Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy United States Your Rights Online

US Policy Would Allow Government Access to Any Email 516

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the what's-the-date-again dept.
An anonymous reader writes "National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is currently helping to draft a new Cyber-Security Policy that could make the debate over warrantless wiretaps seem like a petty squabble. The new policy would allow the government to access to the content of any email, file transfer, or web search."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Policy Would Allow Government Access to Any Email

Comments Filter:
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:29PM (#22042076)
    And what is it going to do about my encryption keys?

    Not that I support this, but I sure as hell don't intend to make it easy for people to invade my privacy when I'm not doing anything illegal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
      And what is it going to do about my encryption keys?

      Well, considering that you live your life with such privacy paranoia that you feel you have to post AC and therefore probably aren't much threat to the government ... probably nothing.
      • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by WaltBusterkeys (1156557) on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:13PM (#22042962)
        In contrast, I'm posting not as AC and taking the risk.

        That said, there are NO sources for this statement. The PDF link gives a 404 and they don't explain what they meant other than using broad terms. It sounds like a lot of FUD without a source to back it up. Does anybody have the PDF? If not then I'd like to see more sources than just an un-signed editorial on Raw Story.
        • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Shining Celebi (853093) on Monday January 14, 2008 @09:12PM (#22044454) Homepage

          That said, there are NO sources for this statement. The PDF link gives a 404 and they don't explain what they meant other than using broad terms. It sounds like a lot of FUD without a source to back it up. Does anybody have the PDF? If not then I'd like to see more sources than just an un-signed editorial on Raw Story.

          If you RTFA, it's from The New Yorker. Or, at least it was in TFA when I read it earlier today before Slashdot posted it.

          I'm too lazy to check to see about the link now, but fortunately, since I thought the article interesting, I saved it. So here it is [googlepages.com]. It's an 18 page PDF, The proposal is mentioned on page 11.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LordEd (840443)

          In contrast, I'm posting not as AC and taking the risk.
          Out of curiosity, what are the risks associated with posting a message at Slashdot (not including the generic 'being a geek' risks)
      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ecitizen (1219858) on Monday January 14, 2008 @09:13PM (#22044476)
        As Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." In this case, the Supreme Court ruled years ago that privacy is a freedom. If you look at what the FBI did to Martin Luther King years ago in their attempts to discredit him, you'll see what happens when you lose your privacy. If you give government power, eventually, they will abuse it. --E-Citizen
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gnick (1211984) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:45PM (#22042444) Homepage

      And what is it going to do about my encryption keys?
      If things go really badly, they could pass legislation similar to the UK's that makes it illegal to withhold encryption keys and passwords if you're hit with a warrant. I'm sure if anyone has tried the "I forgot" defense yet.
      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:07PM (#22042842)
        I'd just go with the 5th ammendment defense - I don't have to tell you things that could incriminate me.
        • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by turbidostato (878842) on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:15PM (#22043008)
          "I'd just go with the 5th ammendment defense - I don't have to tell you things that could incriminate me."

          So, how exactly is revealing a password any more incriminating than say, allowing police into your home -which is "standard practice"?

          -Don't tell us that you killed her -which would be incriminating, just tell us your password -which is something absolutly neutral.
          • Re:Really? (Score:5, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:25PM (#22043176)

            your password -which is something absolutly neutral
            Not necessarily. My password is "I'm planning a massive attack on U.S. soil."
          • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Firethorn (177587) on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:26PM (#22043186) Homepage Journal
            You don't have to 'let' them into your home - they need a search warrant for that. Enough evidence and they can even drill the lock and such - you don't have to tell them where your key is.

            Still, as long as the constitution holds out, they can ask you your password and you can plead the fifth.

        • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Monday January 14, 2008 @08:58PM (#22044324)
          Defense...

          "I don't recall"
      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by FrozenGeek (1219968) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:33PM (#22045264)
        So, suppose Alice and Bob use asymmetric crypto to encrypt the email (and not just to share a symmetric session key but to actually encrypt the plain text). Yes, I know it's horribly inefficient, but cpu cycles are cheap and most email is only a few KB long, so it's not that horrific a thought. If No Such Agency hassles Alice over an encrypted email she sent to Bob, she says that she used Bob's public key and cannot decrypt it - only Bob can do so. Assuming Bob lives somewhere that No Such Agency can hassle him, he hands them his "private key" that decrypts the email to rubbish and says "Sorry, Alice must have screwed up the encryption". Worst case scenario, both Bob and Alice are screwed. Best case, No Such Agency is very unhappy.
    • by nurb432 (527695)
      Depends on how the cases go where people have plead the 5th when they wont give them up.

      If we lose the 5th amendment argument, then it wont matter what you do. If they cant read your files, you get tossed in the clink regardless of potential content. Or worse, using private encryption becomes a crime all itself.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Grave (8234)
        Seems to me if we lose the fifth amendment argument, the second amendment becomes our new best friend.

        It seems almost every day I become more and more angry with the crap that our "representatives" do on "our behalf". If the PDF linked in this article actually existed, I'd be typing up letters to my congressmen. Unfortunately the article fails to present itself as credible because of a lack of sources, so in the event that the allegations are true, we don't have enough information to do anything.
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ashridah (72567) on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:07PM (#22042840)
      Taking your comment on face value, this only really works if you're communicating with a peer whom you already know, *and* whom you already have exchanged public keys with, in a trusted manner (no, a key on a public key chain isn't trusted, if you don't know why, then you fail at cryptography).

