Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Your Rights Online

Government Internet Surveillance Up 369

Posted by michael
from the sky's-the-limit dept.
Harvey Manfrenjensenton writes "According to this story at Newhouse News Service, the assault on Americans' rights known as the Patriot Act, passed by Congress in October, has produced results that are as disturbing -- and rampant -- as could have been anticipated. Law enforcement used to need a court order to tap your phone, read your mail, etc. Now they just need a whim. ISP's and Telcos can barely keep up with the volume of requests by Feds wanting to read your email." EFF's analysis of the Patriot Act is good reading.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Government Internet Surveillance Up

Comments Filter:
  • by Istealmymusic (573079) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @10:46PM (#3370529) Homepage Journal
    From the bill itself:
    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the
    `Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001'.

    "USA PATRIOT" is an acronym, and a misnomer at that. Lowercasing it only hides this fact, the proper name is capitalized.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hmm, we're only a little over 18 years behind Big Brother's forcasted schedule...Next we'll have video cameras on top of our computer monitors and TV screens...
    What's that on top my monitor? A Web Cam! NOOOOOOOO! It has begun.

  • Wow. I thought the whole "patriot act" thing was a joke.

    Don't forget to register as a patriot [whitehouse.org]!

  • No real surprise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by YouAreFatMan (470882) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @10:52PM (#3370561) Homepage
    America is the land of individualism and extremism. You can't just have a little, you want the whole enchilada, and who cares if anyone else goes hungry. So it's no suprise that the government, given a little power, immediately begins to abuse it. In America, we abuse everything -- food, drugs, the law, other people, etc. We lionize the "rogue cop who doesn't play by the rules," yet this is the guy grabbing us on the street and shaking us down for ID for no good reason. People think, hey I've got an important job to do, so it's OK if I stretch the rules. So of course the FBI and other law-enforcement types will do that. I remember reading an article about the cameras that they put all over England, and how the people who run them have a deep respect for the authority they are wielding and the limits they are supposed to respect. In the US, there's no way those guys would have any restraint. OK, so I'm ranting, but the point is, that the US culture does not lend itself to granting a great degree of unchecked power to any group, be it government, corporate, whatever.
  • Add a header (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sebby (238625)
    Have your email client add a header to the emails sent out with a nice message to the FBI.

  • Obvious... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Drakula (222725)
    At first I thought it was wierd that there was no "OBVIOUS" tag in front of this headline. Then I realized this isn't FARK [fark.com]...
  • by NearlyHeadless (110901) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @10:56PM (#3370583)
    Telcos can barely keep up with the volume of requests by Feds wanting to read your email.

    No, they still need a judge to issue a warrant in order to read your e-mail. The article is about things that do not need a warrant, which includes who is sending you mail and who you are sending mail.


    The telephone companies and the post office have been giving out this information for decades without a warrant.

    • Well 95% of the mail I get is junk mail - so they can read that all they like!
      • Strange idea...
        [paranoid mode] They're also working to crack down on spam. I wonder if the two events are coinciding -- it seems like the more spam one receives, the more a pain in the ass it is for investigators to wade through the bullshit, and the more likely they are to miss something.
        Think about this: someone sends an email to someone with the subject "HERBAL VIAGRA -- STAY HARD FOR HOURS!", though the body of the message is something desirable to the FBI. Considering after a while of wading through crap, they would just ignore something with said subject line, thereby potentially missing something crucial.
        If they really are planning to crack down on spam, this may be the motive behind it.
        [/paranoid mode]
    • absolutely correct (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They have been doing this for years, with the postal system. There is something called a mail cover. Essentially, a law enforcement agency submits a request to the postal inspector to have mail monitored for a recipient. While they do not physically open the mail, they do keep track of who is sending and recieving mail, and general information that can be discovered about the contents of the mail from without. This is done without court order and with no particular oversight. Furthermore, you don't have the right to know if this is being done, nor does it need to be brought up at trial should it be used as an evidence gathering technique.
    • The EFF article has a list of actions that the EFF urges to happen. One of them is
      • That the many vague, undefined terms in the USAPA will be defined in favor of protecting civil liberties and privacy of Americans. These include:

      • the definition of "content" of e-mails which cannot be retrieved without a warrant.
      eg. it's not clear that the deluge of requests are only looking for the From: and To: information when arriving without a warrant.
    • "2. Nationwide roving wiretaps. FBI and CIA can now go from phone to phone, computer to computer without demonstrating that each is even being used by a suspect or target of an order. The government may now serve a single wiretap, FISA wiretap or pen/trap order on any person or entity nationwide, regardless of whether that person or entity is named in the order. The government need not make any showing to a court that the particular information or communication to be acquired is relevant to a criminal investigation."

      Sounds like they do need a warrent, but just one warrent (involving Bin Laden, say) could result in any (and every) US Citizen being wiretaped.
      • Nationwide roving wiretaps. FBI and CIA can now go from phone to phone, computer to computer without demonstrating that each is even being used by a suspect or target of an order.

