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Anonymous, Hackers, Citizens: Know Your Rights!

Jul 21, 20116 mins
CybercrimeData and Information SecurityHacking

In light of the FBI arrests trying to send a message to Anonymous hacktivists, do you know your rights? Follow the EFF's advise. You have rights under the Consitution, be it for online activity or offline real life. Don't talk to law enforcement . . .

After the FBI executed more than 35 search warrants and arrested 16 for “alleged roles in cyber attacks,” aka possibly members of Anonymous who launched DDoS or other hack attacks, I stumbled upon an interesting ASK Reddit thread which was supposedly posted by a parent of a 13-year-old who was a target of the FBI raid. “FBI raided my house with a search warrant today (20 agents, guns drawn) because they seem to believe my 13 year old son was an integral part of the ANON ddos attack on Paypal……

After talking to Rebecca Jeschke of the EFF, the “key” here for anyone who might encounter the police in terms of potentially being involved with Anonymous….Either print out or memorize the EFF’s Tips for Talking to the Police [PDF].

Do not consent to a search but do ask to see the warrant. If you agree to a search, they don’t need a warrant. You have a right to see a warrant and to make sure only the areas listed in the warrant are searched. You can stay silent as it’s not required that you say anything to help out the search. Do not hand over your encryption key or password voluntarily. Don’t lie though, it’s a crime, as is destroying evidence, physically interfering or otherwise obstructing a search. Talk to an attorney.

What might your lawyer say? Do not ever talk to the police or other law enforcement entity! This is a super long video, but watching it in full would be great wisdom since you might be a bit flustered if suddenly flooded by feds with guns drawn. If you don’t have a spare 49 minutes, then here’s a picture summing up your Constitutional rights. In regards to those rights, be polite to law enforcement, but be wise because if you say anything . . . it can come back to bite you hard. Let your attorney do the talking or advise you.

When I asked the EFF, “I thought a person is not the same thing as an IP?” Well . . . here’s what the EFF said, “The difference here has to do with two things: civil versus criminal, and accusation versus result.  For example, the Ars story has a judge refusing to enter a judgment (a final ruling) because the IP wasn’t identifiable enough (and the defendant did not appear in court to answer to the complaint).  In these cases, these folks have been arrested (not convicted) and it’s conceivable that one of their defenses might be that someone else was using the IP address or that the investigators got it wrong somehow.”

There was a Pastebin notice about getting legal assistance for those arrested thus far in the FBI raids of alleged Anonymous members. According to Barrett Brown, “The National Lawyer’s Guild has directed me to notify those arrested today in the U.S. that the organization is prepared to provide assistance.”

In an interview with NPR, Steven Chabinsky, deputy head of the FBI’s cyber division, said, “We want to send a message that chaos on the Internet is unacceptable. . . . The Internet has become so important to so many people that we have to ensure that the World Wide Web does not become the Wild Wild West.” Chabinsky added, “That’s where the ‘hacktivism,’ even if currently viewed by some as a nuisance, shows the potential to be destabilizing.”

Anonymous said in response to the FBI and law authorities internationally, “You can’t arrest an idea.” In addition, Anonymous said what the group finds unacceptable:

* Governments lying to their citizens and inducing fear and terror to keep them in control by dismantling their freedom piece by piece.

* Corporations aiding and conspiring with said governments while taking advantage at the same time by collecting billions of funds for federal contracts we all know they can’t fulfil.

* Lobby conglomerates who only follow their agenda to push the profits higher, while at the same time being deeply involved in governments around the world with the only goal to infiltrate and corrupt them enough so the status quo will never change.

Much like the hacktivism movement of the 90s, in which law enforcement did crack down, Anonymous said the attempt to “arrest an idea” will “make your citizens more angry until they will roar in one gigantic choir.” That hacktivism movement, according to the hacking collective Anonymous, is back and not going to disappear. “Expect us.”

All in all, 21 were arrested internationally on Tuesday. I cannot recommend strongly enough how much you must Know Your Rights!

The EFF is very well known for defending citizens and hackers, so shouldn’t you know your rights as advised by EFF? [PDF]

Q: What if the police have a search warrant to enter my home, but not to search my computer? Can they search it then?

A: No, typically, because a search warrant only allows the police to search the area or items described in the warrant. But if the warrant authorizes the police to search for evidence of a particular crime, and such evidence is likely to be found on your computer, some courts have allowed the police to search the computer without a warrant. Additionally, while the police are searching your home, if they observe something in plain view on the computer that is suspicious or incriminating, they may take it for further examination and can rely on their observations to later get a search warrant. And of course, if you consent, any search of your computer is permissible.

Q: Do I have to answer their questions while they are searching my home without a warrant?

A: No, you do not have to answer any questions. In fact, because anything you say can be used against you and other individuals, it is best to say nothing at all until you have a chance to talk to a lawyer. However, if you do decide to answer questions, be sure to tell the truth. It is a crime to lie to a police officer and you may find yourself in more trouble for lying to law enforcement than for whatever it was they wanted on your computer

If you think you already know your rights, then put it to the EFF test.

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  • FBI Arrests 14 Hackers, But Anonymous Still Sailing & ‘Seeking Shiny Booty’
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  • Former FBI Agent Turned ACLU Attorney: Feds Routinely Spy on Citizens
  • Did Harvard Researchers Breach Students’ Privacy?
  • In this digital age, what the heck happened to the Constitution?

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ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.