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FBI Rejects Freedom of Information Act Request About Carrier IQ 156

bonch writes with news that website Muckrock recently sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI asking for "manuals, documents or other written guidance used to access or analyze data gathered by programs developed or deployed by Carrier IQ." The Bureau has now responded with a rejection of the request, claiming an exemption applies because such documents "could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings." While many have been quick to assume the worst, the Muckrock article says it's unclear "whether the FBI used Carrier IQ's software to in its own investigations, whether it is currently investigating Carrier IQ, or whether it is some combination of both - not unlikely given the recent uproar over the practice coupled with the U.S. intelligence communities reliance on third-party vendors."
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FBI Rejects Freedom of Information Act Request About Carrier IQ

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  • Exemptions may apply (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:19PM (#38349378) Homepage Journal

    The rule is: If we don't want you to know, then there's an applicable exemption to the rule.

    And we know where you were last Summer...

  • Re:I'm stunned (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gription ( 1006467 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:23PM (#38349448)
    Letting citizens exercise the rights could "interfere with enforcement proceedings" so hand over all your rights immediately!
  • Data logging (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:27PM (#38349522)

    If the FBI is using Carrier IQ data for investigative purposes, doesn't that call into question the earlier claim from security researchers that Carrier IQ isn't logging data []?

  • by fsckmnky ( 2505008 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:40PM (#38349698)

    constant warrantless wiretap requests

    There is no evidence of any warrantless wiretapping occouring. Let me explain.

    Customer wants a phone, customer signs TOS agreeing to be monitored. Carrier does monitoring of customer, which customer agreed to. FBI wants data for an investigation. FBI pays carrier to get records of customer, which customer agreed to allow to be collected and logged. This is not a "warrantless wiretap" just as walking into an FBI office and handing them copies of all your records voluntarily is not a warrantless wiretap.

    I completely get that the outcome of the process, is essentially the same as allowing the FBI to have wiretaps, but only on those who agree to it voluntarily, by way of the carrier TOS. Much like it's a given that Googles log data will be sold to the FBI, and Google clearly spells it out in their TOS.

    The meat of this entire issue, is that, there is currently no way to get a phone in the US, from a carrier, and opt-out of the data collection process, such that one does not voluntarily leave a trail of everything they do. Being able to opt-out, would require law enforcement to get a judge approved wiretap to collect current and future information, as no log will have existed ( in the being able to opt out scenario ).

  • by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:53PM (#38349860) Homepage

    Is Carrier IQ collecting data from customers without their knowledge? Does the FBI have warrants granting them access to those customers' data? If the answer to the former is yes and the answer to the latter is no, what we have is quite literally a warrantless wiretap. It's just that the wiretapping is being carried out by a different party than the one that's supposed to get a warrant.

  • Re:I'm stunned (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:57PM (#38349896) Journal

    A government agency does not want to hand over information that may link it to abusing its power.

    The only thing we know for sure is that the companies that installed this iCarrier spyware definitely abused their power.

    If the abuse goes up to the FBI, then there's no way that information is not going to come out. We'll know soon enough where iCarrier came from and where we should aim our ire. The iCarrier story is just getting started.

  • by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:15PM (#38350068)

    "As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism.
    Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."

      --Pravin Lal

  • Re:I'm stunned (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:42AM (#38352244)

    Stasi was capable actively monitoring every SEVENTH citizen of GDDR. This number was derived directly from their archives, and can be found in a number of currently in-print history books, along with proper sourcing. KGB was significantly weaker in this, in no small part due to the fact that much of USSR didn't even have telephone lines and proper roads until late 70s. The country was just so damn big and sparsely populated. Finally, there was the major problem of management - even if you gathered information like Stasi did, you ended up fucked by the fact that you didn't have resources to process it.

    There are multiple cases of people from companies like Palantir (use google to find citations that haven't been pulled yet due to DMCA or other ways they use to pull them off public websites) stating that not only do US/UK currently monitor EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN, they are officially marketing themselves as companies that have tools that can turn this huge influx of informational mess into useful datasets. In other words they've seen the data, and know that it's a mess due to sheer amounts of it. Which is the main reason why Stasi could only dream of having systems like this in place. Computers powerful enough, networking powerful enough and social incentives for people to put their daily lives into recordable, automatically sortable format simply weren't there in their times.

    I can't find it any more, but I have seen a really nice presentation from Palantir specifically stating all above points that I saw either on wired or ars (or linked from one of their articles on the topic). I'm not sure they still have it though, as it may have gotten pulled on copyright grounds.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!