        The thing is that in order to actually do this they need to have some kind of spy to tell them which line to tap at what time. If they have this they probably don't really need to do any kind of tapping in the first place.
        The only reason they could actually want these powere is for at best "fishing", at worst manufacturing bogus crimes.
  • by sisukapalli1 (471175) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @10:58PM (#3370588)
    They have been able to push each and every pet policy of theirs in the name of "homeland security" and patriotism.

    Quoting Samuel Johnson, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

    S
  • I just wish I could convince my friends to use PGP when sending me email. That would solve most of the problems.
  • by Seth Finkelstein (90154) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:00PM (#3370594) Homepage Journal
    The following passage seems relevant

    Findlaw - Rights Retained by the People [findlaw.com]

    (emphasis added)

    The Ninth Amendment had been mentioned infrequently in decisions of the Supreme Court4 until it became the subject of some exegesis by several of the Justices in Griswold v. Connecticut. There a statute prohibiting use of contraceptives was voided as an infringement of the right of marital privacy. Justice Douglas, writing the opinion of the Court, asserted that the ''specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.''
    Thus, while privacy is nowhere mentioned, it is one of the values served and protected by the First Amendment, through its protection of associational rights, and by the Third, the Fourth, and the Fifth Amendments as well. The Justice recurred to the text of the Ninth Amendment, apparently to support the thought that these penumbral rights are protected by one Amendment or a complex of Amendments despite the absence of a specific reference. Justice Goldberg, concurring, devoted several pages to the Amendment.

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com]

    • What is the purpose of government... as a whole. To administer, and to implement the wishes of the people. The FBI is a department of government and as such should fall under the same moral and ethical obligations.

      Surely the fact that information is sent electronically should mean it is treated no differently from paper or phone calls.

      Does the government have the right to open mail addressed to you? Does the government have the right to listen to your phone calls?

      The answer is yes of they have "reasonable" grounds to suspect you have or will commit a criminal act.

      The solution is not specific legislation or objection based upon medium, but an application of exsiting pronciples to a new meium.
      • The answer is yes of they have "reasonable" grounds to suspect you have or will commit a criminal act.

        Actuaaallly. . . .

        Law enforcement agents have to do ONE thing and ONE thing only.

        That is CATCH criminals AFTER they commit a crime. Let me repeat that for everybody.

        Catch criminals AFTER they commit a crime.

        Technically law enforcement catches people ahead of the game as a matter of common courtesy, they don't have to do so, and giving them too MANY powers to do so seems just plain wrong to me.

        They are Law ENFORCEMENT Agencies, _NOT_ Crime Prevention Taskforces or any other such lame moniker
      • The problem is that the rules were being applied to this new medium.

        The USA PATRIOT Act threw those rules to the wind for all media, new and old.

    • I think the 4th admendment [findlaw.com] says it all.

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      Secure - Free from the risk of being intercepted by unauthorized persons.

      There is too much to discuss about this, but it comes down to word "Reasonable". And this changes from person to person.

      You find it "Resonable" to trade Privacy for Security. Patriot ACT on that thought was "Reasonable" to some men and women to combat terrorisism.

      I find that "Unreasonable". The founding fathers had to deal with "Unreasonable" searchs under Kings Law, they would have no such repeat.
      -
      The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. - George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

  • Bad News (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:02PM (#3370599)
    Connect from host: departmentjustice02.erols.com/208.58.140.194 to TCP port: 21

    I don't run an ftp server, never advertised one, never been into any sort of warez, just have a mail server. And I see that in my logs. What the fuck is going on?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've had hits to my homepage from:

      198.137.241.10 (resolves to e002.eop.gov)
      198.137.241.11 (resolves to sseop102.eop.gov)

      EOP is Executive Office of You-Know-Who, and I can only conjecture as to what the "SS" stands for. I don't have any political content on my website so I don't know why they'd be stopping by. All they requested was the index.

      I've also had several hits from senate.gov, and one from 38.203.152.66 (ns1.dcitp.gov). A cursory glance at http://www.dcitp.gov [dcitp.gov] (funny Flash intro!) reveals that DCITP is essentially the Fed's cybercrime training center. I don't know whether to be flattered or worried...

      My firewall box has denied 35 _inbound_ packets today from a "Calypso Online" in Herndon, VA:
      60005 35 2100 reset tcp from 63.148.99.0/24 to any
      Not major in and of itself, but this IP block was previously assigned to a company called "Cyveillance.com." Cyveillance's repeated inbound probes were what earned that IP block a spot in my firewall to begin with, and while the IPs now belong to Calypso, the new owner is up to the same tricks.

      Cyveillance still exists; they've moved to 63.100.163.127 and are still as blatant as ever about what they do: "100 Percent Relevant Intelligence Mined Directly From the Internet - Cyveillance." I can't figure out who Calypso Online is, calypso.com is registered and seems a likely suspect; it resolves but isn't running a web server. Perhaps Cyveillance and Calypso are one in the same.

