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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: FBI surreptitious black bag jobs circumvent encrypti

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Tue, 05 Dec 2000 17:17:57 -0500
To:             	politech@politechbot.com
From:           	Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject:        	FC: FBI surreptitious black bag jobs circumvent encryption products
Copies to:      	sobel@epic.org
Send reply to:  	declan@well.com

Here's an article I wrote about this possibility over a year ago:

>Another answer might lie in a little-noticed section of the
>legislation the White House has sent to Congress. It says that during
>civil cases or criminal prosecutions, the Feds can use decrypted
>evidence in court without revealing how they descrambled it.



Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 16:24:44 -0500
To: declan@well.com
From: David Sobel <sobel@epic.org>
Subject: FBI Break-in Targets Use of Encryption
Cc: politech@politechbot.com

As many of us have long predicted, it is now a matter of record
that the FBI can, and does, conduct surreptitious entries
to counter the use of encryption.

The FBI application is at:


The court order is at:




A federal gambling case against the son of jailed mob boss
Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo could instead be the first legal
test of cutting-edge cyber-surveillance technology that some
critics of federal investigations say borders on Big Brotherism.

Court records in the pending case indicate that Nicodemo S.
Scarfo, 35, was the target of a sophisticated surveillance tool
- a so-called keystroke-logging device - that allowed the FBI to
reproduce every stroke he entered on a computer on which
gambling records allegedly were stored.

Scarfo subsequently was charged with supervising a mob-linked
bookmaking and loan-sharking operation in North Jersey.

Questions about the FBI's spying methods in the Scarfo
investigation surface at a time when defense lawyers and civil
libertarians have begun to ask how far federal authorities
should be permitted to go with electronic surveillance. Critics
say that technology is evolving faster than the laws governing
privacy rights and that federal investigators, emboldened by the
capabilities of their cyber-tools, frequently disregard
constitutional guarantees.

. . .

The FBI would not comment. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald D.
Wigler, the prosecutor in the case, said only that he expected
the FBI's surveillance methods would be challenged in a pretrial
defense motion and that arguments could establish new case law.

"I can't talk about any of it," he said, "but I think it's
correct to say this is [a] cutting-edge [legal issue]."

. . .

[Scarfo's lawyer] would not discuss what his client was storing
on the encrypted program but said Scarfo was using software known as

"It stands for Pretty Good Privacy," the lawyer said with a

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