And now, we’re into the surreal He-Said-She-Said portion of the latest Anonymous story. After leaking online the Unique Device IDentification numbers (UDIDs, for short) for one million and one Apple mobile devices that it claimed came from the laptop belonging to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI is apparently denying that those numbers came from anywhere near the organization.
The FBI released a statement earlier this afternoon, responding only to the claim by Anonymous that the numbers were found on a hacked FBI machine that, the organization had said, actually contained UDIDs for twelve million Apple devices. The terse statement read “The FBI is aware of published reports alleging that an FBI laptop was compromised and private data regarding Apple UDIDs was exposed. At this time there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.”
That statement prompted a response from Anonymous, pointing out that the denial wasn’t a complete denial: “Actually they are merely saying that they have no evidence for that. Did anyone expect anything else? We have no reason to lie,” the @AnonymousIRC Twitter account explained. Here, however, is where things get ridiculous; after the Anonymous Tweet had been release, the FBI Press Office headed to Twitter itself with stronger wording in its response: “Statement soon on reports that one of our laptops with personal info was hacked. We never had info in question. Bottom Line: TOTALLY FALSE.”
AnonymousIRC replied, “Wait, what? So because you don’t know of any data breach it never happened? So the conference call was fake, too? ;-)”
Oddly enough, when the “statement soon” was released, it turned out to be exactly the same wording that had previously been released to the press, complete with the “At this time, there is no evidence” proviso. A sign of calmer heads leaving wiggle room in case previously unknown facts come to light, or simply the FBI Press Office deciding after the fact that there was no need to re-write the earlier statement at this time?
In related, and even stranger, news, Gizmodo writer Adrian Chan has posted a picture of himself wearing a tutu and with a shoe on his head in capitulation to an Anonymous statement that it wouldn’t speak to members of the press about this latest hack until he had done so. Yesterday’s statement made the terms clear: “No more interviews to anyone till Adrian Chen get featured in the front page of Gawker, a whole day, with a huge picture of him dressing a ballet tutu and shoe on the head.” Chen responded with the pic at 6:25pm Eastern today, promising that the post will stay on the front page until 6:30pm the next day (Considering the amount of traffic the post is likely to get, this isn’t exactly a losing proposition for the Gawker site). “As a journalist, I am sworn to bring facts to light by any means necessary,” Chen wrote. “So, there’s me in a tutu.” It’ll be interesting to see which facts, if anything, this move does end up bringing to light.