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Tag: Website

DEA Removes Misleading Information about Marijuana from Its Website

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has removed from its website information deemed inaccurate about marijuana following months of public pressure.

Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit dedicated to making cannabis legal, filed a legal request with the Justice Department last year in hopes of forcing the DEA to remove factually inaccurate information, the L.A. Daily Post reports. 

The nonprofit claimed there were more than 25 false statements on the DEA’s website, including inaccuracies about marijuana causing psychosis and irreversible cognitive declines.

“The DEA’s removal of these popular myths about cannabis from their website could mean the end of the Washington gridlock” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “This is a victory for medical cannabis patients across the nation, who rely on cannabis to treat serious illnesses. The federal government now admits that cannabis is not a gateway drug, and doesn’t cause long-term brain damage, or psychosis. While the fight to end stigma around cannabis is far from over, this is a big first step.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: FBI Went too Far Running a Child Porn Site

hacking By Editorial Board
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The FBI is supposed to protect children from predators, not use them as pawns in a pornography sting. That is what happened, however, and now the agency is under fire from civil rights groups, defense attorneys and even some scholars and federal judges. Not for the first time — remember when agents impersonated a journalist in pursuit of a teenager who was making bomb threats to a school? — the FBI has demonstrated embarrassingly poor judgment in an internet-based investigation.

For two weeks in 2015, after seizing control of a child porn website, the FBI not only allowed the site to remain operational but operated it, becoming what The Seattle Times called “one of the largest purveyors of child pornography on the internet.” The goal of Operation Pacifier was to identify those who used the site and file charges against them. By the time the FBI pulled the plug, it had the goods on nearly 190 people, thanks to special technology it used to hack into users’ computers.

When is distribution of child porn not a crime? According to the FBI, when it’s the one doing the distributing. Its operation of the site allowed visitors to access pornographic images, further exploiting the victims. It’s even been accused of improving the site’s functionality, making it friendlier for porn-seekers to use during the sting.

To read more click here. 

Federal Judge: FBI Improperly Seized Child Pornography Website

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI failed to obtain a proper warrant before hacking a child pornography website, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Judge William G. Young said evidence against at least one defendant must be suppressed, TechCrunch.com reports.

The FBI seized the child pornography site, Playpen, and continued to run it to get information on the users.

The public defender for one of the defendants in the case, Alex Levin, successful argued that the warrant wasn’t valid because it was issued by a magistrate judge in Virginia. Levin’s computer was at his home in Massachusetts.

“The court concludes that the NIT Warrant was issued without jurisdiction and thus was void,” Young wrote. “It follows that the resulting search was conducted as though there were no warrant at all.”

Young also expressed concerns about the FBI running a child pornography site.

“Unlike those undercover stings where the government buys contraband drugs to catch the dealers, here the government disseminated child obscenity to catch the purchasers — something akin to the government itself selling drugs to make the sting,” he wrote.

Judge: FBI Did Not Act ‘Outrageously’ by Taking Over Child Pornography Website

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI did not act “outrageously” by taking control of a child pornography website for 13 days in an attempt to capture people who were  using what authorities said was the largest site of its kind on the dark web, a judge has ruled, the International Business Times reports. 

A man who was charged with child pornography crimes argued the FBI overstepped its authority by taking over the site and using a tool to identify IP and MAC addresses of people who were logging into Playpen.

“We consider [the FBI’s running of the child porn site] outrageous, because even if there is a legitimate argument for doing that as an investigatory need, which is not true, judges need to be able to decide if it is appropriate. And, frankly, we believe it is appalling,” a lawyer for Colin Fieman said, Motherboard reports.

The attorney accused the FBI of “aiding and abetting the uploading and distribution of massive amounts of child pornography.”

Judge Robert J. Bryan disagreed.

“I am not shocked by this. I did not find it outrageous,” the judge said.

“We are dealing with actions by law enforcement that were necessitated by the actions of the offenders choosing to use, and in fact misuse, technology in order to hide their identity while they sought to exploit and abuse children online,”  Keith Becker from the Department of Justice Criminal Division, said.

Feds Bust Largest On-Line Male Escort Service, Arresting 7 Current, Former Employees

handcuffsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities busted what they called the largest online male-escort service and arrested seven people allegedly linked to the website Rentboy.com, The New York Times reports. 

Authorities arrested the site’s chief executive, Jeffrey Hurant, 50, and six current or former employees.

The defendants appeared in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Tuesday on charges of promoting prostitution.

The criminal complaint alleges that escorts listed their profiles with a list of sexual services and fees.

The site made $10 million in sales since 2010, according to the complaint.

Is Your Website at Risk of ISIS attack? FBI Warns About Vulnerabilities

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is warning that hackers claiming to be ISIS sympathizers are attacking websites with security vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins.

PC World reports that some of the plugins were providing an easy back door for some hackers to gain access and inject scripts or install malware.

The hackers targeted news organizations, religious institutions, government websites and businesses, PC World wrote. 

“Although the defacements demonstrate low-level hacking sophistication, they are disruptive and often costly in terms of lost business revenue and expenditures on technical services to repair infected computer systems,” the advisory said.

The hacking is particularly concerning because the perpetrators are voicing support for ISIS “to gain more notoriety than the underlying attack would have otherwise garnered,” the FBI said.

 

Did ISIS Supporters Hack U.S. Websites Over the Weekend? FBI Investigates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is investigating the hacking of several business websites in the U.S. that showed a black ISIS flag on the homepage.

NBC News reports that the home pages showed the words, “hacked by ISIS, we are everywhere,” with a link to a Facebook page that doesn’t exist. What appeared to be an Arabic song played in the background.

The targets included Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, owned by NASCAR star Tony Stewart, and a Goodwill center in St. Louis, among others.

“The FBI is aware of the reported incidents and is contacting the impacted parties,” the agency said.

But some suspect a hoax.

“There are no indications that the individuals behind these latest hacks have any real connection to ISIS, and these defacements have taken place amid a spate of recent attacks where ordinary hackers have cynically used far-fetched references to ISIS as a means of attracting media attention,” Evan Kohlmann of Flashpoint Intelligence, a global security firm and NBC News consultant, said.

Illegal Video Download Host Who Let Millions See Free Movies and TV Shows Pleads Guilty

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

In June of last year the feds shut down the website NinjaVideo.net, which let millions of viewers see copyright-protected movies and television programs in high-quality formats for free or for a nominal fee.

On Thursday,  one of the site’s founders, Hana A. Beshara of Las Vegas,  pleaded guilty in Alexandria, Va. to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement.  Sentencing is set for Jan. 6.

Beshara admitted the site collected more than $500,000 in overall proceeds over its two-and-a-half-year existence, and that she earned more than $200,000. Beshara agreed to forfeit assets seized by law enforcement in the June 2010 raid “including cash, an investment brokerage account, two bank accounts, a Paypal account and one Internet advertising account,” according to a Justice Department press release.

A press release from the Justice Department said:

“The NinjaVideo.net website allowed visitors to download infringing copies of hundreds of television shows and movies, including those still playing in theaters and some that had not yet been released in theaters. Website visitors could download much of the infringing content for free, but visitors who “donated” at least $25 obtained access to private forum boards that contained a wider range of infringing material.”