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Crime Privacy Your Rights Online

FBI Admits It Uses Stingrays, Zero-Day Exploits (arstechnica.com) 79

An anonymous reader writes: Amy Hess, the head of the FBI's science and technology division has admitted that the FBI sometimes exploits zero-day vulnerabilities and uses stingrays to catch bad guys. Ars reports: "The admission came in a profile published Tuesday of Amy Hess, the FBI's executive assistant director for science and technology who oversees the bureau's Operational Technology Division. Besides touching on the use of zero-days—that is, attack code that exploits vulnerabilities that remain unpatched, and in most cases are unknown by the company or organization that designs the product—Tuesday's Washington Post article also makes passing mention of another hot-button controversy: the FBI's use of stingrays."
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FBI Admits It Uses Stingrays, Zero-Day Exploits

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  • I guess they figure the ends justify the means.

  • by Ruedii ( 2712279 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @06:04AM (#51093987)

    I'm sure they get the proper warrants and everything for doing this. After all, these things should be considered wiretaps.

    I'm sure the FBI would never violate anyone's civil rights. *bleeding sarcasm intended*

    • by waspleg ( 316038 )

      I'm pretty sure I read somewhere they don't need warrants to use Stingray only a judge to sign something (not the same thing, I forget what it was called) which was far easier/quicker to get and of course with Stingray they're watching everyone who it forces to connect not just the "bad guys" - but that was for the local cops.

      I'm sure with the feds you're right, they'll do whatever the fuck they want just like the NSA/CIA etc since there is 0 oversight and they can lie to congress with impunity.

      Innocent unt

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @07:09AM (#51094107)

      I'm sure they get the proper warrants and everything for doing this. After all, these things should be considered wiretaps.

      I'm sure the FBI would never violate anyone's civil rights. *bleeding sarcasm intended*

      A head of a Federal organization just stood up and admitted they use a wiretap device illegally with a what-the-fuck-are-YOU-gonna-do-about-it-civilian attitude.

      And we'll dismiss just how powerless We the People are by bringing out half-hearted humor and sarcasm about it, as if that's the correct response instead of asking for their dismissal and calling for a full investigation.

      Not trying to compare tragedies, but a a black minor is gunned down in Chicago by police, and they're even calling for the mayors resignation. They already have the Police Superintendents, so don't tell me citizens can't get results. We can, when we want it bad enough.

      We're not going to get our Rights back by using sarcasm.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You've accomplished nothing with a resignation, unless the person who fills the void is actually working towards your goals. Otherwise this is exactly the point of politicians - you've bought into the lie that one of them is better than another.

        • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @09:04AM (#51094423)

          You've accomplished nothing with a resignation, unless the person who fills the void is actually working towards your goals.

          Wrong. This establishes precedent. If a young police officer, politician, or other elected leader just starting his or her career now understands that the threat of losing their job or entire career is now fucking real, they might think twice about their actions while in office.

          Otherwise this is exactly the point of politicians - you've bought into the lie that one of them is better than another.

          While this is true, I stand on my first point. Much like a Chicago police officer recently being charged with murder, this establishes precedent, and helps drive the point that law enforcement and our elected leaders are not untouchable, and can lose their jobs or careers like anyone else when they break the law.

          And we need that precedent more than ever.

          • You've accomplished nothing with a resignation, unless the person who fills the void is actually working towards your goals.

            Wrong. This establishes precedent. If a young police officer, politician, or other elected leader just starting his or her career now understands that the threat of losing their job or entire career is now fucking real, they might think twice about their actions while in office.

            Otherwise this is exactly the point of politicians - you've bought into the lie that one of them is better than another.

            While this is true, I stand on my first point. Much like a Chicago police officer recently being charged with murder, this establishes precedent, and helps drive the point that law enforcement and our elected leaders are not untouchable, and can lose their jobs or careers like anyone else when they break the law.

            And we need that precedent more than ever.

            No it doesn't. It only means the next time someone screws up again then then the acting mayor resigns. It's a viscous circle which holds no one accountable. They get paid after resigning as well.

  • to catch bad guys? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2015 @06:06AM (#51093989)
    "Amy Hess, the head of the FBI's science and technology division has admitted that the FBI sometimes exploits zero-day vulnerabilities and uses stingrays to catch bad guys"

    That assumes they are guilty. Whole reason for the Bill of Rights is to stop the state from going on fishing expeditions through the drawers of the state's critics (remember Thomas Drake?) or people on the wrong side of powerful business interests (remember Citizens United?) So once you drop the presumption of guilt from OP's byline, it takes on a whole new meaning:

    "Amy Hess, the head of the FBI's science and technology division has admitted that the FBI sometimes exploits zero-day vulnerabilities and uses stingrays to spy on citizens who may not have done anything wrong, because "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him""
  • Bad guys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @06:31AM (#51094019)
    The FBI has a long history of keeping an eye on bad guys. Martin Luther King, Jr., political protesters, Black Lives Matter, ...
  • "to catch guys and girls".

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @08:03AM (#51094227)

    Thanks for telling us what we already knew.

    Seriously, this is somewhat interesting but hardly qualifies as "news".

    The only news in this admission is that they're admitting to doing it, not that they're doing it.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      That tells us a lot though. It tells us that they ACTUALLY believe they're above the law and that nobody can say otherwise.

  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    -- Steve Irwin (RIP)

  • Have the Feds ever discouraged tech companies from fixing software bugs, so their own exploits will continue to work?

I have a very small mind and must live with it. -- E. Dijkstra

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