The WSJ is reporting that the FBI uses super slick hacker tactics and tools to spy on people. It can get pretty dirty. Like, according to a former US official, the ability to "remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google's Android software to record conversations" dirty.
On top of the ability to record conversations with Android phones, the FBI can activate microphones in laptops without anyone ever knowing too. Supposedly, these hacker techniques are targeted towards cases involving organized crime, child pornography and terrorism. The FBI rarely uses hacking to investigate hackers since they don't want to get caught and embarrassed. Both Google and FBI declined to comment to the WSJ.
Other details in the WSJ report reveal the FBI's Remote Operations Unit, the unit in charge of the FBI's hacking efforts. The Remote Operations Unit has developed ways to remotely installing surveillance tools on computers, installing malicious software using a thumb drive and so on. The FBI claims it only gathers "relevant data" from their hacks but yeah, that's not exactly comforting. [WSJ]