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If The FBI Can't Stop All These Leaks About An Investigation, Why Would it Be Able To Keep Encryption Backdoor Secret?

from the bunch-of-leakers dept

In the last 10 days or so, James Comey sent two letters to Congress -- the first one notifying Congress of some new information in an "unrelated" investigation that may pertain to Hillary Clinton's emails. And then the one from yesterday admitting that there was nothing important in those emails. That was effectively all that Comey said officially. Yet, in between all of that a ton of information leaked from the FBI about the investigation. We learned what it pertained to (the Anthony Weiner investigation), heard estimates of the number of emails involved, heard that the FBI found them weeks ago but only told Comey right before he sent the letter, that the FBI didn't have a warrant to read the emails -- and then that it did, and that a whole bunch of people inside both the FBI and DOJ have opinions on both sides of this whole mess.

Basically, the FBI (and the DOJ) were leaking information like it was the last chance they'd ever have to leak information and their lives depended on who could leak the most.

And, remember, this is the same damn agency that is so insistent on forcing tech companies to put backdoors into any encryption to make sure the FBI can get into anything it wants. Yet, they can't keep the basic details of an investigation secret? And then they expect everyone to just accept it when they say that we can trust them to keep backdoors secret and to only use them appropriately? That seems like a huge leap of faith for a government bureau that has done almost nothing to deserve that kind of support.

The next time (and it's coming...) the FBI starts talking about "Going Dark" and how it needs to break basic technology tools, perhaps stand up and remind people that this is an organization that can't keep its own secrets very well. Perhaps we shouldn't trust it with all of our secrets as well.

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  • icon
    Wyrm (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 10:57am

    Cue the WaPo editorial you mentioned Friday:

    That casting around causes fear and anxiety — and sometimes even anger. None of those emotions are conducive to a functioning, healthy democracy.

    So, are you guys at TechDirt seriously trying to destroy democracy?

    Also, a quote from a well-known figure from a long time ago:

    I find your lack of faith disturbing

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 11:03am

    It's not just the FBI. Once they have their backdoor, other agencies will demand it too.

    Think of how Stingray cell site snoopers were for catching terrorists... and now they're in use by 13 federal agencies plus many state and local police agencies. They'll all demand the backdoor password.

    That goes for the police agencies in other countries too. If Apple gives American police a back door, Britain, Germany, Saudi Arabia and all the rest will demand it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 11:22am

    Total clowncar agency. WTF

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chrono§§, 7 Nov 2016 @ 11:40am

    It wont

    lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 11:44am

    Much like when EA and Zynga were fighting each other I have mixed feelings about both sides in this.


    Wanting the FBI to keep leaking info is wrong for the right reasons. While supporting the FBI in keeping this quiet and out of the public eye is right for the wrong reason.

    The system is so corrupted that this scandal will not get into the public's eye any other way. Though it causes risk to us all when the FBI decide to do this to someone else, for whatever reason.

    I think I have to support the leaking, if only because I do not believe these criminals will be brought to justice under the system when they can pay off key people into ignoring their crimes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 4:12pm

      Re:

      What good did leaking information about the emails do? It just made people think there was something there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Padpaw (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 10:17pm

        Re: Re:

        we found out the first investigation's closure was coincidently around the time the wife of the guy in charge got a 500k "donation" from the clinton foundation for her political campaign. Perhaps it will turn out Comey got a similar "offer". We will just have to wait and see if those at the FBI feel their morals cannot abide keeping any more of such information quiet

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2016 @ 5:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The investigation started due to someone reading a political hit piece or "book" that alleged some bullshit that never amounted to anything .. is this incorrect?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          guiwhiz (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Umm... no. The $500k USD donation did NOT come from the Clinton Foundation (they can't donate to a political campaign... which is why the Trump Foundation got into trouble in Florida for BLATANTLY trying to influence an Attorney General in the Trump University debacle). Also the donation to campaign for a woman who is a long time democratic stalwart , which did come from a long time Clinton ally, was months prior to her husband getting a promotion into a position which THEN was assigned the investigation. So unless the donor had Nostradamus like powers to see into the future it is, of course yet another, red herring with no substance or truth.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Thad, 8 Nov 2016 @ 9:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            (they can't donate to a political campaign... which is why the Trump Foundation got into trouble in Florida for BLATANTLY trying to influence an Attorney General in the Trump University debacle)

