was again zero."

Re:Not surprising (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343392)

Reading up a bit: "The FISA Court did not reject a single warrant application from its beginning in 1979 through 2002. In 2003 it rejected four applications. In 2004, the number was again zero."

Why did it reject four in 2003 is what I want to know. Who was being investigated that it would decide to deny the application after 23 years?

Re:Not surprising (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344084)

Most likely someone with enough influence to get wind of the investigation attempt and pull the plug on it. That's probably a very short list of people and/or organizations.

2003? (2, Funny)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346306)

I'm betting this is about the same time that people like Ted Kennedy were showing up on the No-Fly list.

They say it was a mistake, but I still doubt it. Might have saved his life though; I once maintained a list, on a now defunct site, that listed Senators killed in plane crashes. Oddest thing, almost all Democrats and the Republicans were pacifists or otherwise "left-leaning" (Paul Wellstone [D] and John Heinz [R] for example).

Sure, all just a coincidence, I'm sure of it. Well, pretty sure. Maybe we should be putting spyware on the FBI's machines?

Re:2003? (1)

soupforare (542403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22347908)

Somebody call Alex Jones!

Re:Not surprising (1)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348866)

It was back to zero in 2004 because Bush decided that intelligence agencies shouldn't bother submitting requests anymore. If it didn't reject ANY for 23 years, you gotta wonder..hmmm...are they maybe trying to get a frivolous warrant?

Re:Not surprising (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343468)

Reading up a bit: "The FISA Court did not reject a single warrant application from its beginning in 1979 through 2002. In 2003 it rejected four applications. In 2004, the number was again zero."

That's not necessarily a bad thing. It could be that the government only goes to the FISA court when they have solid evidence that supports a warrant. There isn't enough information available to determine what is going on with FISA.

By comparison, most people who are charged with a crime are actually guilty - that's also a good thing. It means that most of the time, the police charge people with a crime when they actually committed the crime.

Now, that doesn't mean that everyone charged with a crime is guilty; police do make mistakes, and certainly some police are corrupt. But most people charged with a crime are guilty. Would you rather live in a country where most people charged with a crime are innocent?

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344628)

most people who are charged with a crime are actually guilty

That's a rather interesting way of putting it. Personally, I'd rather hope for "most people who are guilty are charged with the crime".

Re:Not surprising (0, Troll)

nunyabid (1126027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22345242)

"That's not necessarily a bad thing. It could be that the government only goes to the FISA court when they have solid evidence that supports a warrant. There isn't enough information available to determine what is going on with FISA." That's by design you idiot. It's a secret court! It is by its very nature a bad thing. This is not freedom. It is fear. It is opression. And when the government doesn't have solid evidence, then what do they do? They indiscriminently kill innocent people-- just like they have for 120,000 years.

Re:Not surprising (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22345450)

"That's not necessarily a bad thing. It could be that the government only goes to the FISA court when they have solid evidence that supports a warrant. There isn't enough information available to determine what is going on with FISA." That's by design you idiot. It's a secret court! It is by its very nature a bad thing. This is not freedom. It is fear. It is opression.

Well, since the current administration was engaged in so much warrantless wiretapping, that does suggest the the FISA court was doing a decent job. Why would you engage in illegal warrantless wiretapping if you could do the same thing legally?

And in general, there is a need to wiretap. There are bad people in the world, and a government should have the power to do so after presenting convincing evidence to a judge.

And when the government doesn't have solid evidence, then what do they do? They indiscriminently kill innocent people-- just like they have for 120,000 years.

120,000 years? Is Dick Cheney that old? I think you need to dial down the paranoia a bit. Government hasn't been around that long - you're talking about times before metal was known.

Re:Not surprising (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346014)

120,000 years? Is Dick Cheney that old? I think you need to dial down the paranoia a bit. Government hasn't been around that long - you're talking about times before metal was known.

So what? They were bashing their heads in with rocks, then.

Re:Not surprising (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22357982)

Most people charged with a crime are definitely not guilty, they are all innocent until proven guilty in a public court of law.

Some nasty misdirection going on in this anonymous post, yes most people charged with crimes end up admitting their guilt, that is to be expected with the typical traffic offence.

What would be interesting is how many of those invasions of privacy actually led to conviction, 10,000 odd over the last few years and as they are targeted at locations as well as people including all those locations that those people have access to, how many additional people had the privacy stolen, maybe as many as 50,000.

Now lets cut through the bullshit and how many of those 50,000 odd people were prosecuted and convicted for the crimes that were, 'er', hinted at, in the FISC warrant less wire taps, but then what the heck, the only foreigners not entitled to any human rights and the laws in foreign countries are made to be broken at a whim, after all foreigners have no right to law and justice.

