Intercepting FBI conversations using Google Maps

    Network engineer Bryan Seely is tired of heavy spam on Google Maps. He repeatedly appealed to Google with a request to improve the moderation of ads and even opened an account on Twitter with the publication of examples , but to no avail. Then the resourceful engineer came up with a way to draw attention to himself.

    He posted some fake ads on Google Maps , listing the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, but his own phone numbers. When people called these numbers, Brian directed the call to the real numbers of the special services - and turned on the audio recording.

    Having recorded a couple of conversations to prove ( 1 , 2), he went with them to the local branch of the Secret Service. The agents greeted the “spy” with proper cordiality: they put him face down on the floor, read out the rights and took him to the interrogation room. However, he managed to explain to the special services that he was on their side. In a mail correspondence, one of the agents even called him a “hero” for revealing a serious vulnerability. A few hours later, Brian was released.

    There has been a problem with fake ads on Google Maps for at least four years. Spammers earn by selling "untwisted" places that go to the first lines of search queries taking into account the user's location. Some just post ads for fun.

    After this story, Google reacted quickly and removed some of the fake ads, although in essence the problem remained.

    Well, Brian removed the fake Secret Service office from the cards on his own, at the request of the special services, by taking a screenshot as a keepsake.

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