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DoJ Mulls Tracking Picture Uploads 169

Posted by Zonk
from the those-game-characters-swore-they'd-been-developed-18-years-ago dept.
Dominus Suus passed us a link to a C|Net article about a disturbing threat to privacy from the Justice Department. According to the article, a private meeting was held Wednesday between Justice officials and telecom industry representatives. With individuals from companies such as AOL and Comcast looking on, the officials continued overtures to increase data retention by ISPs on American citizens. This week, they were specifically looking to have records kept of photo uploads. In this way, and 'in case police determine the content is illegal and choose to investigate,' an easy trail from A to Z will be available. The article provides a good deal of background on the Bush Administration's history with data retention, with ties to events even older than the Bush presidency. "The Justice Department's request for information about compliance costs echoes a decade-ago debate over wiretapping digital telephones, which led to the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. To reduce opposition by telephone companies, Congress set aside $500 million for reimbursement and the legislation easily cleared both chambers by voice votes. Once Internet providers come up with specific figures, privacy advocates worry, Congress will offer to write a generous check to cover all compliance costs and the process will repeat itself."
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DoJ Mulls Tracking Picture Uploads

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  • And just who is going to pay for the ungodly amount of storage this would require?
  • Won't they have to outlaw https and ssh in order to track uploads to secure sites?
  • At this point, I think the US Supreme Court should draw a line, once and for all.
  • The Bush administration is the most corrupt administration the U.S. has ever had. Here is my summary of the corruption: George W. Bush comedy and tragedy [futurepower.org].

    I find it scary how little U.S. citizens know about the activities of their government. Part of the reason is that the Bush administration uses the same method of abuse Microsoft uses. Both exploit the fact that it is difficult for people to defend against many, many abuses, each small in themselves. Both, in my opinion, use sophisticated public relatio
    • by garcia (6573) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:06AM (#18216902) Homepage
      I hope you will write your own summary of U.S. government corruption and send it to your elected representatives.

      The same corrupt ones that are tacking on pet project spending bills to the "War on Terror" because they know that fucker won't veto his big project?

      I find it scary that you say that Bush is the corrupt one and think that by sending the other side a letter they will give a shit.
      • by k1e0x (1040314) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:44AM (#18217470) Homepage
        Yeah, its not just Bush, this sort of stuff has been going on for years and years.. its just getting to a point where people are finaly able to see it.
      • Or to the present. Governments have been corrupt for as long as it's been around; it's usually just a question of "how much". I think most Republicans were well aware of government corruption in the Years Gone By, especially when Congress was mostly Democrat - indeed, it's one of the reasons why the Republicans were the Party of Small Government. But with the past 6 years or so, it seems that Democrats have opened their eyes to see corruption while the Republicans have become the oblivious ones (or complic
        • It seems in our country that whichever party is in power becomes corrupt and eventually the other party calls them out on it and things swing back the other way. The problem is that then the very same party that called out the corruption then becomes corrupt themselves. It seems the old adage, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" is still as true as it ever was. The only difference between communism and our current system is that we have two corrupt parties to choose from instead of just
        • When you get down to it, if I have to name the nation's most Corrupt Administration off the top of my head, I'd say Andrew Jackson.

          Agreed! When Jackson forced the Cherokee living in the Carolinas, and northern Georgia, west on the Trail Of Tears [rosecity.net] he was sued in the USSC. When the Justices ruled against him Jackson said he was the commander in chief and if they wanted to stop him then they'd have to get their own army.

          Mr. "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!" Jackson.

          Yeap!

    • by oldwindways (934421) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:17AM (#18216978) Homepage Journal
      Corruption in Washington is nothing new. Over a century ago, the Grant Administration [wikipedia.org] was plagued by a number of embezzlement schemes involving members of the cabinet, relatives of the president and his close associates. The parallels are striking when you compare Cheney's Halliburton with the Bristow (Secretary of the Treasury) Whisky Ring, the Belknap (Secretary of War) Trading Post incident, Jay Gould's and James Fisk' triggering of Black Friday, and the Sanborn Incident.

