Congressman sees alleged hacker attack on FBI as chance to push new law

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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On Tuesday, following allegations by Anonymous-affiliate group AntiSec that the FBI was tracking the mobile devices of Apple users, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey pushed a new law-enforcement disclosure law.

AntiSec — which derives its name from the hacker movement opposed to the computer security industry — said that it had obtained an FBI laptop that contained 12 million Apple users’ unique device identifiers (UDIDs) in March.

UDIDs allow software developers special access to personal information associated with a particular digital device. AntiSec said that it released 1 million of those UDIDs on Tuesday, which affects Apple users who own iPhones and iPads.

The FBI, however, roundly denied that there was any “evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.”

Markey led an investigation prior to the August congressional recess that revealed that information requests made by law enforcement agencies in 2011 — included text messages, geolocation data and wiretaps — totaled 1.3 million.

“This report also raises questions about why the FBI had this information in the first place,” Markey said in a statement about the allegations AntiSec made against the FBI.

Markey’s bill, the “Wireless Surveillance Act of 2012,” would require “regular disclosures from law enforcement on the nature and volume” of mobile data requests.

The bill would also expand the powers of the Federal Communications Commission by mandating that the agency create new regulations governing how long wireless carriers could retain private wireless data collected from their consumers.

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Josh Peterson