      What does all this mean? Quite possibly nothing, but quite possibly something. All I know is I hate the idea of being monitored and I've been painting firewall rules with a broad brush lately.
  • I'm pretty sure that all of these ISPs got instructions from the Feds not to tell anyone about these requests. I know they wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on, but I'd worry about being harassed by the justice department for talking about this stuff to the press, which someone has obviously been doing. This is especially true if the CIA gets involved; they can be pretty vindictive.

    The proposal, made by Albert Gidari (An "expert" on technology law who represents people? There are names for experts who represent people. To call them an "expert" implies a certain nonbias.) that ISPs need to be held indemnified for violating your privacy if the government asks them too, is an insult.
  • "The war on terrorism is basically a war of intelligence," Scowcroft said. "Every time they move, every time they get money or spend money, there's a trace, somewhere. What we need to do is get as many of those traces as we can and put them together into a mosaic which will allow us to uncover the al-Qaida network."

    So basically, screw privacy and due process, we have evil commie spies ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H excuse me, terrorists to ferret out!


  • What we need is a real technological solution, not a political solution
    to prevent this intrusion of our privacy - and even more it should be
    something doable in the USA and not rely on over-seas servers, because
    that is only a short term solution that could bend to political and
    military pressure. Even more importantly, it should be an infrastructure
    where we can engage in commerce and transactions in a fair way without 3rd
    party intervention or involvement. The solution should be indistinguishable
    from other random and legitimate communication, verify-able for accountability, but untraceable to defend against coercive force.
    • If you ever figure out how to do that let us all know. Its been mulled over for several years now.

      Lee

      • I think freenet is a start, but it is not completely anonymous or untraceable yet, but with a few modifications can be made that way. I also think digital cash technology is out there, but the main systems in use today are too propriatory - a GPL'd solution could cause dramatic change.
    • What we need is a real technological solution, not a political solution to prevent this intrusion of our privacy - and even more it should be something doable in the USA

      Funny you should mention that, as the lead story in todays wired is this:
      A leash for carnavore [wired.com]

      It's an open source system a guy has developed that encrypts all customer records, such that
      1) No one can access them without an encryption key.
      2) The only way it will provide a decryption key is upon being presented with an electronic request digitally signed by a judge.
      3) The key it provides will ONLY decrypt the information specified by the judge and nothing more. No more abusing genuine warrents for overbroad fishing expeditions.

      It's a great concept. It allows law enforcement all the data they are entitled to, and preclude rights-violations. And for this reason, law enforcement will probably fight it tooth and nail, and make sure it never gets used.

      But an ISP in the USA that sells "secure, private" net access as a premium service could use this system as one hell of a selling point, and perhaps get the ball rolling. No overseas severs needed.

      Great idea.
  • by rainwalker (174354) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:27PM (#3370745)
    A few things I found noteworthy...

    The amount of subpoenas that carriers receive today is roughly doubling every month -- we're talking about hundreds of thousands of subpoenas for customer records

    ...HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS!!! There are hundreds of thousands of suspected terrorists or people with involvement in terrorist activities in the US each month??

    "The war on terrorism is basically a war of intelligence," Scowcroft said. "Every time they move, every time they get money or spend money, there's a trace, somewhere. What we need to do is get as many of those traces as we can and put them together into a mosaic which will allow us to uncover the al-Qaida network."

    It seems to me that the full power of the US intelligence community has had more than enough time to uncover terrorist organizations operating in the US. I understand that it is much, much more difficult to conduct investigations in other countries, but the domestic investigations are getting ridiculous. What is really disturbing, is the way that the "al-Qaida network" is turning into a real-life Immanuel Goldstein....and we must take any and all measures to find him, no matter what it takes.

    • What is really disturbing, is the way that the "al-Qaida network" is turning into a real-life Immanuel Goldstein....and we must take any and all measures to find him, no matter what it takes.

      So what about the embassy bombings, the U.S. Cole, and the two attempts to destroy the World Trade Center (the second of which was successful)? Are you seeing a pattern? Whatever means we had in place before did not suffice. You have a point that there are limits, and we need to be careful. Personally, I would also like to see these people stopped.

      Your points are well-taken, though. We must be vigilant in asking the government to respect our fundamental rights, even in a case of legitimate alarm.
      • So what about the embassy bombings, the U.S. Cole, and the two attempts to destroy the World Trade Center (the second of which was successful)? Are you seeing a pattern? Whatever means we had in place before did not suffice.

