THE FBI TRIED TO GET A SECURE PHONE COMPANY TO CREATE A BACKDOOR IN ITS ENCRYPTED NETWORK | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

THE FBI TRIED TO GET A SECURE PHONE COMPANY TO CREATE A BACKDOOR IN ITS ENCRYPTED NETWORK

SOURCE: TECH DIRT
Not a great week for the FBI, encryption-wise. The same week it was revealed the FBI's encrypted communications system was cracked by the Russians, a report by Joseph Cox of Motherboard details the agency's failure to punch a hole in a phone company's encrypted network.

The phone company targeted by the feds was Phantom Secure, a device maker with a business model that revolved almost exclusively around making secure phones for criminals. Apparently the supplier of choice for the Sinaloa drug cartel, Phantom Secure had been under investigation for years when its owner was arrested in 2018.

These efforts were apparently made after the arrest of the head of the company, with the FBI pitching a major sentence reduction if Phantom Secure CEO Vincent Ramos built the agency a backdoor.

"He was given the opportunity to do significantly less time if he identified users or built in/gave backdoor access," one source who knows Ramos personally and has spoken with him about the issue after his arrest told Motherboard.

Other law enforcement officers who worked on the investigation said similar things. The FBI wanted a backdoor so it could go after Phantom's numerous criminal customers. Despite the pressure, it appears Ramos never gave the FBI what it wanted.

A third source told Motherboard "He never gave law enforcement a backdoor into Phantom Secure. He did not do that." When pressed on whether the FBI still asked for access, the source, who worked directly on the case, said, "Basically that's all I want to say. He did not give law enforcement a backdoor into Phantom Secure."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So let me see if I have the story straight here; the FBI, in 2019, was so completely reduced in their encoding and cryptography capabilities, that they wound up begging an inmate, Vincent Ramos, before his trial, and was promised a substantial cut in prison time, if he gave up the "back door" for Phantom Secure, which is used primarily by criminals?!?

Sorry: I am having a forehead to palm moment, with velocity, upon reading this.

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