AN0M
June 7, 2021 9:52 PM   Subscribe

 
GPG is just too hard to onboard a bunch of novices onto. And it's not like they could afford iPhones for everyone.
posted by floam at 10:48 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


*low whistle*
posted by praemunire at 10:49 PM on June 7


This story is barely believable, and seems to bare the hallmarks of being workshopped intensely by the police PR. So, you’re telling me that the crime-fighting forces of Australia - and the FBI, who have no jurisdictional value in Australia - had a messaging app? And that they gave the app to one criminal and then he convinced thousands of his best mates - who were also criminals - to chat about straight up murdering people, amongst other crimes? And also, why is this so similar to last years chat app crime story, encrochat?

I’m sure some parts of this story are true. But I’m not sure that these websites, or this presentation of events, cover the story in a way that is worthy of record.
posted by The River Ivel at 10:59 PM on June 7 [18 favorites]


Interesting Twitter thread. This would appear to have big implications in the US.

Here in New Zealand, it's resulted in a number of big arrests today, with seizure of drugs. Also notable that there is a chapter of the Mongrel Mob (Mongrel Mob Kingdom in Waikato) who have been making a lot of noise recently about cleaning up and going straight. NZ Police have expressed skepticism about this, and today arrested people they claim are senior Mongrel Mob Kingdom members. If so, one would expect to see the receipts in court sooner or later.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:17 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Also I am not surprised that organised crime fell for this. They can't compete with legit industry to pay the kind of people who really would give them good advice and safe infrastructure, and by nature, are risk takers.

I would expect the similarity to encrochat to be based in the fact that cops read the news too, and beyond that co-operate internationally...

It'll all come out in court in due course. Can't wait.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:20 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


please please don't link to eric garland - he's an attention-seeking maniac
posted by awfurby at 11:22 PM on June 7 [20 favorites]




I am not surprised that organised crime fell for this.

Me either. I've seen no evidence that organized criminals are any less susceptible than any other kind of management to falling for the fairy tale that security is a product you can buy rather than an attitude you need to learn.
posted by flabdablet at 11:24 PM on June 7 [38 favorites]


I would have thought that having a mistrustful nature was essential to criminal success. My friends consider me to be a naive and gullible fellow, but I reckon I'd be a bit cautious if someone came to me and said, mate, I have here a magic device that you can't possibly understand, that will safely relay all your wicked criming news to your criminal buddies and (because it's magic) will protect those conversations from being intercepted by police. I definitely wouldn't be all KILLING MISS SCARLET NOW IN THE CONSERVATORY WITH THE LEAD PIPE or whatever.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:50 PM on June 7 [11 favorites]


Is it typical for an Australian PM (or maybe just Morrison) to make an announcement like this? The operation may indeed turn out to be a 'heavy blow' against organized crime, but is it so significant for Australia that a head of government should break the news?
posted by theory at 12:19 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


This whole story is like a film.

This Twitter thread by Seamus Hughes (hopefully not as bad as Eric Garland, but happy to be corrected) suggests that over 90 countries were involved. This wasn't the FBI operating alone.

Im interested in how it started use and gained popularity- it sounds like an informant seeded it in a few large operations, and from there it was able to spread because it was already being used.
posted by Braeburn at 12:22 AM on June 8


Is it typical for an Australian PM (or maybe just Morrison) to make an announcement like this?

Making announcements is pretty much Morrison's entire skill set.
posted by flabdablet at 12:44 AM on June 8 [41 favorites]


I would have thought that having a mistrustful nature was essential to criminal success

Having a mistrustful nature and understanding how to evaluate security threats correctly are not the same thing.

Is/was An0m open source? Doubt it. Was anybody involved in this criminal conspiracy technically capable of evaluating the strength of An0m's security guarantees? Highly unlikely. Did everybody involved in this criminal conspiracy understand much more about comms security than Burner Phones Good, Personal Phones Bad? No way. Was this criminal conspiracy organized as independent cells with careful comms isolation? Apparently not.

What it all comes down to is that securing a criminal conspiracy against infiltration by state-level actors is hard and the bigger the conspiracy the harder it gets. World's best practice, if you want to do this, is be a state-level actor or at the very least a large-scale business that captures the regulators rather than straight-up defying them.