      Every time accusations were made, the Republicans would "wave the bloody shirt," claiming that the southern Democrats were trying to destroy the government just as they had in the civil war (not unlike the call to national security and invoking the fear of terrorism we see in politics today).

      Some things never change, and it seems like politics is just as partisan as it ever was. For an interesting take of the chaos of the Grant years and American society, I suggest reading Gore Vidal's 1876 [wikipedia.org], while historical fiction, it attempts to adhere strictly to the facts of what was going on during that chaotic election year. The parallels to the 2000 Presidential Election are quite interesting as well; the only thing missing are hanging chads.

    • The government isnt corrupt. Its just not acting in the nation's best interests.

      Which is why I'm in Australia. :)
      • And the Australian Gov is not corrupt? I thought our leaders were cut from the same filthy cloth.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Zephiria (941257)
      Okay look, is their really a need to compare microsoft, that makes software, with the USgov which activly kills its citizens and doesn't give a damn about the rest of them.
    • Your article on the hidden history of the bush family dealings was revealing. It is a sad state of affairs when such information is only disseminated through the labors of caring virtuous citizens and is completely ignored by the corporately controlled media.

      Given the administrations current track record on warrentless wiretapping one can only imagine what the executive branch would do with unfettered access to all internet access archives. Government surveillance was a key tool used to oppress dissident

    • I always thought FDR's attempt to cram through unconstitutional New Deal laws by trying to pack the Supreme Court was a pretty underhanded, corrupt move. Wouldn't you agree?

      The bad thing about this administration is that it has a cooperative legislature and largely indifferent judiciary.
    • The laws restrict spying on individuals but does nothing to protect the statistical analysis of any information they may intercept. This allows the govenrnment and their agents control and insight into financial and political realms. With a corrupt administration, this is the equal to a crystal ball that can be used for personal / corporate gain.
    • What is your opinion of the earlier law mentioned in the article...the one passed during the Clinton administration?
    • anyone else see the similarities between what the DOJ is asking ISP's to do with retaining customer data, and what is already asked of gun store owners, which is to retain all their records of gun purchases? I don't want the govt coming for my uploads or my guns.
    • Look, congress will do nothing just because you wrote a letter. If they were really wanting to clean up, then they would doing such things as push to have Sibel Edmunds ungagged.

      But what congress can not handle is having light put on them. If you send an e-mail to the congress man, send it to a reporter. In fact, the smart thing is to target several investigative reporters and let them know of any response from the pol. Once a congressman is looking at the media, they tend to get nervous and will push hard
      • Look, congress will do nothing just because you wrote a letter. If they were really wanting to clean up, then they would doing such things as push to have Sibel Edmonds ungagged.

        It would be nice if Sibel Edmonds were ungagged however as with many other dreams I've had I doubt it will ever happen. If people knew just how bad things were in the FBI's translation unit they'd loose all belief in the FBI. Not having read or heard about her for some months I went ahead and News Googled her and there was all

        • If you read the link that he points to, it shows that Sibel Edmunds may finally be able to testify by simply connecting the dots between known info. If she does, this will probably cause Congress to act and finally push to have her gag order removed (even if it takes down one or two top dems).

          Gads, I hope it is true.
          • it shows that Sibel Edmunds may finally be able to testify by simply connecting the dots between known info.

            Maybe I missed it but I went up to the top and didn't see a link about Sibel Edmunds, except the one I posted, which says this. Maybe someone else posted another one.

            Gads, I hope it is true.

            I'd love to see Sibel being able to speak out without a sword hanging over her head.

