by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

I am not going to cover the RESTRICT Act proposed legislation regarding TikTok, since just about everyone else in the alternative and right-wing corporate media seems to be covering that story, but I am going to highlight some of the many ways the U.S. Government already purchases data from Big Tech and spies on American citizens, illegally, without a warrant.

These articles are from the Cyber Vice topic, a great source of information on the darker side of Tech.

The DEA Bought Customer Data from Rogue Employees Instead of Getting a Warrant

For years the DEA has used paid informants inside airline, bus, and parcel companies to bypass needing to get a warrant. A pair of bipartisan Senators now want the DOJ to put an end to it.

by Joseph Cox
Vice.com

Excerpts:

For years, the DEA secretly paid workers inside U.S. agencies and companies for access to user data, rather than going to a court to obtain a search warrant for such data. That included paying sources inside the parcel industry to open and reroute packages; airline industry sources who provided flight itineraries, dates of birth, and seat numbers; and workers at private bus companies who provided daily lists of passengers who bought tickets in cash.

Paying moles inside companies allowed the DEA to passively monitor some services for potential targets without the friction of going through the courts, where such broad surveillance could be denied outright. In some cases, the DEA used the information to seize money or drugs from people. But buying the information in the first place may in some cases skirt Fourth Amendment protections.

Now, a pair of bipartisan lawmakers are pushing the Department of Justice to tighten policies around confidential human sources that would ban the practice entirely across the DOJ, including the DEA and FBI.

Read the full article.

Here is the FBI’s Contract to Buy Mass Internet Data

The FBI previously purchased access to “netflow” data, which a company called Team Cymru obtains from ISPs. Team Cymru then sells it to the government.

by Joseph Cox
Vice.com

Excerpts:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation paid tens of thousands of dollars on internet data, known as “netflow” data, collected in bulk by a private company, according to internal FBI documents obtained by Motherboard.

The documents provide more insight into the often overlooked trade of internet data. Motherboard has previously reported the U.S. Army’s and FBI’s purchase of such data. These new documents show the purchase was for the FBI’s Cyber Division, which investigates hackers in the worlds of cybercrime and national security.

“Commercially provided net flow information/data—2 months of service,” the internal document reads. Motherboard obtained the file through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the FBI.

Netflow data creates a picture of traffic volume and flow across a network. This can include which server communicated with another, information that is ordinarily only available to the owner of the server or to the internet service provider (ISP) carrying the traffic.

Team Cymru, the company ultimately selling this data to the FBI, obtains it from deals with ISPs by offering them threat intelligence in return. These deals are likely conducted without the informed consent of ISPs’ users.

Team Cymru explicitly markets its product’s capability of being able to track traffic through virtual private networks, and show which server traffic is originating from. Multiple sources previously told Motherboard that netflow data can be used to identify infrastructure used by hackers.

After Motherboard reported the U.S. Army and other purchases of Team Cymru data, the Tor Project, the organization behind the Tor anonymity network, said it was moving away from infrastructure that Team Cymru had donated. The Tor Project told Motherboard it expects that migration to be completed this Spring.

The FBI has bought other types of data from the commercial sector. Earlier this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed in a hearing that the FBI previously purchased American’s smartphone location data.

Read the full article at Vice.com.

Related:

You Are Being Watched! More Security Cameras Per Capita in the U.S. than in China: Silicon Valley Whistleblower

Comment on this article at HealthImpactNews.com.

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