            Well, kind of. The Trump Foundation got in trouble for making a political contribution; as far as whether that contribution was intended to stop an investigation of Trump University, that hasn't been decided in the courts yet. (I certainly think it was, but it's not really accurate to say they've "gotten in trouble" for it.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Thad, 8 Nov 2016 @ 9:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The hallmark of a conspiracy theorist is that he sees lack of evidence as evidence of a coverup.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        guiwhiz (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 8:57am

        Re: Re:

        Not to mention a clear violation of the Hatch Act of 1939 put into place specifically to address a situation just like this one.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 12:04pm

    The Old Proverb Still Rules

    Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

    How many employees does the Federal Bureau of Intrusion have?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 12:25pm

    Because... Unicorn!

    Because they will guard the golden key with a magic unicorn!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Darkhog, 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:03pm

    Related: If they get leaks everywhere, how they were able to keep details of the Tor exploit they've used under wraps?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 1:23pm

    Silly Rabbit...

    Trix are for kids!

    At least the FBI thinks so! They want those backdoors so they can plant evidence where ever they please. Right now they are just limited to "manufacturing" the evidence, but this way they can have a much easier time to planting evidence over time.

    Juries are forced to become suckers because a Judge orders them to before the start of every trial.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 3:25pm

    If the FBI does ever get such a backdoor, a public leak is actually of little concern compared to a mole. A public leak at least reveals the existence of the backdoor in question...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2016 @ 5:30pm

    FBI won't be able, nor do they want, to protect security and privacy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 6:37pm

    Endorsements must be public

    Oh they can keep a backdoor secret, at least for a while, because they want to keep that secret.

    They couldn't "keep" this investigation secret because it was their back-handed endorsement of Trump. Endorsements must be public.

    Well, how do you publicize a secret you're supposed to be keeping? You leak like a sieve, naturally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 7 Nov 2016 @ 6:39pm

    FBI, Federal Bureau of Incompetence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Luke N Innahead, 7 Nov 2016 @ 9:14pm

    The FBI

    They're worried about going dark? They should be worried about going DIM.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    guiwhiz (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 8:51am

    Yep pretty much hit the nail right on the head with this article. 'Don't worry about it just build in a backdoor and we'll only use it when we have a warrant.' ... ummm... sooo... it isn't you we worry about, you do get that right FBI, or IRS, or ANY government agency?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 8 Nov 2016 @ 2:27pm

    Lack of consequences lead to escalation of criminal action.

    I see a far more dire reality exposed by the actions of the federal spy agencies in leaking this information.

    To me, they are stating openly and blatantly, that should they some day find it expeditious, profitable, or simply want to cover their own or friends' crooked asses, they WILL expose or use the information they have collected about anyone and anything, in a self serving manner, regardless of the consequences to those involved.

    They are, without a doubt, willing and eager to use the private information of Americans, for personal gain, insurance against criminal prosecution and to generally prevent the public from making informed decisions by selectively releasing specific data to sway public opinion in the direction the federal administration deems acceptable.

    The placement of back-doors in telephones and other electronic communications equipment, will only increase this propensity by offering an additional, invisible means to gather secret information on Americans.

    If true American Justice was to be served, the entire USG would be looking for a new job tomorrow, (in a different country) and the members and administrators of its tri-letter spy agencies would be replacing marijuana smokers in US prisons.

    But, because of the way the fascists have reworked US laws, not only will none of the above be prosecuted for their crimes, but most will be promoted and praised for their efforts against "the Adversary" and the process itself, will escalate without pause.

    Heil Amerika!

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Coyne Tibbets (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 3:51pm

      Re: Lack of consequences lead to escalation of criminal action.

      What rock did you say you live under?

      They already leak or outright publish anything they find "expiditious, profitable, or ass-covering." Been doing that for years. As well as clamming up when publicity would not be "expiditious, profitable, or ass-covering."

      They're completely self-serving in that respect.

      So now ask yourself: what did they expect to gain with their back-handed endorsement of Trump? Because I guarantee: they expected to gain something.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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