Not surprising, but not necessarily bad. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343532)

Reading up a bit: "The FISA Court did not reject a single warrant application from its beginning in 1979 through 2002. In 2003 it rejected four applications. In 2004, the number was again zero."
What does this tell us? That the applicants are presenting material in manner that presents the court little choice but to approve the applications. The judges have guidelines regarding what they're supposed to do, and you'd expect the intelligence agencies to be able to put together applications that fit those guidelines.

Of more concern is the question of what the intelligence agencies may be doing off-the-books. It's been claimed that the Bush government has been carrying out surveillance without submitting applications to the FISC, and it's been suggested that the resignation of James Robertson from the FISC is related to revelation of this unauthorised surveillance.

One of the reasons for FISC is to ensure that the surveillance excesses of Nixon and his predecessors - often for political gain - couldn't happen again and provide some oversight to the process of spying on people in the United States. I don't consider myself to be a card-carrying tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist nutjob (in part because if we had cards it would make it easier for governments to crack our membership database and figure out who we are and decide to open our mail), but I don't for a minute believe that a single govenment since Nixon completely gave up ALL secret surveillance of US citizens on US soil. Governments are made up of people, and people are secretive beasts who often do things they're officially told not to for reasons of their own and who share information with other like-minded people they come across if they believe it will be to their benefit. The FISC was created for good and noble reasons, and are probably doing the right thing most of the time - the trouble is, I don't believe they're necessarily being told about everything that's happening and may well be given fabricated evidence in support of applications. If Bush and his advisors and/or puppeteers have no problem lying about weapons of mass destruction to start a war, then why should they or their underlings have a problem cooking up believable applications to support their agenda?

Re:Not surprising (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343912)

The question I have is WTF is the FBI doing talking to the FISC? The FBI is supposed to be tasked with DOMESTIC law enforcement, they are not to be doing international foreign intelligence investigations just as the CIA is not to be doing domestic spying. The only reason I can think of is they had an ongoing criminal investigation going and somehow determined that their target might be linked to terrorism and so they asked for the FISA warrant, but that's an awfully slippery slope if they try to use that wiretap information in a domestic criminal case (courts have ruled that incidental information gleaned from a FISA wiretap are admissible but that the primary purpose of the wiretap must be foreign intelligence information gathering).

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348514)

The FBI has always done plenty of international law enforcement. They even go overseas to help other countries. The CIA are spies, not enforcement. What's changed after 9/11 is that the CIA and NSA are now doing domestic stuff, which was forbidden before and working more closely with the FBI. So much for posse comitatus.

Re:Not surprising (1)

sempernoctis (1229258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22350550)

I thought this was called Carnivore [wikipedia.org] ... or Magic Lantern [wikipedia.org] ... *sigh* so many FBI spy systems to keep track of. But my question is when did they start caring about getting permission?

Court order vs Conviction (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22350692)

I don't see anything wrong with the FISA court approving a wiretap, it's not a secret trial ala Rendition. It's going to a Judge and saying 'We think this person is bad and we want to investigate' regular Judges do this all the time. Rejection of wiretaps in the real world are much higher but that is because the subjects of those investigations are more varied in their supposed crimes.

If your a foreign national who came to they attention of the feds for whatever reason that reason will be told to the Judge who will decide if its enough. Granted thats Cold War thinking and thats endemic in the system. Spies are supposed to not be noticed so there is more latitude given to the investigation. And Spies are what they are supposed to be hunting.

Considering the current administration the rejected authorizations were likely Democratic Members of Congress.

Government Spyware (3, Interesting)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343194)

I would just like to know, what could the FBI do to make it's spy ware different from anything else out there in the wild? It would seem to me they would limited to the same techniques anyone can use on a computer, so really wouldn't it be just one more obnoxious program out there?

However I am sure there methods of getting it installed are probably a little more sophisticated than most users are used to dealing with...

But I'm sure they should be using this very lightly, as once the right person figured out it was on their computer and released details to the curious masses, how much good would it do then? As most criminals are well aware they are doing something illegal. All it would take is a little extra effort on the part of the person who fears they could be under surveillance to discover it with proper information/tool, etc..

Re:Government Spyware (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343344)

Everyone should know by now that AMD, Intel, TI, Arm, IBM, Motorola, etc. have all put secret back doors in their CPU's for just such an occaision. Big brother isn't just watching you, he's in your microcode.

Re:Government Spyware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344072)

The Secret Service is in your color laserprinter. [washingtonpost.com] The Federal Reserve and a group of international bankers are in your commercial image manipulation program [wired.com] telecom equipement. And there's plenty of other examples like backdoor passwords in consumer grade router/switches, Cisco IOS, What you jokingly dismiss is entirely plausible and probable.

