[LINK] US govt used spyware on Megaupload??
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Fri Feb 3 19:43:19 AEDT 2012
Feds: We obtained MegaUpload conversations with search warrant
by <http://www.cnet.com/profile/sandonet/>Greg Sandoval and
<http://www.cnet.com/profile/declan00/>Declan McCullagh January 31,
2012 4:19 AM PST <http://www.twitter.com/sandoCNET>Follow @sandoCNET
One of the most curious aspects of the U.S. government's case against
MegaUpload is the large number of the company's internal
communications acquired by the FBI.
In one exchange, MegaUpload managers fretted via Skype IM chat in
2007 that founder Kim Dotcom wasn't "safe with his money" and "the
current situation is a bit risky," according to documents U.S.
authorities filed with a New Zealand court this month as part of
their criminal pursuit of the embattled cyberlocker service.
While it's still not clear how federal investigators gained access to
the conversations of founder
DotCom and other top managers, there are hints that the FBI managed
to place government-issued spyware on the defendants' computers.
cites alleged conversations between DotCom and his top lieutenants,
and Skype instant-messaging logs. Some of the records go back nearly
five years, to MegaUpload's earliest days as a cyberlocker
"IM history messages will be stored for a maximum of 30 days" and the
criminal investigation didn't begin until a
Sources told CNET yesterday that Skype, the Internet phone service
owned by Microsoft, was not asked by the feds to turn over
information and was not served with legal process.
The U.S. Department of Justice told CNET that it obtained a judge's
approval before securing the correspondence, which wouldn't have been
necessary in the case of an informant. "Electronic evidence was
obtained though search warrants, which are reviewed and approved by a
U.S. court," a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern
District of Virginia said.
In 2007, the FBI
approval to implant spyware called CIPAV on a suspect's computer,
which transmitted to government computers an ongoing log of the
user's outbound connections. Documents obtained by CNET through the
Freedom of Information Act in 2009
<http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10222294-38.html>show that CIPAV
has been used in investigations designed to nab extortionists,
database-deleting hackers, child molesters, and hitmen.
Skype saves chat records with contacts in a directory on the local
hard drive, which could be accessed by FBI-planted spyware.
It's not only the FBI that uses spyware to intercept communications.
Last fall, the Chaos Computer Club
that German police were using spyware that could activate the
suspect's microphone and webcam.
The MegaUpload indictment is unusually long and detailed, weighing in
at over 70 pages, and was drafted last year. U.S. officials filed
additional documents with the New Zealand court during DotCom's bail
hearing. DotCom (aka Kim Schmitz) wasn't arrested in New Zealand
January 19. Yesterday
users learned that their data would not be deleted for at least two weeks.
The feds allege that DotCom and six other MegaUpload employees
enabled millions of people to use the company's cyberlockers to store
pirated TV shows and films and then share them with each other
without compensating creators. The government accuses MegaUpload's
administrators of pocketing millions and has charged them with money
laundering, racketeering, and piracy.
Ira Rothken, MegaUpload's attorney, declined to comment yesterday
about how his client's internal documents were obtained by the
government, but said the government's "allegations are flimsy under the law."
On January 19, New Zealand police
the home of DotCom in a rural area outside of Auckland. The U.S.
government is seeking to extradite DotCom; a local judge
bail and an
hearing is scheduled for February 22.
[several related megaupload stories on this page
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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