            Falcon
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by budgenator (254554)
      Oh Bullshit, the Bush Administration isn't really more corrupt than even the Clinton Administration. Bill Clinton was a willing Bottom for Big Corporate Entertainment, now the Bushies want to track every independently produced image or video distributed. It's all the logically continuation of the previous steps; the next step will be making increasingly draconian record keeping requirements similar to the porn industry's 2257 Regulations. [wikipedia.org] At first It'll be more like having to keep model releases on all dist
  • join the EFF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gonk (20202) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:58AM (#18216630) Homepage
    www.eff.org
  • Not far enough! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why stop at uploads? Let's track downloads too! And not just images - lets do web traffic, news, mail, chat. Let's record ALL on line activity. That's the most comprehensive solution. That way no criminals can possibly get away with anything. Unless they use encryption... Or other peoples insecure wireless AP's... Or TOR... OR - you get the idea. Well, OK criminals will probably still be able to get away with a lot, but the average American will be under tight surveillance and we can make damn sure that *th
    • by Eternal Vigilance (573501) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @08:56AM (#18216862)
      A few thousands, or even tens of thousands, of motivated criminals (outside of the ones who "own" the country, of course) are of no real threat to the established order - they will almost always prey on the populace.

      A few million, or tens of millions, of motivated citizens are absolutely a threat to rule by the few - which is why anything that allows the populace to realize their predicament and then organize to change it must absolutely be stopped.


      There's free as in speech, free as in beer, and free as in range. Americans are free in the latter sense.
    • Why stop at just Americans? It could track everyone in the world who isn't a hardened criminal or paranoid.

      We could make sure no 'normal' person, in the world, emails pictures of their kids, gets a bit to 'extreme' in their home made porn, or wears the wrong colour tie in photos.
      • We could make sure no 'normal' person, in the world, emails pictures of their kids, gets a bit to 'extreme' in their home made porn, or wears the wrong colour tie in photos.

        Remindes me of a case that came up a few years ago while taking a photography class in college. Some parent took photos of their child(ren) whiile in the bathtub. They dropped off the film and went to pick up up later. When they claimed the photos they were arrested for child pornography. I find this sad, growing up it was common

  • A hosting issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hack slash (1064002) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @08:12AM (#18216688)
    The article says it would be up to the web sites to store backups of the images with relevant date/time/source IP data, but what if you host pictures on your own ADSL or whatever connection, would you still be liable to store copies with the relevant source information?
  • by Otefred8 (1070306) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @08:41AM (#18216792)
    I know, 4 days old, but still rather relevant,from eff.org (http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_02.php#0051 40):

    "Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against the Department of Justice today, demanding records about secret new court orders that supposedly authorize the government's highly controversial electronic surveillance program that intercepts and analyzes millions of Americans' communications.

    When press reports forced the White House to acknowledge the program in December of 2005, the administration claimed that the massive program could be conducted without warrants or judicial authorization of any kind. However, in January of this year, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) had authorized collection of some communications and that the surveillance program would now operate under its approval. EFF's suit comes after the Department of Justice failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records concerning the purported changes in the program (...)"

    Seriously.. I echo the former post; join the EFF. Changes are ONLY going to take place through efficient lobbying (but then it also works really well, Halliburton has proved that beyond doubt..)
    • Changes are ONLY going to take place through efficient lobbying

      Efficient lobbying does nothing to cut the government off from their supply of money. History has shown that if the citizens rise up and protest then a subcommittee is formed to resolve the differences in opinion. The major talking points of the public protest are identified and the bill is restructured to neatly sidestep those issues. Five years later the same proposal is reintroduced with the modifications necessary to negate the debate points of any public protest.

      The only real solution is to quit fu

  • Except to enforce property rights for the elite few who can afford to buy them? It's certainly not for investigating corruption in government, nor upholding the Constitution, nor, really, for anything lately. After all, Habeus Corpus isn't actually MENTIONED in the Constitution. Nor the right to privacy. Nor is the right to breathe air. Therefore these things don't exist.

    Oh, there was the one thing about the purjury of one President in an endless fishing-expedition investigation into a two-bit, decade old l
  • > DoJ Mulls Tracking Picture Uploads

    There's still a great deal to be said for the dialup BBS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @08:55AM (#18216856)
    I think this has already happened. I live in south-east Washington state, 60 miles south of the NSA's cowboy echelon site. About 6 years ago, a huge fiber install project seemed to cover every dirt road in the county. Population density here is 0-20 residents / square mile in rural areas. None of this build-up resulted in any change in the available phone service ( POTS only ). All the fiber lines seem to originate from the Fed's BPA fat pipe ( the same one The Dalles Google is attached to ) and run up these dirt roads. They seem to aggrigate at Goldendale Wa. and branch to Yakima down highway 97, Although some seem to head up into the unpopulated mountains. Urban dwellers are used to fiber on every street, but orange poles on every dirt road cutting through wheat fields seems strange. I probably should shut up now.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you look at the yakima NSA site with google earth you can see the 10 or so satellite dishes, the power plant and fuel storage, a waste treatment plant, service buildings, the one story complex and to the north, about 500 huge piles of excavated earth. A fire inspector let slip a few years ago that the installation has 100's of underground levels. Your tax dollars at work.
  • And how will they block ascii art?
  • Damn. Now I'm going to have to be careful to run traceroute before uploading anything to a server, just in case it goes via the US and some future law change makes uploading pictures of kittens illegal retrospectively. No way do I want my pictures sitting in a US government owned database, especially with their attitude towards applying [wikipedia.org] US law [freesklyarov.org] to foreigners. [theregister.co.uk]

  • Republicans bring you smaller, less intrusive government.
    • >>Republicans bring you smaller, less intrusive government.

      One of the reason many of us Republicans don't like Bush, either. I was not pleased when he ended up being our candidate.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Who did you vote for in 2004?
          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            You're not ACMENEWSLLC [slashdot.org], who apparently is the kind of Republican who votes for Bush, but doesn't feel responsible because they wanted him not to be a Republican. Consistent with invading Iraq, but not feeling responsible because they wanted it to greet us with flowers and hugs.

            But I am curious. Were you a registered Republican in 2004? Did you vote in the primaries? For whom? Did you support Badnarik's lawsuit challenging the Ohio results?
            • I don't know what ACMENEWSLLC means so I can't say whether I am or am not.

              But I am curious. Were you a registered Republican in 2004? Did you vote in the primaries? For whom?

              Since the first tyme I registered to vote I've registered as independent or no party affiliation. I prefer to do my own thinking and not what some party wants. I've voted for candidates from 5 different parties, Democrats, Green, Libertarian, Reform, and Republican. And as I've only been registered in two states and both require

              • by Doc Ruby (173196)
                ACMENEWSLLC was the user to whose post (to which I linked) I replied, to which post of mine you then replied.

                It's interesting that you didn't hear that Badnarik and Cobb sued for an Ohio recount in 2004 [google.com]. There was quite a lot of discussion, especially after House and Senate Democrats forced debate on certifying Ohio's Electoral ballots [wikipedia.org]. I'd think a true independent, who'd even temporarily join parties just to promote individual candidates, would have heard if their candidate were suing for a recount. Especi
                • I'd think a true independent, who'd even temporarily join parties just to promote individual candidates, would have heard if their candidate were suing for a recount.

                  I don't pay as much attention as I should I admit. Right now I'm just trying to live day by day, it's been a struggle for me since I survived a terrible accident which left me with a diability. While I was in a coma the docs told my family it would be a miracle if I lived but I'd argue with them now.

                  Falcon
                  • by Doc Ruby (173196)
                    I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you make it, and eventually thrive. Sounds like you've already gotten thru the worst. Good luck.
                    • and eventually thrive. Sounds like you've already gotten thru the worst. Good luck.

                      Thanks. In a sense some say I was thriving, after going through my medical records the docs and therapists I saw said it was amazing I was doing so well. However most things are a struggle for me.

                      Falcon
      • Maybe it's the "everything is bigger in Texas" mentality; look at what LBJ did to JFK's little scrimmage in Viet Nam.
  • Its all about terrorism, child porn, and piracy I am sick to death of them beating this dead horse. Why dont they just get right down to it and ...

    1)put cameras in our homes. (They'll just check them when there is a suspicion of a crime)

    2)ban all sex out side marriage

    3)ban all non secular music.

    4)ban all non missionary position sex

    5)ban all violence on TV

    6)ban all gay people

    7)ban the GPL

    Use installed camera to enforce all banned.