Any proof of that? (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344350)

Given these things are fab'ed in Red China, which government would you be referring to?

Re:Any proof of that? (1)

coward12345 (1235518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346018)

But the microcode is produced and distributed seprately. There will be microcode data in the chip when it is shipped, but a BIOS or operating system can overwrite it on-the-fly with an updated version from upstream. Microsoft even releases microcode updates from chip makers on occasion [microsoft.com] , as do some Linux distros.

Intel never describes what they changed in their updates, and their microcode is encrypted with a key that is built into the chip (preventing it from being inspected). And we're talking about hundreds of kilobytes of code here (last update is 387072 bytes of code, much more than enough to do some serious espionage with). I don't know about the other makers.

This can't be a problem (2, Interesting)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346538)

Yeah, but I think in Linux all you have to do is pull the microcode update support from your kernel (during a 'make menuconfig') and Intel can't update your CPU. I don't think AMD even has the ability to update the microcode. That and it'll probably take a reboot to enable the new code (complete assumption on my part), couldn't you do something to the effect of running tripwire on /dev/cpu to be notified of changes?


Surely they have a mechanism to roll back code updates, it would be borderline insane if they didn't... so, you've got the code (wireshark, tcpdump), the key (embedded in CPU), and the mechanism (kernel support code) - are you implying that this isn't enough to reverse engineer any/or revert microcode changes? I don't know the first thing about it, but this should be reversible for the same reason that DRM doesn't work - they have to give you the ability and the key if they want to run it on your machine.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:This can't be a problem (1)

coward12345 (1235518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352944)

Yes in Linux you can remove the ability to update the microcode. I was only trying to point out that the microcode can be inserted anytime and isn't set in stone at the fab as the GGP suggested.

And a reboot is not required to update microcode, it takes effect immediately.

so, you've got the code (wireshark, tcpdump),
You don't even need that, you can download the code from Intel's site, or see what you have in /etc/firmware/microcode.dat.

the key (embedded in CPU),
As far as I know, nobody has extracted the key.

and the mechanism (kernel support code) - are you implying that this isn't enough to reverse engineer any/or revert microcode changes?
Without that key, the microcode can't be reverse engineered.

But to revert microcode, you simply remove the update mechanism and reboot. Your BIOS maay still hold a microcode update that it applies on boot, though.

Re:Any proof of that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22350836)

> Given these things are fab'ed in Red China, which government would you be referring to?

Quite possibly, (and quite possibly unbeknownst to each other), both of them!

Re:Government Spyware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352368)

im in ur microcode, snoopin in ur p0rn

FBI Spyware (5, Funny)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343466)

I would just like to know, what could the FBI do to make it's spy ware different from anything else out there in the wild?

Features

  • Plug in compatible with IRS 2.0
  • Hides from CIA version, dumps state, local and foreign clients.
  • Still works with punch cards left over from Operation Paperclip.
  • Used by more libraries and newspapers than any other client.
  • Unique money back promise.
  • Will only cost you your liberty.

It's not really funny.

But.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22346732)

..does it run on Linux?

Re:FBI Spyware (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22347704)

Still works with punch cards left over from Operation Paperclip
Based on this comment, I have to assume you have insider knowledge of how our government works. Who are you really gnutoo?

Re:FBI Spyware (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22386642)

If you don't already know who I am, either I know your client better than you think I do or interdepartmental cooperation is as bad as it always was and will be.

Re:Government Spyware (2, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343754)

They would be smart to take their cue from WeatherBug. Jesus bloody christ, its the only spyware Ive ever seen where the users fight me to keep it.

Re:Government Spyware (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343810)

Weatherbug? I have had users protest switching from IE because they liked the hijacked browser homepage because it had news and weather on it! However they let me replace it when I showed them customized Google.

Re:Government Spyware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22345698)

ha ha.... to true.... People have cursed me for removing comet cursor even after I explain that it is spyware

Re:Government Spyware (2, Interesting)

mjtg (173905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343906)

I would just like to know, what could the FBI do to make it's spy ware different from anything else out there in the wild? It would seem to me they would limited to the same techniques anyone can use on a computer, so really wouldn't it be just one more obnoxious program out there?

Well, they could "lean on" anti-spyware vendors and "request" that they not publish signatures that identify their CIPAV. Who's to know that they haven't done this ?

Or maybe Microsoft might provide them with some useful information that isn't readily available.