        It could just as easily mean that various people were not doing their jobs. Maybe instead of more powers they actually need less, so that they are less easily distracted.
        In the case of the first WTC attack one of the bombers was an FBI informant, who wanted to disable the bomb. But the FBI said no. The planes which crashed into the WTC (and The Pentagon) had not just taken off, instead they had flown through busy airspace in complete violation of FAA rules for considerable time.
        What extra powers would you give to the FBI to ensure they don't tell people not to prevent a terrorist bomb to go off? What additional powers would you give the FAA to ensure that they comply with the already existing regulations for off course aircraft? What additional powers would you give NORAD...
        Maybe before new powers (or even more money) these entities might need new managment.
  • This ties in wonderfully with the brilliant idea from the Feds to use Microsoft Passport. One really bad idea deserves a companion.
  • by FredBaxter (158979) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:29PM (#3370759) Homepage
    Quoting from the article:

    "The problem that law enforcement and intelligence agencies face is not insufficient information -- "they are choking on information," Dempsey said. The deficiency is in targeting and analysis. The Patriot Act was based on "the assumption if you pour more data into the system, then the picture would become clearer, and I think that's a false presumption," Dempsey said."

    Not only are ISPs and others having a hard time dealing with the flood of requests, but it seems Uncle Sam doesn't have the resources to crunch the data it's currently getting. This might be good in so far as it may someday make law enforcement more selective of the information they collect, or perhaps we'll all just be on file indefinately. Someday when they dig up Indiana's Arc from the storage they'll find thousands of hard drives full of emails and chat sessions.

    Just my $.02

    • "The problem that law enforcement and intelligence agencies face is not insufficient information -- "they are choking on information,"

      Good point.

      It sounds as if the FBI is browsing the world at -1

    • Not only are ISPs and others having a hard time dealing with the flood of requests, but it seems Uncle Sam doesn't have the resources to crunch the data it's currently getting. This might be good in so far as it may someday make law enforcement more selective of the information they collect, or perhaps we'll all just be on file indefinately.

      Maybe the people in charge of this should take a trip to Berlin. Preferably before the people who could tell them first hand where it is likely to lead die of old age.
      The only resources which really matter in the "crunching" are human ones anyway.
  • reading my email (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I know a student here from Iran (my girlfriend has a friend dating him) almost every time he emails me (we both use Yahoo email) my browser security gets switched "on" then "off" (i have it set to warn me when switching from-to secure mode)it switches with no page change (i have to acept the changs the way i have it set)
    then i go to yahoo mail....never has happend with any email except from him.
  • This is just an excuse for spying on the US public (gee I'm glad I live in oztraya where similar legislation won't b passed for another couple of weeks). Serious terrorists use encryption, and hide their tracks. They have fake names. I'm not suggesting they can't be caught, but not that easily. The main thing the USA PATRIOT act will do will deter wannabe luser terrorists (the script-kiddies of the terrorist world), and depressed high schools from blowing things up. For a little while at least.
  • Canada... (Score:3, Funny)

    by YoungHack (36385) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:40PM (#3370831)
    At Truman State University there were fliers put up for a "town meeting" to discuss the then-new Patriat Act. I don't think I'll ever forget them. They said in large words:

    CANADA
    Looking better than ever...
  • USA PATRIOT Act (Score:4, Informative)

    by ajakk (29927) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:46PM (#3370873) Homepage
    I know that it is against the grain here at Slashdot, but how many people here have actually read the provisions in the USA PATRIOT act? After hearing everyone on here complain and complain about it, I was sure that it was going to be a crock when I actually started analyzing it. Personally, I like almost all of the changes that the Act introduced, and I have been amazed at the clarity that the bill has.

    For example:
    The computer tresspass statute. This statute says that law enforcement doesn't have to get a warrant to eavesdrop on a computer tresspasser if they have the permission of the owner of the computer (very generalized). Think about what the problem was here. Somebody calls the FBI and says that a hacker had broken into their computer. The FBI could not watch what the hacker did on the computer, even with the permission of the owner of the computer, because it was assumed that it violated the privacy of the hacker. Come on. You have to admit that is pretty silly. Do you want the FBI to have to take several hours to draft and get a warrant signed in a situation such as that?

    Next, much of the changes in how email is handled was changed so that the laws are the same with email as it is with telephone. It is pretty easy for the FBI to find out who you are emailing. But it takes quite a bit more work for them to actually read your email. This is congruant to the ability of the FBI to get a Pen tap/trace on a telephone to find out who you are calling, compared to requiring a warrant to actually listen in on your calls.

    It is amazing to note people's perception of the DoJ. The FBI and the US Attorneys are not some huge govt. agency listening in on everyones phone calls and reading everyones email. They are an overworked, underpaid agency doing its best to combat crime within a wierd, confusing legal system. Of course they overstep their bounds sometimes, but the amount of good work that they do with the miniscule resources and respect they have is amazing.

    I for one say good job!
    • Re:USA PATRIOT Act (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gilroy (155262) on Friday April 19, 2002 @12:20AM (#3371083) Homepage Journal
      Blockquoth the poster:

      Do you want the FBI to have to take several hours to draft and get a warrant signed in a situation such as that?

