The Feds Just Indicted a Man for Behaving Exactly Like the Feds

(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed) A few years ago, a popular meme asserted that “if you behaved like your government, you’d be arrested.”

A recent 16-count indictment issued by the Department of Justice against an Ohio man proves just that.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the DOJ announced it had indicted 28-year-old computer programmer Phillip R. Durachinsky for hacking “thousands of computers for more than 13 years in order to watch, listen to, and obtain personal data from unknowing victims.

Durachinsky is alleged to have “orchestrated a scheme to access thousands of protected computers owned by individuals, companies, schools, a police department, and the government, including one owned by a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The government claims he “developed computer malware later named ‘Fruitfly’ that he installed on computers and that enabled him to control each computer by accessing stored data, uploading files, taking and downloading screenshots, logging a user’s keystrokes, and turning on the camera and microphone to surreptitiously record images and audio. “


Durachinsky used the malware to steal the personal data of victims, including their logon credentials, tax records, medical records, photographs, banking records, Internet searches, and potentially embarrassing communications.  According to the indictment, Durachinsky used stolen logon credentials to access and download information from third-party websites.

Durachinsky is further alleged to have watched and listened to victims without their knowledge or permission and intercepted oral communications taking place in the room where the infected computer was located.”

Does any of this sound familiar? It should. The same federal government prosecuting the Ohio hacker has failed to prosecute its own agencies for doing the exact same things.

In one example, it’s worth noting that Durachinsky is facing child pornography charges, though the DOJ did not disclose specifically why. However, it’s also worth noting that the FBI has directly operated child pornography sites on multiple occasions… in the name of stopping child pornography.

However, the crux of charges against Durachinsky aligns more closely with the surveillance and activities of multiple government agencies.

Thanks to leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden, it is public knowledge that the NSA has repeatedly violated fundamental rights to “watch, listen to, and obtain personal data from unknowing victims,” in the words of the DOJ in their indictment of Durachinsky.

In 2014, the New York Times reported that the NSA had “implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines.” Further, the outlet noted, “the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet.”

According to releases from Wikileaks, the CIA can also remotely access computers (and also spies on other agencies).

The NSA has also been revealed to be in possession of hacking tools, which it failed to secure. These tools ended up in the hands of other hackers.

The NSA has been exposed for granting itself remote access to cell phones and their microphones and cameras – even when the devices are turned off.

Using programs like PRISM, “the NSA bulk collect[s] internet communications from companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook,” Gizmodo summarized, explaining further that the program gave the agency “access to a vast amount of data, from records of Skype calls and Gchat logs to unflattering unposted selfies.

XKeyscore, another spying program, covers “’nearly everything a typical user does on the internet,’” including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata,” the Guardian reported in 2013, directly citing a presentation from the agency. “Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing ‘real-time’ interception of an individual’s internet activity,” the outlet explained.

Much of the agency’s spying is approved under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which also sweeps up communications of American citizens. Congress just approved a six-year extension of the controversial policy, declining to reform it despite widespread pleas.

The NSA can access medical records and has also monitored international banking transactions.

Despite the extensive privacy violations contained in these practices, no one within the government has been prosecuted — not even former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who misled the public about these activities. The USA Freedom Act, passed in 2015, purported to curtail surveillance but left many of these programs intact.

Yet First Assistant U.S. Attorney Sierleja of the Department of Justice said of Durachinsy:

This defendant is alleged to have spent more than a decade spying on people across the country and accessing their personal information.

For more than 13 years, Phillip Durachinsky allegedly infected with malware the computers of thousands of Americans and stole their most personal data and communications,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “This case is an example of the Justice Department’s continued efforts to hold accountable cybercriminals who invade the privacy of others and exploit technology for their own ends.

So far, the only action the DOJ has taken in relation to the government’s sweeping surveillance and hacking practices is to attempt to demonize and cage those who reveal the information.

This isn’t to suggest that Durachinsky was justified in hacking the private information and devices of unwitting individuals (or allegedly producing or facilitating child porn) — to the contrary. His case serves as a damning demonstration of the government’s power that when it receives an exemption on morality and accountability simply because it claims forcible authority through its institutions — whether it is conducting spying, killing, or theft.

Op-ed / Creative Commons / Anti-Media / Report a typo

The Anti Media

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
The Real News 240
Scrutinised Minds 16
Need To Know News 838
FEE 1910
Marine Le Pen 92
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 50
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 347
Mohamed Omar 170
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 36
Angry Foreigner 14
Fritte Fritzson 11
Teologiska rummet 28
Filosofiska rummet 49
Vetenskapsradion Historia 65
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 144
Les Crises 1057
Richard Falk 64
Ian Sinclair 54
SpinWatch 31
Counter Currents 3403
Kafila 256
Gail Malone 24
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 74
The Duran 4700
Vanessa Beeley 65
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 3014
Paul Craig Roberts 712
News Junkie Post 40
Nomi Prins 17
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 2069
Sir Ken Robinson 13
Stephan Kinsella 39
Liberty Blitzkrieg 703
Sami Bedouin 60
Consortium News 1701
21 Century Wire 2353
Burning Blogger 243
Stephen Gowans 47
David D. Friedman 111
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1295
Tom Dispatch 300
Levant Report 17
The Saker 2553
The Barnes Review 422
John Friend 305
Psyche Truth 146
Jonathan Cook 122
New Eastern Outlook 2500
School Sucks Project 1074
Giza Death Star 1219
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 528
GMWatch 1380
Robert Faurisson 113
Espionage History Archive 33
Jay's Analysis 534
Le 4ème singe 67
Jacob Cohen 171
Agora Vox 6588
Cercle Des Volontaires 376
Panamza 1211
Fairewinds 98
Project Censored 515
Spy Culture 281
Conspiracy Archive 56
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 314
PINAC 1455
The Conscious Resistance 430
Independent Science News 60
The Anti Media 3935
Positive News 793
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 47
Lionel 224
The Mind renewed 191
Natural Society 2391
Yanis Varoufakis 648
Tragedy & Hope 106
Dr. Tim Ball 52
Web of Debt 113
Porkins Policy Review 272
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 494
Libyan War Truth 254
DeadLine Live 1882
Kevin Ryan 57
Aaron Franz 153
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 102
Dr. Bruce Levine 91
Peter B Collins 1127
Faux Capitalism 203
Dissident Voice 8353
Climate Audit 207
Donna Laframboise 240
Judith Curry 987
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 1627
Newsbud 2258
Syria Report 70
Human Rights Investigation 85
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 8449
Laura Wells Solutions 15
Video Rebel's Blog 397
Revisionist Review 474
Aletho News 15196
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 2306
Northerntruthseeker 1757
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4474 Blog 2285 Original Content 5272
Corbett Report 1855
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1016
Webster Tarpley Website 739

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public