Re:Government Spyware (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344440)

Well chances are the US government has the source to Windows so I bet that they know all the back-doors (they would be foolish to use it without full source) and other governments have less copyright laws so with enough resources they can extract the source so I bet every government by now has easy access to Windows source.

Re:Government Spyware (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346652)

> Well chances are the US government has the source to Windows so I bet that they know all the back-doors (they would be foolish to use it without full source)...

Well, chances are that the US government has been very foolish lately ;)

Re:Government Spyware (4, Informative)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343918)

I would just like to know, what could the FBI do to make it's spy ware different from anything else out there in the wild? It would seem to me they would limited to the same techniques anyone can use on a computer, so really wouldn't it be just one more obnoxious program out there?
The difference is it is not viral and therefore doesn't escape "into the wild" and reproduce to the point where it eventually falls into the hands of the anti-virus software makers. As a result, their software won't detect it. This is a fundamental weakness with signature-based anti-virus systems. They work great on viruses, which spread indiscriminently, but are useless against a targeted attack by an adversary with the resources to create and deploy their own malware.

Re:Government Spyware (1)

KudyardRipling (1063612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344102)

Would not the removal of such spyware constitute an admission of guilt like destroying a bug?

Re:Government Spyware (2, Interesting)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344566)

Destroying a bug is not an admission of guilt.

Re:Government Spyware (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22349096)

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Talk to your lawyer (immediately!) if you ever find a bug in your vicinity. Especially if you suspect law enforcement is involved. The subject is murky, and you do not want to incriminate yourself. That said, there are a few reasons why destroying a bug is not an admission of guilt. First, you might not realize what you're destroying is a bug. Second, you might think someone other than law enforcement planted it. There are more.

On the other hand, the destruction of a bug can be used as evidence against you. Coming up with a plausible example is difficult since bugs are usually only used for drug dealer/mafia/corporate pirate types of crimes. But suppose, hypothetically, that a person was charged with murder after having destroyed a bug. If they claim to be guilty by reason of insanity (or some other lack of mens rea [wikipedia.org] ), the act of destroying a bug can demonstrate that you knew what you did was wrong, With the proviso that you might not have realized what you were destroying was a bug, or who planted it, or that you might be a paranoid schizophrenic (actually supporting your claim).

Do AV vendors 'overlook' this spyware? (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344388)

I would just like to know if the antivirus vendors purposely cripple their products for Big Brother. If so, it's only a matter of time before some clever black hat exploits that fact, assuming of course, that it isn't already happening.

Re:Government Spyware (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344754)

I would just like to know, what could the FBI do to make it's spy ware different from anything else out there in the wild?


I have several answers:

1. Call it Microsoft Windows Vista SP3

2. Say it's special "protect the children" software.

3. Require hardware manufacturers to include it on motherboards (see "V-chip")

4. Give away ten free downloads from iTunes with it.

5. One word: "Steam".

6. Another word: "Silverlight".

7. Still another word: "World of Warcraft Exxtreme Edition"

8... Give me a little time. I'm just getting warmed up.

Re:Government Spyware (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344824)

...what could the FBI do to make it's spy ware different from anything else out there in the wild? It would seem to me they would limited to the same techniques anyone can use on a computer, so really wouldn't it be just one more obnoxious program out there?

If you travel, they are not restricted to attacks over networks- they can legally get physical access to your machine, [msn.com] which is not a technique just anyone can use.

Nabila Mango, a therapist and a U.S. citizen who has lived in the country since 1965, had just flown in from Jordan last December when, she said, she was detained at customs and her cellphone was taken from her purse. Her daughter, waiting outside San Francisco International Airport, tried repeatedly to call her during the hour and a half she was questioned. But after her phone was returned, Mango saw that records of her daughter's calls had been erased.
A few months earlier in the same airport, a tech engineer returning from a business trip to London objected when a federal agent asked him to type his password into his laptop computer. "This laptop doesn't belong to me," he remembers protesting. "It belongs to my company." Eventually, he agreed to log on and stood by as the officer copied the Web sites he had visited, said the engineer, a U.S. citizen who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of calling attention to himself.
Maria Udy, a marketing executive with a global travel management firm in Bethesda, said her company laptop was seized by a federal agent as she was flying from Dulles International Airport to London in December 2006. Udy, a British citizen, said the agent told her he had "a security concern" with her. "I was basically given the option of handing over my laptop or not getting on that flight," she said.
However I am sure there methods of getting it installed are probably a little more sophisticated than most users are used to dealing with...

Or maybe not:

"I was assured that my laptop would be given back to me in 10 or 15 days," said Udy, who continues to fly into and out of the United States. She said the federal agent copied her log-on and password, and asked her to show him a recent document and how she gains access to Microsoft Word. She was asked to pull up her e-mail but could not because of lack of Internet access. With ACTE's help, she pressed for relief. More than a year later, Udy has received neither her laptop nor an explanation.
If they have sole physical access to your computer for 10 or 15 days, it's trivial for them to install all the spyware they want.

ACTE last year filed a Freedom of Information Act request to press the government for information on what happens to data seized from laptops and other electronic devices. "Is it destroyed right then and there if the person is in fact just a regular business traveler?" Gurley asked. "People are quite concerned. They don't want proprietary business information floating, not knowing where it has landed or where it is going. It increases the anxiety level."
Udy has changed all her work passwords and no longer banks online. Her company, Radius, has tightened its data policies so that traveling employees must access company information remotely via an encrypted channel, and their laptops must contain no company information.
And they're building a "social network" of their own:

Kamran Habib, a software engineer with Cisco Systems, has had his laptop and cellphone searched three times in the past year. Once, in San Francisco, an officer "went through every number and text message on my cellphone and took out my SIM card in the back," said Habib, a permanent U.S. resident. "So now, every time I travel, I basically clean out my phone. It's better for me to keep my colleagues and friends safe than to get them on the list as well."
Since they can turn your cellphone into a remote listening device at any time, this guy should take the battery out too.

Re:Government Spyware (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344890)

I would just like to know, what could the FBI do to make it's spy ware different from anything else out there in the wild?

Were it me... I would have Microsoft sign it and push it to my target IP/MAC as a silent Windows update. Even if you say 'let me manually download them', the updater has an API that will automagically download and install a patch. (noticed that a couple years back when one of the big bugs hit) You would have to have Microsoft's cooperation... but, you know, I'm sure they would be willing to do such a thing. Add in code that would make debugging difficult and use some of the same internal TCP/IP tricks that Microsoft uses for hosts, etc, odd of someone realizing they were tapped would be slim. If you had the private key to sign the update...

Re:Government Spyware (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22349990)

I would just like to know, what could the FBI do to make it's spy ware different from anything else out there in the wild?

Make it pass the Windows Genuine Advantage test?

Meh, IT reporting these days... (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343224)

FTA:

An FBI spokeswoman then invited Wired to submit a list of questions about the technology, but hasn't gotten back to us.
Well, what should Wired expect? The FBI invited Wired to submit list of questions. Now wired is compaining that the FBI isn't following up on their request for questions?

Sheesh, I mean, I know IT reporting has gone down teh tubes, but really... maybe if Wired wants to get info from the FBI, they should actually respond to the invite and submit questions -- maybe then they'd hear back.

/Sorry, deliberately obtuse tonight.

Re:Meh, IT reporting these days... (1)

MulluskO (305219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343574)

They published a list of the questions they sent.

Oh, you're joking?

Re:Meh, IT reporting these days... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343622)

Why should Wired waste it's time doing that? The FBI made the same request last year and then blew Wired off after they got the questions. That's the reason why Wired was forced to submit a FOIA request. The link to the exchange is right there in THE FUCKING SUMMARY, you idiot. In fact, I'll post the link here in this post so it'll real easy for you to find.

http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/07/thank-you-for-y.html [wired.com]

Re:Meh, IT reporting these days... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22347646)

whoosh

Well, I'm glad I use Linux (0, Offtopic)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343262)

And if they target Linux, I'll go to FreeBSD, and so on...

Re:Well, I'm glad I use Linux (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343314)

I'm not sure that there is too many things different to make BSD an alternative to something like linux in the case of spyware.

Your probably better off giving up computing and illegal activities if your that worried about it.

Re:Well, I'm glad I use Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348428)

Right.. 'cause anyone who is concerned about privacy or liberty is a terrorist. Dissent these days is an illegal activity, when will open discussion or anything that challenges the government be "reason" to get spied on .. I'm sure some of you have seen the how to identify domestic terrorists handbooks the FBI hands out..

Re:Well, I'm glad I use Linux (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22359062)

Right.. 'cause anyone who is concerned about privacy or liberty is a terrorist. Dissent these days is an illegal activity, when will open discussion or anything that challenges the government be "reason" to get spied on .. I'm sure some of you have seen the how to identify domestic terrorists handbooks the FBI hands out..
No, it is because paranoid people aren't any safer going with BSD when it comes to a government secretly installing spyware onto your computer if they are already using linux.

They are better of not using a computer because it is the only "safe" thing to satisfy their paranoia.

