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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/4/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Leak raises questions about FBI practices.

Hackers may have posted your Apple account information online, but it isn't the hackers you should be upset with. On Monday, "hacktivists" associated with AntiSec  posted 1 million identification numbers for Apple products. The numbers they say were taken from an FBI database containing some 12 million entries including full names, addresses and telephone numbers. 

An AntiSec logo. The group is known for targeting government agencies.

An AntiSec logo. The group is known for targeting government agencies.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/4/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: FBI, AntiSec, Anonymous, Apple, ID, security, hackitivism


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The question isn't how AntiSec obtained the data. The real question is why does the FBI have it in the first place; moreover, 12 million at that? There aren't even 12 million criminals roaming the streets with Apple devices in America, so FBI possession of the data raises some alarming questions. 

AntiSec said in a statement they chose to release the data because it would capture public attention. 

"Well, we have learnt it seems quite clear nobody pays attention if you just come and say 'Hey, FBI is using your device details and info and who the [expletive] knows what the hell are they experimenting with that," well sorry, but nobody will care," according to a post by an Anon on Pastebin. 

AntiSec, which is a consortium of anti-government computer hackers, are regarded by many in the online community as "hackavists." Hacktavists are hackers who use computers for activism, often by gaining illegal access to computers and databases. Despite their technically illegal activities, they see themselves as protecting freedom by releasing information about government practices that the public may not be aware of, but perhaps should be. 

AntiSec is one hacktavist group targeted by the government with the other, perhaps best known group, being Anonymous. Anonymous is not centralized, and has no formal leadership or structure. It is rather a handle claimed by hackers who occasionally coalesce around a single issue or operation, then disband once they're finished. This makes it nearly impossible for the government to counter their activities by targeting individuals. Paradoxically, every hacker, and no hacker may at the same time be part of Anonymous. 

The core of the issue which AntiSec seems to highlight, is that the government is collecting far more data on ordinary citizens than most would be comfortable with. While many of us go about our daily lives, the government continues to perform Orwellian machinations funded with your tax dollars. 
While it is understandable for the government to monitor or to seek further information about known criminals or those suspected of criminal activity, it is unclear why the FBI would compile a database of personal information focused on law-abiding citizens. 

The 12.4 million identification numbers and their associated information are only what AntiSec could find. How much more information on law-abiding citizens does the FBI have at their disposal, ready to be misused by the government or stolen by hackers who could use the information to commit crimes? How much is spent on illicit mass surveillance and data-mining operations that happen in secret without public knowledge? 

And above all, why would the FBI, trusted guardians of public safety and the law, do any of this in the first place?

Questions abound, and meanwhile at least a million people now need to worry that their information is not secured nor kept where it's supposed to be.

 

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