      Um, yeah, I do. A warrant is not just some hoop to be passed through. It is a requirement that the FBI convince an independent judge that they have sufficient grounds to eavesdrop (or whatever). They don't have to prove a crime is being committed, but rather, that there's good reason to believe one is. If the owner of a computer asks the FBI to monitor it, I'm pretty sure the judge would immediately grant the warrant.


      People seem to ask, "Well, if it's so trivial, why bother with a warrant?" I ask, "Well, if it's so trivial, why aren't you confident enough to try getting a warrant?" The Fourth Amendment is more than a hurdle, a hoop, or a technicality. It is the linchpin of an effective, independent judiciary. And if the FBI is "not some huge govt. agency listening in on everyones phone calls and reading everyones email", that is at least in part because they haven't been allowed to be.


      Our guarantees of civil liberties are not hinderances on an otherwise effective and respect law enforcement system. They are the root causes as to why that system is effective and respected.

      • Re:USA PATRIOT Act (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ajakk (29927)
        The problem is that the government has to waste several hours tracking down the judge to get the warrant signed.

        This addition allows the government to get the permission of the owner of the computer to listen in on what someone is saying. I do not doubt that the FBI would be able to get the warrant. But why should they? If someone breaks into your house, and you see them snooping around, do you want the FBI to have to get a warrant to go into your house? Or should they just get your permission?

        I think that way to many people have no idea how law enforcement actually works most of the time, and they just get blinded by the few times that stupid people in the govt. do stupid things.

        I agree that law enforcement should have limits on what they can do, but I don't think that they should have artificial barriers put in place that prevent them from doing their job, while only protecting non-existant rights.
        • The problem is that the government has to waste several hours tracking down the judge to get the warrant signed.
          The point is, that is not a waste of time -- it is an investment of time that pays off in freedom and justice for all of us. As the guy you're replying to already explained more eloquently than I can; so let me suggest you read his message a couple more times and see if you get it.

          So if the FBI finds out you have met somebody they're investigating for a crime, you want them to have the right to search your house, without asking a judge for permission, just because you might possibly conceivably possess some evidence they could use against that person?

          Too often people cast this debate in terms of whether we are for or against the police. The fact is, the police aren't doing their job if they don't do everything allowed by law that might help their investigations. I don't fault the FBI for taking advantage of this law -- I fault Congress for passing it, and the White House idiot for signing it. It's the job of these people to set the limits on the police in way that's consistent with American values, not Fascist police state values.

          • So if the FBI finds out you have met somebody they're investigating for a crime, you want them to have the right to search your house, without asking a judge for permission, just because you might possibly conceivably possess some evidence they could use against that person?

            If I'm not mistaken, you can grant permission to authorities to search your home or property without a warrant. Often police will use a person's ignorance by asking if their car may be searched knowing that the vict^H^H^H^Hindividual is probably unaware that they do have a legal right to say "no" and that saying "yes" gives the officer legal authority.

            I'd not heard the part about the feds not being able to watch a comprimised system even with the permission of the system owner, and I'd like to see some case where a 31337 h4xx0r used that as a successful line of defense.
        • If someone breaks into your house, and you see them snooping around, do you want the FBI to have to get a warrant to go into your house? Or should they just get your permission?

          Do you really believe the FBI would have to get a warrant for this? Again, if the owner consents to a search of his premises, his fourth amendment rights are waived and the search may continue.

        • The problem is that the government has to waste several hours tracking down the judge to get the warrant signed.

          So judges magically vanish into an alternate dimension when they are not at work? They never have such a thing as a street address or a telephone...
        • This addition allows the government to get the permission of the owner of the computer to listen in on what someone is saying.

          And who do you think owns the equipment at your ISP? You or the ISP? With this addition could not the FBI get permission from the computer owner (the ISP), and read _your_ emails without the need for a warrent?

          To place a tap, the FBI need to get a warrent, requiring a judge be convinced. With this addition, to place a tap, the FBI now just need to get the owners permission, requiring only the ISP to be convinced.

      • Do you want the FBI to have to take several hours to draft and get a warrant signed in a situation such as that?
        Um, yeah, I do.

        Well, I sure as hell don't. Suppose someone were breaking into my house, and I hear him from my bedroom. I reach over to the phone to call 911. I'm told, "Sorry, but we won't be able to get there for several hours. We need a warrant to enter your house." "I give you permission to enter my house!" I reply. "Nope, sorry. By entering your house, we might be violating the privacy of the burglar. I'm afraid you'll have to wait."

        Absurd, right? Substitute "computer" for "house" and you'll have described the situation before the Patriot Act was passed, and the situation you would have liked to see perpetuated. If someone is breaking into my computer and I involve the FBI to track him down, then FUCK the cracker's privacy! There is, or should be, no expectation of privacy whatsoever if you're trespassing electronically.

    • Re:USA PATRIOT Act (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Saint Aardvark (159009) on Friday April 19, 2002 @01:23AM (#3371300) Homepage Journal
      The FBI and the US Attorneys are not some huge govt. agency listening in on everyones phone calls and reading everyones email. They are an overworked, underpaid agency doing its best to combat crime within a wierd, confusing legal system. Of course they overstep their bounds sometimes, but the amount of good work that they do with the miniscule resources and respect they have is amazing.