And you people crack me up. You see some document on the interweb and believe it as if it was verified by god himself. And it seems that it is believed only because someone says it is the document they don't want you to see but an unidentified person gave it to use anyways. Mean while, My eight year old is laughing his ass off while playing with photo shop, word, and acrobat professional. Tell me, has anyone checked the fonts to see if they are legit? I mean it wouldn't be the first time we had some fake documents created and passed around as original by people with IQ's smaller then their shoe size. I mean I remember a news broadcaster picking some up thinking it would effect the election and found out the hard way that people aren't as dumb as his staff.

The simple fact is that the government doesn't have the time and resources to mess around with people who disagree with it. A kee example of this is all the Bush Bashers out there, why aren't they "Disappearing" to some remote vacation spot like Club Gitmo? Or better yet, why haven't the loudmouth talk show hosts disappeared yet? Let go of the paranoia and look around a little. Unless your breaking the law while claiming it is dissent, there is nothing to worry about. SO see a shrink, take some zoloft or whatever is necessary for you to come back to the real world with the rest of us and be a productive member of society.

Re:Well, I'm glad I use Linux (2, Funny)

eitreach (1211194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343316)

You ain't paranoid unless you use AmigaOS for safe browsing.

Re:Well, I'm glad I use Linux (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343426)

AmigaOS for safe browsing.

Nahh it's even easier than that, just go back to a 28.8 modem. There's no way you wouldn't notice something going up or down on that connection.

Re:Well, I'm glad I use Linux (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346550)

You ain't paranoid unless you use AmigaOS for safe browsing.
...In VMWare on top of Xen...

Re:Well, I'm glad I use Linux (1)

basotl (808388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343886)

In other news... insurgents in Iraq have switched to using Terrorbuntu, in response to the FBI's use of spyware. One Jihadist was quoted as saying, "The new Terrorbuntu is great! Not only can I keep the Infidel FBI from seeing my computer but I am also more productive."

Re:Well, I'm glad I use Linux (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344520)

Does it automatically install JihadOffice or is that a seperate download?

Niggers and republicans.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343360)

Without both of them, the county would be much better off...

You know a republican thought of this, and you know a nigger backed him up.

I'm Wondering.. (1)

doyoulikegoatseeee (930088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343414)

How long before someone else smarter (There is always someone) hijacks FBI's malware and use it for their own bad purpose?? Hey, maybe FBI will even license this software to world's dictators who are sponsored by USA.

Re:I'm Wondering.. (0, Troll)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343476)

Hey, maybe FBI will even license this software to world's dictators who are sponsored by USA.
*Rolls eyes* That's just plain silly, everyone knows it's the CIA and black ops agencies that sponsor dictators.

If you're going to wear the tinfoil hat, please make sure to leave enough ventilation for you brain to operate properly.

And yet... (3, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343480)

The FISC is generally regarded as a rubber stamp; it approved over 4,000 surveillance requests in 2005 and 2006[PDF], rejecting none.
Bush has been warning Congress that this same rubber stamp will prevent the government from being able to stop potential terrorist attacks, urging them to extend an unconstitutional law that grants the executive branch permission to bypass the rubber stamp.

Shhh! They'll mod you "Troll"... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Roadkill (731328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344660)

...and open your mail, and tap your phone, and monitor your internet traffic, because you have different views and aren't afraid to state them. All quite legally. And in many others, they'd probably do it anyway if they felt it was "right" to do so.

Parent raises a fair and intersting point, that Bush considers the FISC to be an impediment to those who are simply trying to protect the American People. If the FISC was merely rubber-stamping whatever the U.S. Government wanted to do, then how could its oversight prevent government from protecting the American People? How come this deserves the "Troll" mod it got?

They say those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it. Seems to me like a lot of Americans need to bone up on things like the Church Committee.

Re:Shhh! They'll mod you "Troll"... (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346008)

If the FISC was merely rubber-stamping whatever the U.S. Government wanted to do, then how could its oversight prevent government from protecting the American People? How come this deserves the "Troll" mod it got?
Maybe they thought I was spreading FUD, because I was too lazy to provide references. So here we go, from the 2008 State of the Union address [whitehouse.gov] :

On the home front, we will continue to take every lawful and effective measure to protect our country. This is our most solemn duty. We are grateful that there has not been another attack on our soil since 9/11. This is not for the lack of desire or effort on the part of the enemy. In the past six years, we've stopped numerous attacks, including a plot to fly a plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles and another to blow up passenger jets bound for America over the Atlantic. Dedicated men and women in our government toil day and night to stop the terrorists from carrying out their plans. These good citizens are saving American lives, and everyone in this chamber owes them our thanks.

