Hacker collective AntiSec has released a volume of data that it said it took from an FBI computer, in a move it hopes will make sure that people “pay attention” to alleged surveillance by FBI officers.
The data is over a million iPhone ID numbers, listed alongside user names, device names, phone numbers, addresses and notification tokens. AntiSec believe that this information was being held by the FBI in order to track iPhone users. The group did not publish all the information it claims to have, although it did say that there is enough for users to search for their own devices.
A statement published online contains the following explanation of how AntiSec gained the data from the FBI:
“During the second week of March 2012, a Dell Vostro notebook, used by Supervisor Special Agent Christopher K. Stangl from FBI Regional Cyber Action Team and New York FBI Office Evidence Response Team was breached using the AtomicReferenceArray vulnerability on Java.
During the shell session some files were downloaded from his Desktop folder one of them with the name of “NCFTA_iOS_devices_intel.csv” turned to be a list of 12,367,232 Apple iOS devices including Unique Device Identifiers (UDID), user names, name of device, type of device, Apple Push Notification Service tokens, zipcodes, cellphone numbers, addresses, etc. the personal details fields referring to people appears many times empty leaving the whole list incompleted on many parts. no other file on the same folder makes mention about this list or its purpose.”
This raises a couple of interesting points: why have the FBI got this data in the first place, and why aren’t they looking after it properly? The issue of law enforcement officers using mobile phone data as a means of tracking suspects and conducting surveillance has been raised recently, particularly after the conviction of Melvin Skinner.
Do you have an opinion on this? Let us know your thoughts about mobile phone data tracking and digital surveillance in general by leaving a comment below.