      No argument there; I got over my rampant paranoia many years ago, and realized that at the bottom, the TLAs of the world are just people, nothing more. But this does nothing to alleviate my fears.

      You read the PATRIOT USA act; good on you -- you're one up on me. But did you read the article? It's claimed that the number of subpoenas to telcos is doubling every month. That is insane. There are reports of law enforcement agencies insinuating that asking for subpoenas is un-patriotic. That is also insane. I am reminded of every police state that will get me modded down as flamebait for mentioning.

      No, I don't think they're gonna start rounding people up for the ovens any time soon. But will any good come out of this huge, overweening invasion of privacy? You can argue that these are relatively small steps, and I'd be hard pressed to come up with a good rejoinder. But so many small steps, in such a short time (seven months! seven!) are frightening. I can't be the only one afraid that people -- ordinary people like you and me -- are trying to wade through a morass of data, trying to pick out The Bad Guys, pressured more and more to come up with Results, and being given, in contrast with the pre-September 11th culture, virtual carte blanche to grab whatever they want, and browbeat into submission everyone who dares disagree..

      I'm Canadian. I'm not one of those gung-ho idiots in beer commercials (watch some Cdn. TV some time, you'll see what I mean); I've kept a relatively critical eye on my nation and my government, and gotten over a juvenile dislike of Americans, and I'm comfortable with the idea of moving away from Canada at some point, probably permanently. My wife would like nothing better than to move to Chicago; she loves the city, loves the idea of the city. This article makes me afraid to go there for a visit, let alone to live. I'm starting to wonder how you folks down there do it, or put up with it.

      I understand that trusting people works, mostly. But this quote really resonated with me:

      "We endow government with tremendous power -- power to arrest you, take away your property, take away your life, destroy your reputation, take your children away from you," Dempsey said. "I think those powers in the hands of human beings, acting under pressure, with the best of intentions, facing time deadlines in a world of limited resources, those kinds of powers need to be surrounded with a thicket of rules."

      I could not possibly have said it better.

    • The FBI could not watch what the hacker did on the computer, even with the permission of the owner of the computer, because it was assumed that it violated the privacy of the hacker

      Are you on crack? If I give the FBI access to my computer, they can do what they like with it, just as if I give anyone else access to it. The same as if I consented to any other kind of search of my property. There are no provisions for hackers' rights while they're busy busting into someone else's computer. Any protection offered against search and seizure is there to protect the owner of the property being searched, not some criminal trespassing on that property. If somebody breaks into my apartment and there is a cop in the hallway, are you suggesting that the cop would not be allowed to enter the apartment even if I go in the hallway and ask him to?

      I like almost all of the changes that the Act introduced, and I have been amazed at the clarity that the bill has.

      You cite one example of a provision, and you get that one totally wrong. What about "sneak and peek"? What about indefinite detention? What about the new definition of terrorism? Did you even read the EFF summary [eff.org]?

  • Orwellian??!?!!?! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jsimon12 (207119) <tzzhc4 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:49PM (#3370895) Homepage
    Anything named the "Patriot Act" has to be bad for you. I personally am frightened everytime I hear the term "Homeland Security" reminds me too much of being in Nazi Germany, or Oceania.
  • What have they asked you for lately ?

    I'm not joking ;) Yeah, I know /. is not a telco or ISP but I'll bet Someone has asked you for Something by now.

    Anyone else here feel safe enough to post 'anonymous' or otherwise on what they have been asked for ?

  • That's how real terrorists communicate, they record their secret memos on Celine Dion MP3's. You can only hear them if you play them backwards. Try it and see for yourself!
  • This will just force the general populace to use strong crypto - a good step for freedom.

    Public opinion always went along the lines of "If it is hard to eavesdrop, why use encryption."

    Now it'll be "I bet the IRS is looking at my spending habits on a whim - Better encrypt huh?"

  • But do they really want to read all the spam pr0n mail I get? I dont even bother reading it.
  • The real worry... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smack_attack (171144) on Friday April 19, 2002 @12:40AM (#3371182) Homepage
    Right now we are lucky... lucky because there is a giant imbalance between information and the means to process it.

    But that gap is going to shrink... as more programmers and database analysts get hired and design methods for extracting the information given to them.

    Do you really think the government's insatiable hunger for information is going to diminish? The key to finding terrorists is not in looking at their criminal history, racial profiling or by their favorite books.The key is in finding those who dissent against certain policies of the US and take a best guess at whether they are committed enough to lash out against them that they are willing to take their own life or other's lives in order to acheive attention for their cause.