It would be rather delicious to learn that An0m has been in use inside Trump Org. Hope springs eternal...
posted by flabdablet at 12:56 AM on June 8 [13 favorites]


If I understand AU politics correctly, tough on crime is a go-to for the conservative side of politics, and currently a winner, so no Liberal PM would miss an opportunity to be declare that it's SUPER serious but also here's an AWESOME success in fighting it vote for meeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:57 AM on June 8 [6 favorites]


Braeburn: I would give good odds that the 3rd country referred to is New Zealand. While this was a police rather than an intelligence agency operation, the Five Eyes supposedly operate in exactly this way.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:00 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


This story is barely believable, and seems to bare the hallmarks of being workshopped intensely by the police PR. So, you’re telling me that the crime-fighting forces of Australia - and the FBI, who have no jurisdictional value in Australia - had a messaging app?

It sounds like the FBI had an app, slipped it to a target who didn’t know what it was, but was looking for an option after the FBI closed other apps which they were using. Next thing the FBI it was all over the world and instead of freaking out let other countries it could trust in on it.

It’s not the first time this happened, they setup a fake bank In the 90’s to catch one criminal and wound up catching all sorts of other criminals because well, they’re not the smartest lot overall and talk to each other a lot.
posted by jmauro at 1:23 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]


Several bits in the ABC story seem off in odd ways that make it sound like some law enforcement PR is being accepted at face value from their press releases. For instance: "Police said the plan to use an encrypted app was hatched overseas over a few beers with FBI agents in 2018, before police figured out how to decrypt all messages."

What does that last mean? If it's referring to the app itself, you'd think they'd have built in the backdoor from the get-go. If the statement is somehow implying that Australian police have the magic universal decryption chip from the movie Sneakers, that's another thing entirely.

The SMH story has this bit, though:

"Australia’s contribution to the operation was enabled by the powerful TOLA Act introduced by the government in 2018, which targeted encrypted communications."

Which makes it sound a lot less like the Australians had some secret technical capability and more like fewer checks against law enforcement surveillance. Maybe they figured under TOLA they could just read everything from anyone using the app ("look, it was distributed through 'criminal influencers,' so we can assume anyone using it should be under reasonable suspicion") without filing individual warrants. From the ABC story: "Half of the criminal activity detected on the app was in New South Wales." That seems weird, given how much they hype up the global nature of the criminal networks, and considering this apparently began as an FBI thing. So either it was just because they began with an Australian "influencer," or maybe the Australians went hog wild with arrests, or some combination of those plus exaggeration of the international nature of the crime networks.

Or maybe TOLA had nothing to do with it, and Australian authorities just want to keep up the pressure on how TOLA is totally awesome and necessary, and how only criminals use encrypted communications. Note the way that Kershaw in this story says, "So we identified around about 1,600 to 1,700, which is a decent figure. It's only 5 per cent, though, of the encrypted comms used in this country. And then about 9,000 globally." The implication being that, "Hey, look at all these bad guys we caught with only access to 5% of encrypted communications Just think ff how many mass shootings we could stop if we could read all of your Signal and Whatsapp and Telegram messages." Which is not how statistics or communications or crime distribution works, but surveillance state gonna surveillance state.

And just another oddity:

"The sting, known as Operation Ironside, has allegedly exposed criminals linked to South American drug cartels, Asian Triads and Middle Eastern and European criminal syndicates."

Ah, good to know that it's not just an international operation, but that it's deployed against cinematic gangster stereotypes. No breakdown on numbers, or membership/affiliation, just "linked to." I'm sure I'm "linked to" Kevin Bacon.
posted by pykrete jungle at 2:25 AM on June 8 [27 favorites]


Thanks i_am_joe's_spleen, I'll look more at that!

