Thursday, July 25, 2013

So today the feds are *against* "illegal and fraudulent means to steal sensitive information online"?

Cybercrime is considered cutting-edge these days. As various writers noted in the wake of Aaron Swartz' suicide, likely one of the reasons the feds were pursuing him so aggressively over the MIT hacking case was that it is seen as a career-builder for federal prosecutors to successfully go after cybercrime. And, of course, "cyberwar" is also a hot topic nowadays, too.

Large banks have been relying heavily on computers since the 1950s, so cybercrime isn't something brand new. But as computers get better, platforms multiply and more and more people rely on them, potential opportunities for mischief and worse have increased exponentially.

Federal indictments came down today against against six people accused of major theft via cybercrime, as By E. Scott Reckard reports in Russian hackers charged in biggest cybercrime spree yet, feds say Los Angeles Times 07/25/2013. This quote from his story really sticks out.

"This type of crime is the cutting edge," Paul J. Fishman, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, said ijn [sic] a news release. "These types of frauds increase the costs of doing business for every American consumer, every day."

Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's criminal division, said: "Today's indictment will no doubt serve as a serious warning to those who would utilize illegal and fraudulent means to steal sensitive information online." [my emphasis]
The Obama Administration argues that the massive NSA surveillance is legal. But they've also blocked it from meaningful judicial review.

The government does need to be protecting us against significant fraud. It does not need to be sweeping up mind-boggling amounts of information in hopes they'll come up with some magical algorithm that will dig something useful out of the data.

And it makes statements like this sound like a joke. They had enough evidence to get an indictment. But the federal government isn't even trying to protect the rights of individual citizens from NSA excesses. And the massive amounts of data they are collecting will inevitably be used for various illegitimate purposes: political, public and private. They're amassing huge amounts of data that could be immensely valuable to a lot of people and businesses. There will be more breaches, and not all of them whistleblowers concerned about exposing wrongdoing. Some of them will be getting the information for wrongdoing not unlike the type these indictments are about.

Tags: , ,

No comments: