ALERT: Postal Inspectors Using Tech To Break Into Cell Phones

(Republican Insider) – A new report from WND reveals that an expert in the field of privacy and technology is now raising warnings concerning the activity of the United States Postal Inspection Service, which has bragged in its yearly reports about managing to hack into hundreds of cell phones and other electronic devices in order to extract data for law enforcement to look over.

Jake Wiener, who works for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, recently stated in a report published by Just the News that the tech is dangerous and can be misused.

“Cellphones contain multitudes of intimate information about all aspects of our lives, messages with family, private pictures, records of our movements, and much more,” he said in a conversation with Just the News. “Phone hacking tools are a direct threat to privacy because they can expose information that everyone wants to keep private, and would be irrelevant to a criminal investigation.”

Jennifer Granick, who works for the American Civil Liberty Union’s project concerning privacy and technology, has identified the programs in question as being Cellebrite and GrayKey.

According to her, they provide law enforcement with “the ability to access and analyze far more information than ever before.”

Yeah, that’s not something those of us who love liberty like to hear, is it? Brings back the same kind of feelings of betrayal as the NSA spying scandal.

“This includes information people do not know is on their devices, such as deleted and temporarily stored data. Forensic tools can unlock and extract private information that is irrelevant to an investigation, and there are inadequate safeguards in place to make sure this information will not be misused,” she continued.

“It was in the 2020 annual report by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that officials confirmed they were employing such tech hundreds of times to hack into phones – and they planned to expand that work,” WND reported.

Just The News went on to take a quote from the report which said, “The Cellebrite Premium and GrayKey tools acquired in [fiscal year] 2019 and 2018 allow the Digital Evidence Unit to extract previously unattainable information from seized mobile devices. During FY 2020, 331 devices were processed, and 242 were unlocked and/or extracted by these services. The success of the program and ever-increasing demand for services required the purchase this year of a second GrayKey device for use on the East Coast.”

Questions concerning the strategy had been raised just a week earlier in a report that was published by The Epoch Times.

Just the News then reported that Weiner, Granick, and a few others are deeply worried that it’s not clear which crimes and investigations are prompting the use of this technology.

“The bar for using this hacking technology should be quite high, if it’s used at all, and governed by strict oversight, privacy advocates say,” the report went on to say.

However, others have said that national security issues mean authorities should be able to get their hands on this kind of information as quickly as possible.

The report went on to say that USPIS declined to provide a comment on the issues of hacking into phones.

A spokesperson did say, “Only a limited number of individuals have access to these tools, and they are used in accordance with legal requirements.”

“It’s the second such scandal involving software to embroil the USPIS, the report said. Just last year it was revealed the federal agency has been using a program to track and collect social media posts,” WND reported.

“The surveillance effort, known as the Internet Covert Operations Program, iCOP, involves analysts going through social media sites to flag ‘inflammatory’ posts and share that information across the federal government,” the report stated.

The procedures have already drawn a few lawsuits from both EPIC and conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which said, “The questionable surveillance schemes appear to indicate that the government is weaponizing the nation’s postal service to improperly spy on the citizens who fund it.”

Yeah, this technology is a no-go.

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