I totally agree that this reads like breathless repetition of police public statements, rather than genuine reporting.
posted by Braeburn at 2:27 AM on June 8


Joseph Cox has a story on this on Motherboard that looks a lot more grounded.
posted by pykrete jungle at 2:31 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


I tend to think the phraseology is more about the poor IT literacy of police spox and journalists rather than deliberate obfuscation.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:38 AM on June 8 [8 favorites]


For the nth time, for political party affiliation "Liberal" in AUS ≠ Liberal in the USA sense of the word.
Liberal=right wing main party, Labor = left wing major party.
posted by lalochezia at 3:06 AM on June 8 [12 favorites]


Dutch police catch 49 criminals with An0m. Also, 25 drus laboratories were dismantled and 2.3 million euros were seized.
posted by Pendragon at 3:42 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


maybe TOLA had nothing to do with it, and Australian authorities just want to keep up the pressure on how TOLA is totally awesome and necessary, and how only criminals use encrypted communications

That's pretty much exactly how I'm interpreting the current reportage. The Pi Equals Three style idiocy that started with Malcolm Turnbull's declaration that the laws of Australia override the laws of mathematics is now the Party line.
posted by flabdablet at 3:44 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Is it typical for an Australian PM (or maybe just Morrison) to make an announcement like this?

No, he’s just a piece of shit trying to distract from his utter mishandling of the COVID vaccine rollout, the climate change denial of his government, and rolling corruption scandals.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:11 AM on June 8 [19 favorites]


I would have thought that having a mistrustful nature was essential to criminal success.

Risk/reward, the nature of any business. Nobody bats a thousand. Related to this, see Code of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate.

It would be rather delicious to learn that An0m has been in use inside Trump Org.

I'm beginning to think we need an update of Godwin's Law.
posted by BWA at 4:33 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]


Like anyone, there are smart criminals, and stupid criminals.
The stupid ones break laws; the smart ones make them.

The point is, these were not very smart guys to begin with.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:38 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


I hear they are also superstitious and cowardly.
posted by thelonius at 4:47 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


thelonius: "I hear they are also superstitious and cowardly."

A-and they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddlin' feds!
posted by chavenet at 4:56 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


While Hakan Ayik gets what he gets now - and either needs to hand himself in or go into some fairly serious hiding for the rest of his life (way more than he’s being doing) - that’s quite a bullseye the authorities have gone to quite an effort to place on his family and his (apparently) two very young children. Having half the global criminal underworld pissed at your idiot father I can’t imagine going well for the kids.

I hope him or Fleur have the means/opportunity/sense to get the children as far away from them as possible, if they aren’t doing some sort of grand protective custody deal already.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:11 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


> GPG is just too hard to onboard a bunch of novices onto.

> "[The go-between] introduced Anom to his already trusted distributors of mobile devices, who were in turn trusted by criminal organizations...."

It sounds to me like they at least grasped the "web of trust" concept.
posted by at by at 6:39 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Uh, has everyone forgotten about EncroChat? It's not even slightly surprising that large criminal networks would fall victim to this kind of ploy.
posted by aramaic at 7:01 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


^^ That's the story I was looking for. I knew this had happened before, recently.
posted by emelenjr at 8:14 AM on June 8


We were discussing this in chat. A similar Canadian venture (running on the BlackBerry network, natch) was busted in March.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 9:04 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


"Also I am not surprised that organised crime fell for this. They can't compete with legit industry to pay the kind of people who really would give them good advice and safe infrastructure. . . ."


Stupid question maybe, but is there some reason they couldn't just use Signal?
posted by mikeand1 at 9:35 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why you'd give organized crime valuable advice like that for free.

Snark aside, there is nothing in Signal or any other robust e2ee app that makes comms conducted with them invulnerable to endpoint compromises, which are the standard approach that State security services have been developing and deploying since the release of PGP first made military-grade transport encryption available to everybody. Defending against endpoint compromises requires exactly the kind of best-practice-driven security that large conspiracies, especially hierarchically organized large conspiracies, will always have trouble keeping watertight.
posted by flabdablet at 10:29 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


>...just use Signal?
There's enough suspicion of Signal Inc's app because it's the only thing that talks to Signal's servers and the app team took US gov't money to build a freedom-supporting tool.

But also, given the source is free-as-in-liberty GPLv3 code, they could have claimed this is Signal encryption on a run-your-own-instance service, and it's still backdoored.
posted by k3ninho at 10:34 AM on June 8


There’s a write-up of this in the guardian that gives a few more details - the fbi has this because of a plea deal with a major backer of the An0m system, Australia was the area where they tested it first. I see why the guardian site is so big in Australia; those original links are very poor copy, almost copy pasted press release
posted by The River Ivel at 10:35 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


There's enough suspicion of Signal Inc's app because it's the only thing that talks to Signal's servers and the app team took US gov't money to build a freedom-supporting tool.