And we owe them something more: We owe them the tools they need to keep our people safe. And one of the most important tools we can give them is the ability to monitor terrorist communications. To protect America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they're planning. Last year, Congress passed legislation to help us do that. Unfortunately, Congress set the legislation to expire on February the 1st. That means if you don't act by Friday, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger. Congress must ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted. Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America. We've had ample time for debate. The time to act is now.
The legislation Bush alluded to that Congress passed last year was the Protect America Act of 2007 [loc.gov] , which was extended by 15 days [networkworld.com] after Bush made his speech. Here is the White House's summary of the Protect America Act [whitehouse.gov] as of August 2007; notice in particular the clause granting immunity to third parties from being sued [eff.org] for giving private data about US citizens to the government [washingtonpost.com] .

Still think I'm trolling?

CIPAV (3, Funny)

peektwice (726616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343516)

According to the /. post [slashdot.org] from StonyandCher, CIPAV stands for 'Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier'.
Yup...it's a computer....yup it's an IP address. Ok, it'sverified, now what?
What it should be called is CIGS..."Completely Illegal Government Spyware".

Re:CIPAV (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22358702)

What it should be called is CIGS..."Completely Illegal Government Spyware".

CIGS is too easy to detect! One of the most curious signs when CIGS is in operation is that your task bar will very slowly grow shorter!

you FAI7 it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343600)

hapless *BSD going teo continue, of America (GNAA) subscribers. Please

Re:you FAI7 it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343638)

"I want to know something, Henry... "

"What?"

"What was the name of the farm next to the Hill house?"

"I don't remember, Daniel... I remember the Hills. I remember their daughter Jenny. I remember Hill and his wife..."

"Do you think Rukia is cuter than Orihime?"

"Who?"

Rukia. Is she cuter than Orihime?"

"I can't remember right now."

"Who are you?"

None rejected means nothing (2, Insightful)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343760)

> The FISC is generally regarded as a rubber stamp; it approved over 4,000 surveillance requests in
> 2005 and 2006[PDF], rejecting none.

This means nothing interesting, unless you can point to some requests that should have been rejected.

Re:None rejected means nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344230)

The FISC decisions aren't reviewable by the public courts, and you can't challenge the warrants unless you have standing to do so. This means that only the target of the surveillance can bring action to challenge the warrant's validity. Of course, the catch is that the targeted individual has to know about FISA warrant in order to challenge it, which is impossible. It's a classic Catch-22. So your statement is completely asinine. These warrants can't be challenged simply because the adjudication on them is conducted cloaked in secrecy. We just have to rely on the decision of judges which are only cursorily reviewed by oversight committees. The FISC is an anathema to democracy and should be abolished.

Re:None rejected means nothing (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344828)

What percentage of regular warrants the FBI asks for get denied?
FISA rates should be about the same I'd think, don't you.

It -might- not be meaningful that so few have been rejected, but it -is- interesting, and it immediately suggests that additional investigation should be done.

This is a good thing. (1)

TurinPT (1226568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343796)

Much better than picking random people from Afghanistan and throw them in some cuban jail.

This way they can actually get conclusive evidence on suspects without harming the innocent caught in the crossfire.

Re:This is a good thing. (2, Informative)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343954)

...while they mine data that could be used for anything, if the right people got their hands on it. The minute the FBI breaks into my computer to get information, benign or not, whether or not I'm innocent of any crimes, is the minute I pick up and leave. If they're that hell bent on taking my privacy for your false sense of security, they've got problems bigger than a terrorist detonating a bomb in a crowded room.

Honestly, doesn't it seem like the terrorists got what they wanted? They hate us for our freedoms and our lifestyles, and they've managed to get our government to seize damned near all of it to "fight terrorism". They're not fighting terrorism, they're becoming the purveyors of it.

SpyWare (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344036)

Finally an apt use of the name.

And just in case the FBI is monitoring this thread, I voted for Bush 3 times.

Gee.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344186)

'The FISC is generally regarded as a rubber stamp; it approved over 4,000 surveillance requests in 2005 and 2006[PDF], rejecting none.'

Maybe the people submitting the requests understand what is required and make sure they have it everytime so as to not waste the court's time and do not bother if there is any possibility it will be denied. It's this kind of naive view of the world which makes slashdot and related sites (digg, dailykos, etc) such tar pits of stupidity. Of course it's not certain that's what happens (referring to the possibility that they don't bother filing the request unless it obviously meets the standards for approval), but it's a possibility, yet everytime I see this topic mentioned on slashdot I see the same stupid "it's not even possible they make sure they meet the request's basic requirements first" attitude, yet none of you knows for sure, which is very typical of slashdot, et al.

Re:Gee.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344518)

Gee, maybe you should get a clue before posting.

