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Did The UK Police Hire Foreigners To Hack Hundreds of Activists? (bbc.co.uk) 72

Big Hairy Ian shared this story from the BBC: Undercover counter-extremism officers used hackers in India to access the emails of journalists and environmental activists, it has been claimed... The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it had received an anonymous letter, which alleged covert officers from the Metropolitan Police's National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit contacted Indian police officers for help to enlist hackers. The letter alleges the hackers accessed the email accounts of hundreds of people, including members of political and environmental pressure groups and journalists.
"The letter said the monitoring included the 'email accounts of radical journalists who reported on activist protests (as well as sympathetic photographers) including at least two employed by the Guardian newspaper,'" the Guardian reports, adding that the letter provided the names of 10 campaigners -- and the passwords for their accounts.
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Did The UK Police Hire Foreigners To Hack Hundreds of Activists?

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  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Saturday May 13, 2017 @06:00PM (#54411893)

    Oh my, there has to be an Indian Outsourcing joke here someplace. But seriously, without the letter to the Guardian, if this was discovered "Metropolitan Police's National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit" would probably put forth some "plausible deniability" [wikipedia.org] story - "It wasn't us! Must have been those pesky Russians again..."

    • i doubt any law enforcement agency globally has the intelligence to know how to hire a legit hacker.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can imagine my surprise to find that this massive abuse of privacy, sidestepping of judicial hurdles and outright fuckery was courtesy of the Metropolitan Police, the most institutionally corrupt police force in the UK. You could halve actual crime in London by locking the entire force in its own cells.

  • I thought "5 Eyes"/UKUSA meant that the Brits would just politely ask the NSA, who -- naturally -- know everything about everybody.

    Maybe privacy activists (the same ones who were sure that they'd get thrown in Gitmo) are full of crap.

    • Re:What??? (Score:4, Informative)

      by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday May 13, 2017 @09:35PM (#54412391) Homepage

      The NSA can only be used by the American government for political spying, the British conservatives can not use the NSA or 5 eyes collectively for politically based spying. Basically this is just conservative politics law enforcers using their power for political purposes. The real warning, how far will they go to target the most effective political campaigners, a murderous arrest, they had to be safe, targeted law enforcements attacks against the whole family of the targeted political campaigner, fabrication of false evidence (reinforcement chairs become caltrops, empty bottles and a can of lawn mower fuel become a molotov cocktail fabrication facility, water recycling becomes biological weapons production), repeatedly violently targeting the specific individuals at protests, ensuring the unemployability for security reasons including their entire family.

      It is crap to defend criminal politically based behaviour by law enforcers because that does lead to assassination by law enforcers during false arrests, that is exactly where politically based law enforcement spying leads. A sure sign of an extremely corrupt government.

      • The NSA can only be used by the American government for political spying

        Seriously? Sure... By the way, when would you like to get together to close the deal on the bridge? The papers are ready for your signature.

  • by accident. bob's your uncle and all that.
  • by DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) on Saturday May 13, 2017 @06:06PM (#54411903)

    This sort of "outsourcing" of illegal information gathering activities has been going on for years. GCHQ has the NSA spying on the Brits. GCHQ spies on the Yankees. The Cannucks are spying on the Aussies and the Aussies are spying on the Cannucks. Meanwhile the Kiwis are all pissed because no one gives a shit about what goes on in New Zealand.

    For a country like America who gave the crown a fat middle finger, the level of coziness today should unnerve everyone.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You didn't give the crown a middle finger though. The French gave the British Crown the middle finger and the colonists were merely along for the ride. Most of them (2/3rds by all accounts) either supported the crown or didn't care who won.
      You don't even know your own history.

      • Maybe you should do a bit of history learning. Or perhaps learn something about analogies. It's pretty clear the US gave the British crown the finger while France was standing behind America, flexing its muscles, ready to throw down.

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        It depends on exactly which sources you trust. There's reasonable evidence that more than 1/3 supported the US revolution, at least passively, and about 1/3 supported staying with Britain. The exact proportions depend on how you figure support and which colonies you are looking at. Also when. The US revolutionaries were clearly losing until the French supported the revolution. If your viewpoint is from Europe, then that was the French giving Britain the finger, but if your viewpoint is from the US they

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Within the UK it gets even more interesting.
      When the UK was collecting on all calls within Ireland and between Ireland and the rest of the world the UK needed to keep such collection secret from the press, lawyers, any court setting, human rights groups, UK police who enjoyed talking with the media, UK police with contacts in Ireland.
      So only the UK mil, GCHQ and Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch would often see the results of collection. No other parts of the UK gov could be trusted with raw produ
  • When a government ignores its own laws, the law loses its authority. When the law loses its authority, lawlessness begins to emerge.

  • Given that only 36 percent of Indian coders can write compilable code, what makes anyone think they can hack e-mail? For that matter, they haven't been able to become convincing telephone scammers either. I call B.S.

  • by Sir Holo ( 531007 ) on Saturday May 13, 2017 @06:31PM (#54411971)

    So, basically, the UK is following the lead of the USS... I mean the USA... in having an agency illegally monitor internal political dissenters?

  • "Did The UK Police Hire Foreigners To Hack Hundreds of Activists?"

    Answer: Probably.

    (Yes, yes, I know Betteridge's Law says the answer is "No", but I'm allowing a little leeway this time. Deal with it.)

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday May 13, 2017 @08:08PM (#54412203) Journal

    ..."Jesus fuck!" and "Motherfucker!" are among things I said out loud while reading the summary. Why can't intelligence and law enforcement resist becoming the Stasi? Why do they always target innocent protesters for illegal surveillance?

    • Why do they always target innocent protesters for illegal surveillance?

      Because that's been the FBI's purpose from day one. It came out of the Palmer Raids, a government assault on unions and leftists. Suppressing the left by any means necessary has always been the primary purpose of the FBI. Intelligence agencies are no more about protecting Americans than cops are about establishing justice. Their true purpose is order. Specifically, a right-wing capitalist order.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Guess they don't see what the fuck they're doing themselves

  • by tietokone-olmi ( 26595 ) on Sunday May 14, 2017 @04:01AM (#54413023)

    The whistleblower wrote his/her letter in march 2017 already. Look at the articles of The Grauniad in the related articles bar towards the end. You can guess how much information will have not been shredded in between.

    The cops break the law individually and as an organization, and get away with it because the law is set up so that the cops may break it at will.

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