And this is a really good example of the kind of correct and widely ballyhooed but irrelevant assertion most likely to mislead somebody who mistakes their own posture of general distrust for an ability to evaluate a threat model and a selection of proposed defences correctly.

If your fundamental belief is that there is no way They would ever allow an encrypted comms platform that actually does what it claims to do to be widely available to the general public, then of course you're going to pick the "complete solution" with the Full Security Theatre invitation-only website and the recommendation from a mate.

Quite tremendous amounts of law enforcement relies heavily on criminals being criminally dense, which works quite well because so many are.
posted by flabdablet at 10:59 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


"There's enough suspicion of Signal Inc's app because it's the only thing that talks to Signal's servers and the app team took US gov't money to build a freedom-supporting tool."


Another stupid question, but isn't Signal code open source, and doesn't that mean you'd know if it was compromised?
posted by mikeand1 at 11:06 AM on June 8


mikeand1, that's what I meant about "it's the only thing that talks to Signal's [own] servers." You can't make your own app that will also talk to Signal's servers. So it's extra difficult to replicate and verify its encryption or that the source code they provide us actually what's in their app.

I may be wrong but this is the current state of play as I understand it.
posted by k3ninho at 11:11 AM on June 8


k3ninho: You can't make your own app that will also talk to Signal's servers.

Well, you can try, but it's super hard and the handful of devs working on this are having a beast of a time trying to keep up with all the fast changes to the official Signal app.
Which makes me a sad panda 😢🐼, because there is no official Signal app for my phone OS.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:48 AM on June 8


it's extra difficult to replicate and verify its encryption or that the source code they provide is actually what's in their app

The last part isn't terribly difficult and that makes the first part not terribly difficult either.
posted by flabdablet at 11:49 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


there is no official Signal app for my phone OS

The Linux client for Keybase will probably run on it though.
posted by flabdablet at 11:51 AM on June 8


Thank you, but desktop Linux apps don't run on Ubuntu Touch, using Keybase won't let me join Signal groups, and it's also owned by Zoom. I don't think that's a solution for me.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:02 PM on June 8


desktop Linux apps don't run on Ubuntu Touch

Did not know that. How disappointing.
posted by flabdablet at 12:23 PM on June 8


using Keybase won't let me join Signal groups

True. It's a competing protocol, not an interoperable replacement. I prefer it to Signal because its excellent multi-device sync and stronger partner identity guarantees suit my personal use cases better and I like not having my messenger identity inherently linked with my phone number.

it's also owned by Zoom

Yeah. My heart sank a bit too when that acquisition happened, but on reflection I can't see it making any actual privacy difference unless the Keybase endpoints stop being in charge of key generation and storage, which is a change to the open source client code that I think would probably be picked up fairly quickly.
posted by flabdablet at 12:34 PM on June 8


From the article: "The app, which was installed on a specially modified Google Pixel phone."

Seems like a rare occurance where Hollywood is somewhat realistic: apparently Apple doesn't like movie villains using iPhones.

I'm curious if this will lead to more iPhones used by criminal syndicates.
posted by mundo at 1:28 PM on June 8


ACAB but this would make a fairly compelling season of The Wire.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:28 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


So, all the reports saying that police "hacked" the phones are false. I'm not going to call them lies, because it's possible the reporters or their sources are simply stupid and not, e.g., attempting to deceive people who might otherwise retaliate against the people who distributed the phones. But if so, the reporters never asked who hacked them, or when, or how, so I don't think they can be very good at their jobs.

And the program reportedly wasn't something the AFP or the FBI "came up with after a few beers", but was the result of an offer extended by someone facing criminal charges. And, contra the Australian PM, it wasn't used in Australia because our police are "the best in the world", but because funneling the program through an off-shore location let American officials avoid legal scrutiny over possible breaches of their own citizens' rights – rights that we Australians do not possess. It's convenient that Australian laws were rewritten to accommodate the dominant partner in this relationship; I wonder how this was put to the MPs who voted to support the legislation.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:51 PM on June 8 [17 favorites]


I wonder how this was put to the MPs who voted to support the legislation.

