With What Databases Has NCTC Cross-Referenced with FBI’s 12 Million iDevice User IDs?

Update, 6/13/13: For those coming to this via my Twitter link, subverzo reminded me that this turned out to be a false claim. The data came from an Apple developer, not from FBI. 

Sorry for the confusion.

As you may have heard, Anonymous and AntiSec hacked into a database of 12 million Apple Universal Device IDs that were in an FBI officer’s laptop and released 1 million of them, ostensibly so some people could identify if their device was one of those FBI was tracking.

They claimed to have tapped into a Dell laptop owned by Special Agent Christopher K. Stangl, an FBI cyber security expert. They downloaded several files, including one that contained “12,367,232 Apple iOS devices including Unique Device Identifiers (UDID)” and other personal information, they wrote in a text file published online. “[The] personal details fields referring to people appears many times empty leaving the whole list incompleted [sic] on many parts. no other file on the same folder makes mention about this list or its purpose.”

While it’s not immediately clear what the FBI is doing with the Apple UDIDs and detailed information on device owners, Gizmodo pointed out that the acronym “NCFTA” could stand for the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance, a nonprofit that acts as an information-sharing gateway between private industry and law enforcement.

These are unique identifiers for things like iPhones and iPads that have long presented the risk of tying someone’s identity to an individual device.

There are multiple ways FBI could have collected this information–either using an NSL or Section 215 request or an insecure transmissions to an ad or game server. And no one knows how the FBI was using it. Whatever you think about Anonymous, we may finally learn more about how the government is tracking geolocation.

But here’s one other concern. Assuming that’s an official FBI database, not only the FBI has it, but also the National Counterterrorism Center. And they’ve got access to whatever federal databases they want to cross-check with existing counterterrorism databases. And one of the few checks we have on the use of our data in this way is a Privacy Act SCOTUS just watered down.

This is a massive amount of data the government likely has no good excuse for having collected, much less used. But it’s likely just one tip of a very big iceberg.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @armandodkos You know I love you right?
1mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos Heh, Yes, I, of all people, am Mr. Beltway. Good one!
2mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos Attacking and scolding people that agree with you seems a poor use of time.
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos I dunno, I think fact I agree w/King decision+think it should prevail does that sufficiently. Just not belligerent enough for U
8mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Wonder if a futile suit against the President will lead Congress to do something about expansive immunity claims? Prolly not.
27mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @granick If they get handset ID because you're sitting next to me, is that CDR? Not traditionally, no. But it is included in permitted IDs.
40mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @granick We know they intend to use track burners. So if they're doing that analysis why would we believe they're not using location?
42mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @granick Not at all. They have to return to a CDR at each step. Says nothing about what they do to get there.
43mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @LemonSlayerUS I'm talking NGOs, not members of Congress.
44mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Fairly certain we've known for over 5 years Powell was not briefed on torture until September 16, 2002.
45mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Maybe I'm wrong and NSA doesn't intend to do contact chaining on location. But wouldn't it be smart to get something in writing first?
53mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Bunch of privacy NGOs just supported legislation w/o first getting promised assurances for ODNI it doesn't put NSA in our smartphones.
55mreplyretweetfavorite
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