The Anom and ArcaneOS: built by the FBI to catch criminals

The FBI has a string of operations in its history, catching (and failing to catch) criminals and the racist surveillance of Black people. But this story is wild from a technological standpoint.

The ANOM (or AN0M or ΛNØM) was a sting operation involving various law enforcement agencies around the world. It ran between 2018–2021 and intercepted millions of messages sent through a messaging app of the same name, running on an Android phone using a custom OS called ArcaneOS. The video above is by Hugh Jeffreys, an Australian YouTuber who restores broken tech and he acquired a Google Pixel 4 running ArcaneOS.

What appeared like a regular smartphone was anything but as he navigated the unusual OS.

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