From the Interim Report on FBI Oversight in the 107th
Congress by the Senate Judiciary Committee:

FISA Implementation Failures
Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Charles Grassley, and Senator Arlen Specter
February 2003


http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_rpt/fisa.html [fas.org]

2. General Findings.

We found that key FBI personnel involved in the FISA process were not properly trained to carry out their important duties. In addition, we found that the structural, management, and resource problems plaguing the FBI in general contributed to the intelligence failures prior to the 9/11 attacks.18 Following are some of the most salient facts supporting these conclusions.

First, key FBI personnel responsible for protecting our country against terrorism did not understand the law... ...So deficient was the FISA process that, according to at least one FBI supervisor, not only were new applications not acted upon in a timely manner, but the surveillance of existing targets of interest was often terminated, not because the facts no longer warranted surveillance, but because the application for extending FISA surveillance could not be completed in a timely manner. Thus, targets that represented a sufficient threat to national security that the Department had sought, and a FISA Court judge had approved, a FISA warrant were allowed to break free of surveillance for no reason other than the FBI and DOJ's failure to complete and submit the proper paper work. This failure is inexcusable. ...An FBI document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which is attached to this report as Exhibit D, suggests that the errors committed were far broader. The document is a memorandum dated April 21, 2000, from the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, that details a series of inaccuracies and errors in handling FISA applications and wiretaps that have nothing whatsoever to do with the "wall." Such mistakes included videotaping a meeting when videotaping was not allowed under the relevant FISA Court order, continuing to intercept a person's email after there was no authorization to do so, and continuing a wiretap on a cell phone even after the phone number had changed to a new subscriber who spoke a different language from the target.

and on and on... There's more documentation out there if you aren't too lazy to go find it, or aren't a Bush apologist who LUVS TEH AUTHORITAH!

I'm glad to hear this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344260)

It's nice to know that SOMEBODY is doing something to stop terrorists, instead of just sitting on their fat asses munching cheeze-its and posting bitching and moaning posts on Slashdot.

Thanks, Fibbies. More of us out here respect you than you know.

Re:I'm glad to hear this (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344584)

Oh the irony. They already knew you respect them.

not news (2, Interesting)

brass1 (30288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344702)

This is not news. The US intelligence community, including the fbi, has been a known user of key loggers and spyware for about a decade. My link is from 2001, but I have knowledge of a federal investigation in 1998 that used key loggers to track suspects' use of certain services.

damnit (1)

brass1 (30288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344752)

My link
Said link was even in the preview, but didn't make the post. Try this [msnbc.com] .

Re:not news (1)

instarx (615765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22357212)

This is not news. The US intelligence community, including the fbi, has been a known user of key loggers and spyware for about a decade. My link is from 2001, but I have knowledge of a federal investigation in 1998 that used key loggers to track suspects' use of certain services.
Not only is it not news, it's REALLY not news. In the 70's the Federal government had devices that were able to tell what was being typed on typewriters in real time. These were devices that were attached to the typerwriter power cord (or installed behind the power outlet) that measured current changes. By recording the changes it was possible to re-create the letters typed. This was possible because in Selectric-type typewriters each letter took a slightly different amount of energy to print. Traditional typewriters (with type bars that rise to strike the paper) use the same energy for every letter and were immune.

Spy on Everyone! (1)

wshwe (687657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344924)

This is part of Bush/Cheney's "Spy on Everyone Except Themselves" Program!

Peering into the void (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22350090)

This is part of Bush/Cheney's "Spy on Everyone Except Themselves" Program!

Just looking at Cheney is frightening enough, spying on him would just be futile. I know you can detect a black hole, but can you actually see anything when you look into one?

FBI Sought Approval---WOW!!! (1)

fred911 (83970) | more than 6 years ago | (#22345076)

I tip my hat at just the look of propriety! Makes me proud!

How does one get it (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22345780)

How does one get infected with WWWFBISearchBar, or FBIDesktopBuddy? Does it get installed when your browsing shady government websites, or what?

Oh yeah I can see it now. (3, Funny)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348676)

"Osama, this email attachment says 'see Brittney Spears naked'!"

"What are you waiting for man? Open it!"

Spy On This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22349826)


you fuckwads [whitehouse.org] .

In related news... (1)

thousandinone (918319) | more than 6 years ago | (#22350704)

Use of programs such as spybot, hijackthis, and their ilk has been criminalized

What about Echelon? Is that evidence now too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22351312)

Echelon has been around for 35+ years why isn't it admissible in court? It would sure beat cops busting me for fake crimes in retaliation for stuff I did over 11 years ago as a student.

Why is it so quiet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22354730)

A deafening silence, more of a response to Michael Eisner than to this article.
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