Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA, & Army Can Control Your Computer

Leaked emails from an Italian-based hacking company reveal that government agencies engage in surveillance more invasive than previously thought, spending millions of dollars on spyware and malware software to accomplish their questionable goals. Tellingly, their use of the product places them squarely in the same category as other repressive regimes around the world. After hackers ironically hacked Hacking Tools, a Milan-based company that sells strictly to governments, hundreds of gigabytes of emails and financial records were leaked. The emails show that the FBI, DEA, and U.S. Army all purchased software that enables them to view suspects’ photos, emails, listen to and record their conversations, and activate the cameras on their computers, among other things. While this may seem like old news, the most controversial revelation was the government’s purchases of “Remote Control Systems.” The FBI, DEA, and U.S. Army, courtesy of Hacking Tools, possess the capability to take control of […] Read More

FBI, DEA, US Army bought spyware from hacked Italian company

Internal documents of the Italian malware maker Hacking Team, leaked online in a hacker attack, show that the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency and the US Army all made use of its controversial spyware known as Remote Control System, or Galileo. The FBI’s secret Remote Operations Unit has been using Hacking Team’s software since 2011, according to leaked documents analyzed by The Intercept. Galileo allows users to take over their targets’ computers, activate their cameras, and record their calls, emails, and keystrokes. The DEA used the software in Colombia since 2012, with an eye to expand it to places like El Salvador and Chile, the company’s emails reveal. The Army unit that purchased Galileo in 2011 was based at Fort Meade, Maryland – home of the US Cyber Command. Hacking Team referred to its US clients by code names: the FBI was “Phoebe,” the DEA was “Katie,” and the CIA […] Read More

Revealed: Gov’t Surveillance Is Much More Developed Than You Thought

New documents show government tracked drivers with license plate readers on mass scale. Federal agencies tried to use vehicle license-plate readers to track the travel patterns of Americans on a much wider scale than previously thought, with new documents showing the technology was proposed for use to monitor public meetings. The American Civil Liberties Union released more documents this week revealing for the first time the potential scale of a massive database containing the data of millions of drivers, logged from automatic license plate readers around the US. As President Obama’s nominee for attorney general prepared for a second day of confirmation hearings in Washington, senior lawmakers also called on the US Justice Department to show “greater transparency and oversight”. Further documents released by the ACLU on Wednesday show that Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials in Phoenix planned on “working closely” with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) […] Read More

Thousands of Rapists Are Not Behind Bars Because Cops Focus on Marijuana Users

Every dollar and police hour spent on nonviolent drug offenders takes away from real crime. A piece in the Washington Post highlights the growing backlog of untested rape test kits that are sitting in police storage units while rapists run free and victims suffer.  Missing from the story, however, is one of the biggest contributors to this backlog, the enormous amount of police and tax resources spent targeting drug crimes, particularly marijuana possession. The backlog is a disgrace. The total number of rape test kits that have never been sent to laboratories for testing exceeds 100,000. In some cases, the kits have been sitting in storage for decades. From the Washington Post: “In 2009, authorities found more than 11,000 unprocessed kits at the Detroit crime lab after it was closed for improperly handling weapons evidence. After testing the first 2,000 kits, authorities identified 127 serial rapists and made 473 matches overall to known convicts […] Read More

NSA Is Secretly Taping Every Conversation in the Bahamas with the Help of the DEA

And they’re spying on 250 million private citizens in five foreign countries. The U.S. is quietly snooping just about every cell phone call made in the Bahamas in a dual effort by the NSA and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), according to a May 19 report by Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras of the Intercept.  The agencies have been tapping, recording and storing every single phone call made in the island nation, and the government of the Bahamas—a democratic US ally— appears not to have known about or consented to the spying. In fact, there are laws in place in the Bahamas (as in the U.S.) to specifically forbid this kind of interference. The Intercept’s report is the latest revelation to result from the documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. It notes that “the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET,” which is […] Read More

The raw (and ugly) truth about the war on drugs

Drugs are bad. Drugs destroy peoples’ lives. Didn’t you know that marijuana turns regular everyday people into zombie pot smokers? That’s why we have a war on drugs in America: to protect our children from potheads. Drugs are bad. Especially marijuana. I learned this the other day when I visited an elementary school as a guest speaker. The schoolchildren were well trained in describing the dangers of drugs. On command, they would spout out any number of statements describing them. But then a funny thing happened. I started asking how many of them were on drugs. You know, drugs their doctor prescribed. Drugs that alter brain chemistry to keep them docile, or free of pain, or to dilate their lungs so they could breathe easier. It turned out that 60% of these schoolchildren were either on drugs at that very moment, or had been on such drugs within the […] Read More