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« Just A Few Rogue Agents ... | Main | CNN Turkey: Protests? What Protests? »
June 02, 2013

Obama Admin continues pursuit of Warrantless Searches of our Gmail accounts. [krakatoa]

Google ordered to comply with FBI demands, by same judge who found the same demands to be unconstitutional. Circle, squared.

Last year the FBI sent out more than 16,000 [National Security Letters] to companies relating to the private data – mainly financial, internet or phone records – of more than 7,000 Americans.

What, not our Gmail? Only the terrorists?

Oh, Right. Because, political targeting under this president's benevolent care could never happen.

Clean as the driven snow, TFG is.

I'm not sure I follow the procedural logic surrounding the 19 letters in question. Well, to be clear, I most definitely do not follow it. I'm just a caveman. Your "penumbras" and "motions to the court" frighten and confuse me.

After receiving sworn statements from two top-ranking FBI officials, the judge said she was satisfied that 17 of the 19 letters were issued properly. She wanted more information on two other letters.

So in effect, the FBI has convinced a hostile judge of the legal justification for 17 of their search demands.

After months & months of legal back and forth.

Wouldn't it have been quicker to just go to a judge in the first place and, oh, I don't know, Get a Warrant?


A Wisconsin judge rules that a man must decrypt drives that the FBI claims hold child porn, reversing his own earlier ruling that doing so violates the accused's 5th amendment rights.

The FBI countered, claiming they already knew what was on the drives, so the 5th amendment didn't apply.

In a four page ruling last week, the judge noted that prosecutors in the case had provided enough evidence to show that Feldman had access and control over the storage devices. They also have shown that they know the names of files containing child porn and the probable existence of those files on the encrypted hard drives.

So getting Feldman to decrypt the files would not give the government any information they did not already have. As a result the request for the decryption keys did not violate his Fifth Amendment protections against compelled self-incrimination, the judge ruled.

Any lawyer-types want to explain why this is so? If the FBI already has the evidence, as they claim, why would the court demand the defendant prove them right?

And any technical types care to opine how the FBI could decrypt a portion of the drives safely that just happens to support their claims enough to get a beneficial new ruling, but were unable to decrypt the rest of the drive that actually has the alleged incriminating evidence?

I mean, a Professor of Journalism would call me paranoid, but given recent precedent, it's not a stretch to suspect certain government agencies might not be above lying to a judge to get a ruling in their favor.

UPDATED- oblig.'s comment gets promoted because this sounds really smart, as evidenced by use of techy jargon like "monkey". That, and he makes a good point about the whether the original report meant an encrypted drive, or encrypted files on an regular drive which could account for finding incriminating unencrypted files being misreported by someone as "decrypted":

53 Decrypting part of an encrypted volume is an infinite-monkeys job. A whole one's not nearly as hard to rescue from obscurity (though it may require near-infinite monkeys).

There's just no "part" on an obscured drive where whole, decryptable files could be found. Especially not uniformly unincriminating-in-themselves files, surrounded by awesome evidence.

So they're lying.

Or they have some serious sci-fi decryptin' shit that they shouldn't have mentioned that they have...but that shit is mysteriously averse to producing the evidence it's after? Maybe they thought revealing that--"We found all kinda stuff but totally not the specific incriminating stuff we need; pay no mind, criminals!"--would make the revelation that they have sci-fi decryptin' shit seem uninteresting.

It doesn't.

And probably they're lying.

And the weirdness of the story is probably an artifact of crappy reporting. What the guy actually got taken from him is some unencrypted drives with encrypted container files on them, and only those container files are unopenable. Which, duh. In the absence of sci-fi shit (or a password), they're just gonna sit there, saying "nope."

So that's the Occam-approved answer.

And so where the FBI is lying is in calling the near-evidence they do have "recently decrypted." It was never encrypted.

They're fuckin' with the judge--and the suspect, who would know they're getting away with lying to the judge to make him do what they want, and is probably scared shitless by that.

digg this
posted by Open Blogger at 07:15 PM

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