    So think about that the next time you complain about gun laws or taxes or the war on drugs or whether your speeding ticket was unfair. Because when the supply of information is dwarfed by the ability to interpret it, it may be your front door that gets kicked down at three in the morning.
    • The key is in finding those who dissent against certain policies of the US and take a best guess at whether they are committed enough to lash out against them that they are willing to take their own life or other's lives in order to acheive attention for their cause.

      And these people of course would be living in the US where this bill applies ? Sometimes with people like Timothy McVeigh that is true, but lots of times it is not. This is an act that is in reality going to find the McVeigh's of this world, not the bin Ladens. Sure that saves hundreds of US citizens being killed by another US citizen, and if that is the aim the obvious question is...

      Why wasn't this enacted after Oklahoma ?

      The key to eliminating terrorism, and after all that must be the aim. Is to reduce the causes of terrorism and the backing for that. This means have a decent policy abroad and not being seen as the big Bully on the block who throws toys out of the pram.

      And at the end of it all remember that the US Goverment were warned by the French goverment that dangerous terrorists were heading their way.. and they did... nothing. A database analyst means nothing if the people supposedly in charge can drop the ball in such a spectacular manner.

      This is an act squarely at the American people out of the pages of 1984. The enemy changes, bin Laden, Taliban, Iraq... who else.. but the goverment retains the myth of a continous struggle.

      George Orwell was only out by 18 years, not bad.

  • by jcsehak (559709) on Friday April 19, 2002 @12:42AM (#3371188) Homepage

    If they're sending so many subpoenas that ISPs can't keep up, then doesn't that make it harder for the really important requests to go through? I mean, if this keeps up, then won't it give real terrorists a "buffer zone" of time in which they can send unencrypted emails and act on them before the feds can even get the emails from the ISPs?
  • Priority Problem (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ender77 (551980)
    This is good example of why Priority downloads and uploads never worked well in internet desighns. As soon as someone relized that if they set their downloads to high priority then they will get super speeds on all their transfers. Unfortunetely, everybody else soon did the same and it ended up actually SLOWING the system down or just flat out crashing it.

    Something similiar will probably happen with this. The companies wont be able to keep up with the demand and will probably close down or get the tech indistry to bribe congress into repelling (or at least limit) the law since they are loosing money doing this.
  • Holy cow, people.. If this one isn't a hotbutton issue, I surely don't know what is!
    I didn't *think* that I signed onto a low traffic /. channel, but now I'm starting to wonder...
    The (so-called) 'patriot' act is a burning bag of shit on the front porch of the framers of our Constitution!
    When the Supremes get their mitts on this POS legislation, they'll tear it apart! It'll be Hideous!
    I'm at a loss here.

  • Please read my (somewhat dated) article, Why You Should Use Encryption [goingware.com] as well as Is This the America I Love? [goingware.com].

    Thank you for your attention.

  • It's good to know that there's still a need for talented software engineers in these turbulent economic times.

    Only U.S. Citizens need apply [cia.gov]. Relocation to the Washington D.C. area is required.

    They prefer you apply online!

  • Who comes up with these contrived names anyways?