'Let the cops do whatever they want because crime' has never been a hard sell in Australia.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:01 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


As always with these things, it's way more fun to just read the FBI complaint instead of all the reporting by people who read the FBI complaint. Here's an affidavit used for a search warrant.

There's a bit of setup in describing a previous encrypted chat app called Phantom Secure being shut down by law enforcement in 2018. Ramos, the head of Phantom Secure pled guilty and went to jail. Then:
After Ramos was arrested, San Diego FBI agents recruited a Confidential Human Source (“CHS”) who had been developing the “next generation” encrypted communications product, poised to compete for market share against established hardened encrypted device competitors. At the time, the void created by Phantom Secure’s dismantlement provided a new opportunity for criminal users to switch to a new, secure brand of device. The CHS previously distributed both Phantom Secure and Sky Global4 devices to TCOs and had invested a substantial amount of money into the development of a new hardened encrypted device. The CHS offered this next generation device, named “Anom,” to the FBI to use in ongoing and new investigations. The CHS also agreed to offer to distribute Anom devices to some of the CHS’s existing network of distributors of encrypted communications devices, all of whom have direct links to TCOs. Because encrypted communications devices exist to eschew law enforcement, the distribution of these devices is predicated on trust. This shadowy distribution system is designed, in part, to impede law enforcement’s ability to obtain the content from these devices. To prevent law enforcement from obtaining devices, the Phantom Secure investigation revealed that oftentimes, a distributor must vet would-be purchasers of these devices. This vetting process comes from either a personal relationship or reputational access with a purchaser premised on prior/current criminal dealings. By introducing Anom to the CHS’s trusted distributors, who were likewise trusted by criminal organizations, the FBI aimed to grow the use of Anom organically through these networks.
Now, I'm not really versed in these things so I assume that the CHS "offered" to distribute the new devices they were building less out of the goodness of their own heart and more b/c they had been caught dirty by the FBI in working on Phantom Secure. But the story makes sense. They got someone who had been part of multiple iterations of "secure messaging for Transnational Criminal Organizations" to flip and so they were on the inside from the beginning for version 3.

The same thing happened with Silk Road 2.0 (which was also a great FBI-read) an undercover agent had slowly gotten into the chats of the people who built Silk Road 1.0, and so when that got shut down and they started 2.0 the agent was there from day one.
posted by macrael at 4:10 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


> Because encrypted communications devices exist to eschew law enforcement...

Wow, the second half of that paragraph takes a hard turn, doesn't it.
posted by at by at 4:43 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


'Let the cops do whatever they want because crime' has never been a hard sell in Australia.

"We're a nation of crooks!"
"That means you're a crook as well."
"No."
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:23 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


To prevent law enforcement from obtaining devices, the Phantom Secure investigation revealed that oftentimes, a distributor must vet would-be purchasers of these devices. This vetting process comes from either a personal relationship or reputational access with a purchaser premised on prior/current criminal dealings.
What that says to me is, the distributor records the purchasers' details and, you have to assume that they're going to cough them up if the police lean on them . I'm sure that something clever could be done (*) to de-identify owners while still allowing them to certify purchasers but I bet the distributor just kept a simple list of purchasers and their phone numbers.

(*) Using blockchains!
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:25 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, at by, you are pointing out something that only tickled my brain in the preceding paragraph:
Because hardened encrypted devices provide an impenetrable shield against law enforcement surveillance and detection, it is a service in high demand by TCOs. Encrypted communications service providers other than Phantom Secure exist in the market and continue to thrive. Based on my training and experience, I am aware that the continued demand for these encrypted device platforms by criminals is significant. It is primarily driven by the requirements for organized crime, and especially TCOs, to have a trusted method of communications they regard as secure and immune from law enforcement surveillance and interception techniques. TCOs are the target market for this technology because the entire success of their illicit activity is premised on avoiding law enforcement detection. Drug trafficking in particular relies on international, real time coordination by multiple actors. The huge illicit profits in the international drug trade mean they are both willing and able to pay $2000 for a device which has a singular function— sending secure, encrypted messages—in a closed-loop environment. The Phantom Secure investigation showed that hardened encrypted devices are not known to be used by privacy- minded individuals because of the devices’ limited functionality and the high cost of a single device.
To my ear it was an attempt to differentiate between these kinds of devices (phones sold with software that only lets them communicate with other people who bought matching phones) and stuff like Signal which presumably is "known to be used by privacy-minded individuals"
posted by macrael at 5:26 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