    8)tag us and record where we go with gps ( they'll only che

    • by bjackson1 (953136)

      3)ban all non secular music.

      Sounds like a pretty good idea to me!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Russ Nelson (33911)
      ITYM fascist.
    • by Catbeller (118204)
      1)put cameras in our homes. (They'll just check them when there is a suspicion of a crime)
      - Wait.
      2)ban all sex out side marriage
      - Effectively done is some of the redder states.
      3)ban all non secular music.
      -
      4)ban all non missionary position sex
      - non-*procreative* sex. See last week's story on a proposal to check prospective married couples for evidence of procreation abilities.
      5)ban all violence on TV
      - except for coverage of our glorious war against Terror
      6)ban all gay people
      - see 2
      7)ban the GPL
      - not an issue
  • In Capitalist West government demand picture easy to trace back to you.
    In Soviet Union government demand airbrushed picture leave no trace of you.
  • US Law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:19AM (#18217320) Homepage Journal
    One peculiarity of US law is its way of breaking down different forms of communications, a system that is based on archaic technologies.

    IANAL, but this is pretty much my understanding of the situation.

    Privacy of electronic communications is protected mainly by the Electronic Communication Act of 1986, which consists of three parts:

    Title 1, Wiretap Act: protections communicaiton that have some kind of audio component (paradigm: phone calls)

    Title 2, Stored Communications Act: protects electronic communiations while they are in transit or in temporary storage (paradigm: email held in spools, e.g. the old arpanet mail which often sent email through UUCP over 300 baud phone links to reach computers that weren't directly connected)

    Title 3, Pen Register Act: prevents placing devices on phone lines to record phone numbers.

    Each title of ECPA was written with electronic communication technology as it stood ca 1985, which means that by 1990 it was clearly obsolete. But there is no such thing as an obsolete law, or at least obsolete laws continue to operate in unexpted ways. In this case, the provisions of ECPA have been extended by process of analogy to many situations that weren't even considered in 1985. Many curious questions arise. For example, it would appear that the government cannot rifle through email spool directories without a warrant. But what about when it is delivered to your in box? Many people use their in boxes as filing systems. It would be one thing if it was stored on your computer, but what if it is stored at an ISP?

    Or this: the government can't put a pen register on your phone lines -- basically a mechanical device that records the electrical singals on your phone line and makes a paper tape of the numbers you call. Constitutionally they are not prevented from doing so because you are disclosing the phone numbers to a third party -- the phone company. So what about email logs? They are covered by the same constitutional doctrine, but don't appear to be covered by ECPA, which envisions installing a device to reocord transient signals.

    Or this: what if there were an image format that included audio commentary? Would this trigger the Wiretap act? Is this why the AG is talking about picture uploads and not movie uploads? Note once again the capriciousness of US law.

    As a non-lawyer, I don't really follow all the ins and outs of the developments in information privacy law, because it's not really worth my time. There's no way a nonspecialist can keep track of the twists and turns of case law. The bottom line is this: unlike the EU, we do not have a fundamental, legally protected right to information and communication privacy in the US. The strategy of US lawmakers has been to avoid the recognition of any new rights, but to curb specific abuses when they reach the outrage level.

    The result is the capriciousness we have seen. A non-lawyer can't really know what is rights are vis a vis the government, because it depends on a rather haphazard patchwork of statues, viewed through the series of lenses that are judicial analogizing.

    The courts have to operate this way, because people who feel outraged by violations of what common sense tells them is a right of privacy keep bringing lawsuits trying to employ a broken down system of statues that implicitly assume those rights, but don't explicitly secure them.

    We have reached the point in the US where an ordinary person really can't know what his rights are. Special interests, and officials of a statist bent, have found so many ways to violate the spirit of individual and community liberty embodied in the Constitution, while avoiding technical illegalities. Constitutional law has been stretched to its limits to cover rights clearly implied by the Constitution (e.g. substantive due process), but this process leaves protection of individual and group rights thin and patchy.

