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04 June 2011 @ 02:42 am
Personal visit from FBI  
About a month ago I received a call from an FBI agent. The agent promised to email me subpoena next day. I heard nothing from him for a month.
Today I found myself standing in my pajamas on my porch in front of another FBI agent. Nice looking female agent. She finally brought me that subpoena.

Here’s what I’ve learned / re-confirmed:
1) FBI is slow. It took them more than couple of weeks to get the subpoena and then another couple of weeks to deliver it to me. Why they did not use email is hard to say. Their explanation – without physical delivery I don’t have to comply with the subpoena. But that’s a weak excuse – in this case I don’t mind complying even if I don’t have to. My own explanation – FBI is yet another government agency with huge, slow moving, and inefficient bureaucracy.

2) FBI is secretive. I got an informal request not to publish information on my blog. They saw my previous post. Apparently FBI cares about secrecy more than about speed of execution.
I care about sharing my unusual experience with my friends to get feedback. So I still post. Just without the details. Not that I know much anyway.

3) FBI agents are nice to deal with. Like other people here in the US who have business to do.

4) People generally comply with FBI agent requests even if they don’t have to. Few days ago I moved to a different house ~15 miles away. FBI did not have my new address. But they did not bother to call me to find it out. Just knocked on my door at new address with subpoena showing old address. Good Samaritan helped the agent find the way.

5) FBI is not really interested in crime that caused less than few thousand dollars damage. If someone posts scammy “jobs” on PostJobFree or pays using stolen credit card – it is way below FBI’s radar. Theoretically FBI has a web site to report internet crime like that, but it does not look like they really interested in these reports.

If you don't mind being watched by big brother - please share your thoughts here.
Tags:
 
 
 
Maxhobober on June 4th, 2011 10:02 am (UTC)
"Nice looking female agent"... Something like that? :)

Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on June 4th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, something like that. Just not an actress, but real FBI agent. In a little bit more formal clothes.
Maxhobober on June 4th, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC)
Have you photo with her? :) Why not?
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on June 4th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
She wouldn't want her photo on my blog anyway.
I think FBI agents generally do not want to be too visible.
журнал закрытjuan_gandhi on June 4th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
I appreciate your posting. It's a good tactics too, against possible bullying.
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on June 4th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
Yes, you just verbalized one of my reasons to post and good answer to the question "why would you want to publish that?".
Clean and soberanspa on June 4th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
> 1) FBI is slow. It took them more than couple of weeks to get the subpoena and then another couple of weeks to deliver it to me.

May not be agents who are slow or busy. Subpoena is a superior's or a judge's decision. Imagine bureaucracy involved.

> Why they did not use email is hard to say.

Email is yet to be adapted by bureaucracy, formal rules may not allow that. Besides, email contact should be verified first. You know, lots of spam coming from "FBI" "agents".. You would say "@fbi.gov" email is probably authentic. I would still be cautious about that.

> Their explanation – without physical delivery I don’t have to comply with the subpoena.

Exactly, that's about legal system and practice again.

> But that’s a weak excuse – in this case I don’t mind complying even if I don’t have to. My own explanation – FBI is yet another government agency with huge, slow moving, and inefficient bureaucracy.

Rule of thumb is don't talk to police (or any government official) unless you are absolutely sure you have to.

> 5) FBI is not really interested in crime that caused less than few thousand dollars damage.

That's a generic approach typical even for credit card companies investigating theft privately, to address bigger (monetary-wise) troubles first. At some threshold small theft may not be worth a fight - investigation may cost more than losses from that theft.

> If you don't mind being watched by big brother - please share your thoughts here.

Let them watch, that's their job, but don't be your own sheepdog.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not a legal advise.
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on June 4th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
> May not be agents who are slow or busy. Subpoena is a superior's or a judge's decision. Imagine bureaucracy involved.

Yes, that seems to be the case: individual agents work reasonably fast, but the system as a whole is quite slow.

> Rule of thumb is don't talk to police (or any government official) unless you are absolutely sure you have to.

I thought that rule is applicable to the cases when you are a suspect yourself.
If nobody talks to law enforcement - how would they enforce the law?
I can also learn something useful along the way.
Is possible downside of talking to law enforcement too grim so it makes sense to avoid it?

> At some threshold small theft may not be worth a fight

Small individual thefts - might not worth the effort to investigate. But when there are many such small thefts - it's a different story.

But may be it makes sense to put robust system in place to automatically record fraudulent activity and do some automatic response to it?
For example:
1) Automatically call or snail mail to the owners of computers pwned by botnet.
Collect malicious IP addresses from such pwned computers.
2) Help internet providers block such malicious IP addresses on their routers.
3) Automatically take control of email addresses that are less than few weeks old and have clear signs of fraudulent activity.
Email warnings to all past recipients of emails from that fraudulent email.
Record malicious IP addresses and again help ISPs to block them (temporarily).
4) Warn all new international shippers about the risks of being part of money laundering scheme.
5) Try to establish relationships with Nigerian law enforcement to prosecute larger scammers who are hiding there.
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on June 4th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
Видел я это видео. Впечатляет и многому учит.

Но он говорит именно о случаях, когда человек являлся подозреваемым.

И совершенно ничего не говорит о том, как полиция должна работать если с ними никто не общается.
Clean and soberanspa on June 5th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)
Все говорит, имеющий уши да услышит.
Dennis Gorelikdennisgorelik on June 5th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
Говорит о том, как полиция должна работать без общения с людьми?
Clean and soberanspa on June 5th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
Говорит что у полиции нет недостатка в людях желающих поговорить. :-)