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FBI Battled Encryption 13 Years Ago in Investigation of Animal Welfare Group

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When the FBI was investigating an animal welfare group accused of sabotaging a company that tests drugs on animals in early 2003, agents hit began intercepting call and e-mails of the activists.

But agents couldn’t read the e-mail because of software.

The New York Times reports that the FBI persuaded a judge to let agents install a software to bypass encryption on the group’s computers.

“This was the first time that the Department of Justice had ever approved such an intercept of this type,” an F.B.I. agent wrote in a 2005 document summing up the case.

The encryption helped prosecutors convict six activists with conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act.

The case is a precursor to the battle with Apple of encryption.


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