    I believe is time for a new declaration of human rights in the US along the lines of
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Russ Nelson (33911)
      Stop thinking about your constitutional rights, and start thinking that the constitution doesn't give the feds the ability to tap our phones. If it's not specifically called out, they can't do it.
    • Yeah, what we really need to do is get rid of a document that explicitly enumerates a subset of our natural rights, and explicitly states that it is only a subset in favor of a document that purports to grant specific rights "Except where prohibited by law."
  • Is that none of the big political blogs care one bit about this. Sure, they'll write volumes about things like the NSA wiretapping program, but it's so far been largely up to smaller blogs to track this issue. I've been following it [codemonkeyramblings.com] now since the first serious proposal about a year ago. What gives? Why is it so hard to get non-geeks to care about an issue that amounts to one of the biggest police state advances in the last twenty years?

    The only problem with this issue is that it will cost them a lot of mon

  • If you ever work with the feds esp the DOD or other organizations, you will find that the best way to hide things is in the open as something else. In addition, leave all sorts of nonsense data to make it hard to find (steganography). It is actually how we do the bulk of our work. Such as most secret facilities are amongst the general public and looks like a store or a general building.

    One of the problems with TIA(Total information Awareness) was the idea of taking in ALL the data and processing it. What
  • freefall (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moxley (895517) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:51AM (#18217526)
    Unfortunately the Supreme Court isn't going to help us.

    We live in an authoritarian capito-fascistic state. You can choose to ignore it, you can tell yourself that it doesn't affect you personally (yet); but that won't change the fact. We have government that reinterprets laws and standards to mean what they decide they need to mean to fit their agenda at the mmoment (which usually, in all moments, is CONTROL), it's a system of institutionalized corruption.

    Electing someone from the either large party isn't going to help us - I mean, there are a few exceptions in both major parties, but none of the big names really.

    I think that the people are going to have to find a way to organize and save our constitution. The system will not save itself because it is compromised. It could be hacked or manipulated and forced to work for us should large groups of people be willing to stand up for their rights - but unfortunately that's not going to happen by voting or by any of the rigged or tilted mechanisms in place.

    What people who say things like "I don't mind, I'm not doing anything illegal" fail to realize is that it doesn't matter - because once the entire system of surviellance and control is in place, once you have no privacy or anonimity it is too late - because then the definition of what is legal and what is illegal can be changed.

    It's not like they ever give your rights or your expectations of personal liberty back once they have been taken away - even when these things are promised (like sunset provisions) at the time such legislation is proposed.

      Aside from that, what if you were at one time in drug rehab - or are a member of a group like AA and all of these records are stored forever and then down the line the whole world can find out all of your private personal stuff.

    The slippery slope is no more - we're almost in freefall.
    • by Cheeze (12756)
      What? I can't hear you over American Idol playing on the Comcast DVR in the background.
    • by evought (709897)

      Another very serious problem is that it is so difficult to maintain a chain of evidence in an electronic world. Will the ISPs take proper precautions to secure their data and logs from attackers and forgeries? If the DoJ drags you into court claiming you uploaded an illegal file two years ago, how do you defend yourself? Logs are just data, data is easily edited. Without electronic signatures on every log entry, it is easy to just add a new one or modify an existing entry. Who would be able to tell?

      A digi

  • My favorite part of the article: Only universities and libraries would be excluded, one participant said. "There's a PR concern with including the libraries, so we're not going to include them," the participant quoted the Justice Department as saying. "We know we're going to get a pushback, so we're not going to do that."

    They don't have time to deal with entities which give a "pushback" when there are so many companies, politicians, and citizens who are ready to roll over, bark, and beg on command. Ter
  • Make Gonzales look stupid. What terrorist who's a real threat is going to upload pictures to a web server. Hello? Write to your congressman.

  • The more you tighten your grip, the more people will learn about Tor (The Onion Router), the more they will setup proxies, and the more that the Internet will get clogged with useless extra traffic that didn't need to happen if you just left people more alone.
  • There can be no surer way to popularize TOR(The Onion Router) than to implement this sort of surveillance.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.

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