    Do they pay someone to do this, or do US lawmakers have nothing to do better themselves than try to come up with these silly acronyms that are just PR buzz?
  • So I guess from now on when I send an email to a friend that simply says "George Bush is a pinhead" it'll have to be
    -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE----- Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux) hQIOAwVSepWpVQlCEAf+MdwQMqtDxIXtDJAbeGRcu7MRywvIcd SfhXODxXbWt3cw EV9UA5Kbh2Ef7/hSuMbAvfl9MAUJHJq80al5ozksOMG5omDktp JDrAUCXukILv/g LsUQnmALIh0N4FpZhKoSc88HjAGCUbhDXl3vFslMzEwTdhHXPb s/XQsDafBOWUrn Y9djLXHcIj9UakEDP8fNaAAh6j+cprMYUvcADdEbUru++BfvIA bKgw4XPgfMYfi3 i93CR+zipRscXvCgnc8/S2m87U7SG/Ry7b3OO34AoIj+tqFbyi pPmxkzSwhOpXJL RHjPxhHFA3+nMqsx+/5TISXcHzL86/VriUDRNSRNCwgAu7Upe3 9Y63DwG/p9zOl9 xlo7PLR5vBipcfyWGLPFkqYUNjvmtQrrA+GuFShLr+UC2XQNIq PXs6eDVyR7+RrE YdvjU2IPnhx7/zMMVSPTLf9Hlu82HJxfHG5ex6bdWpxsIvpufy ln9f3K3bPYYfP4 k1iM9uAFQGLjxkV8TfDAb9YJp7nnTOU7LsN+KZ0WuVTK/Pxgfj kJR9/CTRq1/dC3 HXbLpbceZUfXoE53mgjyaaJQrpL2QeLd0YbbzhZKdLORgqqWCL HycyDuINvcVQ1q orfi6GrQS21w1qVA2jYqBxc4HkigkkyzLV0S25ijhyK4kykrCT A/lvjFZn9tGqFO 3YUCDgOnvfcrNPaeXBAIAK7TFRy1ggwQIIjQ1gRgP2SnPQ9mbg 1KVpjSbW9yyMnt 4LSwfbAUhFpamJezntES7zQ1jBXXa69obCT6QDNclwTiQ3EnsT x9IjR4rZfQj64m q4UdvhoS0jnLwzYx7rYG/G/WYSX4RFd38s3qPkDT6J7RkgxxIQ TLatVS2l1bLjK0 +4uxEeP+gpo+VblA/yVNpcOBb+EkRCHgTNjjYDgpKZNRpKtuPU NuvTJrtMuUfpVi HQqIQ2V36ALEapJRMXmEOPe2/DHZoRXYI2KfQ1qH9o4VzJfVUZ 4HSYElS/pYldQT vot7dfo+teR+MuPxcPLbRtbhEEYkf4rsy+rL1tRGZr8H/ju5LV FYAXCtHCwsCfPv a1SCJp6/IoMedeAfDANpJnkLZ0kXsbBpFgX26pnKJToWOkbmvY 4pvaedXtXOSGX+ 9HIe+6JjmdrnZMfeCechUwDJrrRZotMCohRT3QyuXQZtc+DDgQ pISoL9XLOCLgME kXQCVDqSkvWTVglw34Wg6fBp2WHJfS5iPvCpt/sPvrKvfQSdew Y80fS3zjyXObm/ 9zhtcCjNALaLwxuoWrZs8pnXlYUKLuyxlNEbxpIt4Uyl5eDvSB Kq3C19wwLrdSf9 ihvHZ73obNnewz5WLSJhmoyLED4pVM2JD6CZNg4CiL6nOCwLKE 29pGcXVxQy48BC wqDSwDAB7cAMQ2YufiXBDbwwZBYwoilEAO0IEfY8290IBEZMa0 1lDnYCvtgEMEcq 3oInK2jea8C4kDbYx5Wpn3XC+Pa6VdlEBKS5l/ovL7S261bdwy QpghXEY4QFLs+Q YIqEyYlhcn69Wk8LGwelwFIgPlVHegP8ZnT/Y9l60YqVKCSdJQ CrtOj5Wjl20j/b I/aAQIvFtpzYIczaSjhdgHoQwQ2+y6iZ/l8S5cou28J3MyPS0V qcS+9YFiGuQ7UD A8A95DmPt3lfut09si3GkVRss0ufQuqFPiU4Ec+E6YnCnwyyzt ms/7gjOL8pU2GY h992mdo= =I9gC -----END PGP MESSAGE-----

    Bandwidth is a terrible thing to waste :)

  • 1. Install TLS-enabled SMTP daemons to "opportunistically" encrypt as much email as possible.
    2. Use PGP/GPG when practical
    3. Use SSH for all remote accesses and file transfers (aren't you already?)
    4. Install and use IPSEC (e.g., FreeSWAN) if possible
    5. If you use IMAP or POP, install SSL-encrypted versions of their clients and servers
    6. Set up your own SMTP servers (with TLS enabled) instead of relying on your ISP's servers
    7. Support https on all your web servers, even for open data.

    And anything else that will help make the encrypted haystack just a little bigger.

  • What we need here, aside from the ben franklin quotes and correct acronyms for anti terrorism act - is a new RFC:

    A protocol for quickly getting email/internet content to government agencies:

    Should include an open stream of info going direct from the agency to the telco/ISP, which can be opened and closed when both parties agree to a subpoena and to a filter which will allow them both to get that info. It's not fair to get the poor sysadmins to have to do all the dirty work!

    To help the agency and telco interact, they should appoint 2 mediators: one within the telco to approve the filter and the subpoena, and the other to ask for it at the agency, and to have open access to all the data at the ISP, but sworn to keep it to themselves until the legal bits are approved...

    As for wether it's right or wrong, I think they can look at whatever they want. Provided we can look at them back. Open information!! Purveying Access To Real Information Over The world. (might need a counter-RFC...).

    Ale
  • The part that gets me is the library book thing. Not because I'm reading about explosives and poinson, but because I'm getting a shitload of computer books along with things like Masters of Deception, the Hacker Ethic, Takedown, and so forth. I do not break into computers and generally avoid things that are illegal, but wouldn't a library record like that draw some attention? How about the fact that I later went up to the central county library to have a look at a non-circulating utility map of the county?

    Yes, these things may be suspicious, but I was sure I had the right to the privacy to do such things until recently. No, I wouldn't have checked out these books if I thought the government might be monitoring who checks out certain books, and its a shame that in the future I will feel hesitant to check out some of those books. I really don't know how to feel about it. Should I avoid checking out 'hacking' books, should I avoid computer books from the library entirely, or should I just go on as I always have? Will the government really go through and find everyone who has checked out Masters of Deception and run through the rest of their library record to look for patterns, or am I just being paranoid?

"You tweachewous miscweant!" -- Elmer Fudd

Working...