They do a lot of tap dancing to avoid saying that the "confidential human source" (CHS) is the former CEO of Phantom Secure, Vincent Ramos. Maybe it isn't! But he was arrested at the same time as the CHS, and reportedly gave up his assets as part of a deal, which surely would have included the plans for any new phone.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:37 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


To my ear it was an attempt to differentiate between these kinds of devices (phones sold with software that only lets them communicate with other people who bought matching phones) and stuff like Signal which presumably is "known to be used by privacy-minded individuals"

The Australian government has repeatedly claimed that encryption is only used by criminals. They're shouting that louder post-ANOM:

“ACIC observation shows there is no legitimate reason for a law-abiding member of the community to own or use an encrypted communications platform.”


Make no mistake, the cops involved may be competent, but the decision makers are idiots. The fact that this sting was successful is a tribute to the immense amount of managing up that must have been done by operational staff.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:41 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


the decision makers are idiots
Particularly considering the notorious Whatsapp and Signal chats MPs use to background against each other to journalists...
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:47 PM on June 8


His thoughts, yeah that seems like a likely intentionally misleading game of telephone. When pressed they ACIC said they were talking about platforms "such as SkyECC, Encrochat and Phantom Secure" but what they said was "no encryption of any kind". And I'm sure whatever laws they are pursuing will make little distinction between those seemingly shady phones and stuff like Signal.
posted by macrael at 5:49 PM on June 8


And I'm sure whatever laws they are pursuing will make little distinction between those seemingly shady phones and stuff like Signal.

Its a certainly. They've been trying to legislate for backdoors to encrypted communications for years.

For example, when informed that 'secure backdoors' are not a thing, that breaking encryption for LEOs would just break the encryption because that is how maths works, the them PM Malcolm Turnbull proclaimed “The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia”. That was about things like Whatsapp and imessage.

And he was the smart Liberal PM.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:23 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


I’m doubtful that the CHS is Ramos if only because it would have been a terrible idea for him to talk to Vice for this article about Phantom Secure from last year, but the criminals who get caught are never the ones making the smartest decisions.
posted by kyleg at 6:41 PM on June 8


“ACIC observation shows there is no legitimate reason for a law-abiding member of the community to own or use an encrypted communications platform.”

Re-he-he-aallly!. So we're going to outlaw SSL/TLS connections with say your bank/broker/bookie/madam? What could possibly go wrong?

Wow, the second half of that paragraph takes a hard turn, doesn't it.

It's a long standing theory of mine that one's employment, especially in the long term or in professions that tend to burn out mold your outlook. So Computer Tech Support people start thinking everyone is an idiot, Cops start thinking everyone is a criminal or victim, residential service electricians start thinking every homeowner is a hack, bouncers that everyone is a drunk, Rock stars that everyone wants to sleep with them, Plumbers that everyone flushes tampons/wet wipes, etc. Whatever you do it's important not to fall into these ruts and this is a pretty good example of why.
posted by Mitheral at 6:45 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]




The other shoe dropping in Australia...

Sigh. I am a Cassandra, howling prophecies into the uncaring void from the walls of Troy.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:00 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


So, you’re telling me that the crime-fighting forces of Australia - and the FBI, who have no jurisdictional value in Australia...
posted by The River Ivel


Don't need it. Australian governments pretty much do whatever the US government 'requests' of them.

Quite tremendous amounts of law enforcement relies heavily on criminals being criminally dense, which works quite well because so many are.
posted by flabdablet


Had a friend who was a prison officer, then a policeman. His view was that most criminals (who get caught) are either mentally ill, or just plain stupid.

For example, when informed that 'secure backdoors' are not a thing, that breaking encryption for LEOs would just break the encryption because that is how maths works, the them PM Malcolm Turnbull proclaimed “The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia”. That was about things like Whatsapp and imessage.

And he was the smart Liberal PM.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts


For unfamiliar with Aussie politics, that is no exaggeration.
posted by Pouteria at 10:45 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


They do a lot of tap dancing to avoid saying that the "confidential human source" (CHS) is the former CEO of Phantom Secure, Vincent Ramos.

