Tuesday, March 6, 2012

‘Many More’ Like Anonymous, DOJ Official Says

By Steve Eder

As federal prosecutors on Tuesday unveiled criminal charges against a group of alleged criminal hackers, the U.S. Department of Justice official who oversees its computer crimes unit made it clear that there could be much more to come.

“There are many more like them,” said Jason Weinstein, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, referring to Anonymous and Lulz Security, splinter group.

Weinstein comments came Tuesday afternoon during a New York a forum on privacy and safety in the digital age sponsored by The Constitution Project, a non-profit organization.

Weinstein, who oversees the division’s computer crime and intellectual property programs, among others, spoke about the growing number of cyber-security threats and how the government needed to have the tools to go after criminals.

The panel was focused on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January in U.S. v. Jones that using a device to track a suspect’s car without a search warrant violated the law. FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissman said that ruling has caused a “sea change” inside the U.S. Justice Department, WSJ colleague Julia Angwin reported last month.

Also speaking on the panel, former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, a former U.S. Attorney and 2008 Libertarian party presidential nominee, chided Congress for not moving swiftly to address issues relating to how third parties handle people’s sensitive information — and how much access the government has to that information.

Barr called government’s intrusions into communication an “absurdity,” saying it makes “no sense” and that people are being “electronically whipsawed” by the government.

“If we are care about this issue of privacy, we are going to have to do something about it,” he said.

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