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Swedish Police Use WhatsApp For Surveillance Ops, Share Intel With Civilians 37

New submitter TheP4st writes "A group of Swedish police officers thought it would be a good idea to use WhatsApp as a work tool for surveillance operations. The officer that set up their chat group mistyped one of the phone numbers to mistakenly include a civilian IT teacher. Once the teacher informed authorities about the mistake, it took more than 24 hours before he stopped receiving sensitive case information, which included criminal records, passport photos, and communications between surveillance teams tailing suspects. When confronted by Computer Sweden (Google translation of Swedish original), the officer responsible for setting up the group said, 'I know this server is not located in Sweden and that one cannot share every kind of information.' The only mobile chat medium approved for sensitive information is BlackBerry, and this initiative by a small group of officers happened because they do not have access to BlackBerry handsets."
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Swedish Police Use WhatsApp For Surveillance Ops, Share Intel With Civilians

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  • Oh FFS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15, 2014 @06:09PM (#46256429)

    A shoddy chat app that is hardly good enough for personal communication is used for sensitive police work? And if they hadn't used that, they would have used fucking Blackberrys, which also store everything on foreign servers? Does the Swedish police not have an IT department which can provide them with secure communication tools?

  • Common problem. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @06:15PM (#46256479)

    1. Workplace has confidential information.
    2. Workplace puts up elaborate high-security protocols and technology intended to protect that data.
    3. Workers find that all this security is getting in the way of actually doing their jobs.
    4. Workers ignore protocol and devise their own means of going behind the backs of those dictating security.
    5. Embarassing breach occurs.

    A common example occurs when IT dictates all passwords must be at least seven characters an include mixed case and punctuation. Faced with difficulty remembering passwords, the staff respond by putting them on post-it notes under their keyboards. Or when getting a new staff member approved for access to the confidential data takes a few days, leading to staff letting temps borrow their credentials so they can get started right away.

  • Re:Common problem. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @06:32PM (#46256581) Homepage
    Pretty much this.

    When an organization sees people doing things like this, they should recognize that they are not providing the right kind of IT services to their employees.

  • Re:Common problem. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @06:34PM (#46256591) Homepage
    And if the free software (Whatsapp) isn't deemed secure enough...then they need to look into something like Good where they can still keep the communication walled in but let people use things that aren't outdated blackberries.

Riches cover a multitude of woes. -- Menander