Apple ID Leads Authorities To Suspect (@iMore)
An Apple ID and iTunes purchases have helped investigators find and arrest Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of KickassTorrents (KAT). The U.S. government apparently identified an iCloud email address belonging to Vaulin, and sought a court order compelling Apple to offer iTunes purchase activity for that address.
While this case was not necessarily a strong example of law enforcement’s capabilities (this guy was just careless), keep the following in mind: Just because encryption is used (and we don’t know if it was or not by this person), authorities can still determine a lot just by examining call, messaging, and other connection-related metadata (update aka, traffic analysis).
Years ago, I worked on a network analysis project for the intelligence community. Even though the client never gave us details, it was clear they were confident that by knowing 1) who owns the accounts involved in any communications and 2) the patterns of those communications (frequency, length of time, location data, etc.), they had enough information to determine the threat posed by that activity. There is a lot law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies can do with the massive amount of information they already collect without a warrant, breaking encryption, or any illegal violation of privacy.