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In a world where governments are demanding exceptional (and unprecedented) access to systems under the guise of national security and the looming specter of terrorism, recent events have resurfaced the conflict between privacy and security. While some believe this to be a new battle of the Internet age, it’s just a continuation of the unending crypto war between technologists and law enforcement.
The FBI has used hacking methods never seen before in the history of law enforcement to bring down the owners and clients of the largest child pornography website found on the dark web to date.
A bulletin board website named Playpen that enabled users to sign up and then upload any images they liked was launched in August 2014 on the dark web, and according to court documents, the website's primary purpose was to advertise and distribute child pornography.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey told attendees of the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado that terrorists are discussing strategies for launching cyberattacks against the U.S.
Comey didn't specify the types of cyber assaults but said the planning appeared to be in its infancy. The director also noted that attacks of this nature are common among extremist groups that have trouble establishing themselves in the U.S.
“We are picking up signs of increasing interest,” Comey said. “It's a small but potentially growing problem.”
The FBI's updated Cyber Most Wanted List now includes 15 men (no women). The Bureau is still not offering monetary rewards for information leading to the arrests of five members of the People's Republic of China's People's Liberation Army who remain on the list. However, they are offering bounties for most others, which add up to over $4.3 million.
Six months ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation refused to release its plans to tackle privacy risks posed by drone surveillance. Now the agency claims it can’t track them down at all. So does the one Justice Department office responsible for making sure such reports get filed in the first place.