I mean, as well they should! If you think Ayik is a dead man--!
posted by praemunire at 1:14 PM on June 9


Its a certainly.

Eh. Like, I don't see bipartisan support for that let alone Silicon Valley or business interests in general actually rolling along with any controls on consumer encryption. The ship sailed long ago. You realize we're all het up about cyberattacks and stuff right? Who cares if the FBI is still saying that dumb shit?
posted by floam at 1:24 PM on June 9


Sorry! Just realized that part of the discussion was not about my country, but .au. I suppose they censor/ban all kinds of stuff. Guess it's plausible. My bad.
posted by floam at 1:30 PM on June 9


I am a Cassandra, howling prophecies into the uncaring void from the walls of Troy

Yeah, nah. More a member of the self-preaching choir, tbh.

The uncaring void that matters is the one between the ears of Morrison, Dutton, Abetz et al.

Turnbull is the smartest ex Lib PM, and I'm sure he understands perfectly well how encryption works and what it's good for; his uncaring void is the one where his principles should be.
posted by flabdablet at 5:44 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Funny, my first reaction when I heard this was 'well this should put a damper on folks in the US who think pot will ever be legal'.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:42 PM on June 9


not about my country, but .au

Don't sweat it. The dominant faction of the day in AU politics is, for the most part, always doing its its best to make us a wholly owned subsidiary of the US. The single exception that I can recall is the short-lived Whitlam Government between 1972 and 1975.
posted by flabdablet at 10:11 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


>Is it typical for an Australian PM (or maybe just Morrison) to make an announcement like this?

No, he’s just a piece of shit trying to distract from his utter mishandling of the COVID vaccine rollout, the climate change denial of his government, and rolling corruption scandals.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts


Correct.

From the story linked by awfurby:

“We have a law in the parliament at the moment which does not have bipartisan support, which we need support for, to give them powers to do that.

“The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) bill … [is] cross-border access to electronic data, enhancing the effectiveness of Australian investigations and protection of prosecutions of serious crimes, including serious terrorism offences. That bill is there. That does not have bipartisan support and we need it passed.

“And the third one is the Transport Security Amendment of [the] Serious Crime Bill. That is the bill that is needed to stop organised criminals getting access to our wharves and to our airports … and it still continues to be opposed by Labor.”


If you always assume Morrison is lying tyrannical piece of shit whose only tactic is brutal gutter-level partisan savagery, you will rarely go wrong. Even his own party are not happy with him on this one.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/morrison-uses-international-crime-bust-to-target-labor-but-misfires-20210610-p5800e.html
posted by Pouteria at 7:36 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


If you always assume Morrison is lying tyrannical piece of shit

I don't ever assume that.

I prefer to think of Morrison as a lying tyrannical sack of shit.
posted by flabdablet at 9:17 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Like many Australians, I first became aware of Morrison as Tony Abbott's ruthless, headkicking Immigration Minister: robotic parroter of "we don't discuss on-water matters" and in charge of making life as miserable as possible for asylum seekers arriving by boat. Then as Abbott's ruthless, headkicking Social Services Minister, in charge of making life as miserable as possible for anybody unfortunate enough to need to deal with Centrelink and never missing an opportunity to suggest that all welfare recipients are bludgers and "leaners", a term he nicked from the gormless Hockey.

And on the strength of this Hard Man image, Turnbull made him Treasurer, putting him in charge of making life as miserable as possible for everybody while pulling pro-coal stunts in Parliament.

He has always done whatever it took to assure the rise and rise of Scott Morrison and fuck over anybody who gets in his way.

Watching him re-invent himself as Kind Daggy Suburban Christian Sports Dad during his run for PM and especially watching the entire Press Gallery get behind that ridiculous fucking charade and run with it was never anything but stomach-churning ("How Scott Morrison is re-inventing himself" - euuurgh!) and nothing he's done since has reduced the nausea one iota.

Morrison is an intolerable glad-handing know-nothing self-serving greasy-pole-climbing climate-change-denying gutless hypocritical toadie. He's a living breathing exemplar of everything that has ever been wrong with the advertising industry from which he oozed. I loathe him, can't wait to see the back of him, and heartily endorse Eamon Sandwith's wish that his fucking house burns down.
posted by flabdablet at 9:59 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


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