      This doesn't work for public discussion lists, or even private ones, unless they're very strictly controlled.
      It also doesn't help for p2p traffic, as those are between two essentially anonymous parties, and thus, have no way to prevent a man in the middle attack, even if they DO use encryption (unless the tracker mediates, which, for most implementations that I've seen, it doesn't, even if it's using SSL)

      The simple fact of the matter is that encryption is the wrong mechanism to solve this problem. Removing power from your government is the right mechanism, ideally.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lehk228 (705449)
      from you after 127 hours of waterboarding.
  • by zulater (635326) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:30PM (#22042080)
    ...is sadly dying. But it's ok because if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to hide right?
    • "Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation, he said," Wright adds. "Giorgio warned me, 'We have a saying in this business: 'Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.'"

      So, that would mean that the societies with the most surveillance were the most secure, right?

      Like Soviet Russia.
      • Correct (Score:4, Insightful)

        by goombah99 (560566) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:41PM (#22042344)

        "Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation, he said," Wright adds. "Giorgio warned me, 'We have a saying in this business: 'Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.'"

        So, that would mean that the societies with the most surveillance were the most secure, right?
        As any one knows prisons and navy ships (i.e. the ultimate panopticon) have zero crime rates.
      • by Fred_A (10934)

        So, that would mean that the societies with the most surveillance were the most secure, right?
        Sadly not, look at the mess British based terrirists made in Germany a mere sixty years ago.

        Nobody is safe nowadays !
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:40PM (#22042310) Homepage Journal
      Well except that there is no proof that this is true. That story is kinda short on any proof at all.
      email? Does anybody think that email is private? It is sent in clear text so I would say that it is as private as a postcard.
      There is an election coming soon. So for those that really fear this find out where the candidates stand on it.
      Then vote.
      BTW don't focus so much on the President BTW take a hard look at your congressional reps.
      • by timmarhy (659436) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:48PM (#22042494)
        why must we have to justify privacy? it's obvious to anyone that if a letter isn't addressed to you then it's an invasion of privacy regardless of the measures we take to stop you.
      • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:53PM (#22042576) Homepage
        email? Does anybody think that email is private? It is sent in clear text so I would say that it is as private as a postcard.

        As I say in every discussion of this nature, "private" in the sense of "can a police officer legally look at this and use it as evidence?" is completely different than in the sense of "could a malicious person who wanted to snoop on what I was saying possibly look at this, the law be damned?"

        E-mail is about as physically private as a letter. They are fairly trivial to read but it does require you take take deliberate action to do so. As opposed to a post card which could literally fall out of the postman's hand text-up and be read by accident, other people's emails don't just randomly show up on your screen even if you are an email server sysadmin.

        And thanks to recent precedent email is becoming -legally- as private as a letter. Which to repeat, is a different standard, and regardless of the fact that letters are easy to read, they are still considered private. So while a malicious mail man could read your mail whenever they chose, a cop who wanted their evidence to stand up at trial could not without a warrant.

        We need to remember both of these. First if you want real privacy even from malicious people, you need to encrypt your email. Second, we still need to keep unencrypted email to be legally private, since otherwise the idea is that if the police -can- read your encrypted emails then they don't count as private and thus no warrant is needed.

        There is an election coming soon. So for those that really fear this find out where the candidates stand on it.
        Then vote.
        BTW don't focus so much on the President BTW take a hard look at your congressional reps.


        True that. Sadly enough it's hard enough to get specific answers on what the Presidential candidates' stances are on the subject, much less all the representatives.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          I do understand the difference. I am not sure that a postcard can not be considered evidence since there is no assumption of privacy. Kind of like taking in a Mall. Or on a CB Radio.
          I am not sure that Email is any different but that is up for debate. Even if it gets the protection of law it is just to easy to sniff a line and get email for me to ever think of it as private.

          You really don't need to check EVERY rep. Just yours since those are the only ones you can vote for.
          With all the complaining about the P
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by timmarhy (659436)
            You are confusing the issue of security with privacy.

            just because i don't send all my email with 128bit encryption, it doesn't give you or the government the right to read them.

      • by Fred_A (10934)

        Well except that there is no proof that this is true. That story is kinda short on any proof at all.
        email? Does anybody think that email is private? It is sent in clear text so I would say that it is as private as a postcard.

        Not only is the above true, but you should never do this and post a line from an incriminating email in a public forum :

        -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
        Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

        hQQOA0ZFx4ChzKXZEA/+IB2pj7AAHnc1VTQcbgvs1sSCdtE5quuVQt7Pj9N9SWsz

        (oh noes, what have I done !)

    • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:56PM (#22042636)
      A new product is all the rage in the District these days:
          Bill of Rights Toilet Paper (tm)
      It comes with all 10 printed on each sheet. Congress Critters find it to be heavy duty absorbent. Somehow though, that stuff you water the Tree of Liberty with seems to slip through anyway, just a little, but it slips through....
  • by ari_j (90255) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:30PM (#22042092)
    I guess we'll just have to do this the old-fashioned way. Now accepting (paper) applications for the next Paul Revere.
  • by blair1q (305137) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:31PM (#22042120) Journal
    so he can get through something we would consider "less onerous" but is still an affront to the Constitution.
  • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:31PM (#22042126) Homepage Journal
    If they're really trying to tap all that nonsense, it'll end up being a bit of a pain trying to pull the noise out of the signal at that point. It'd be relatively trivial to generate vast quantities of legit-looking noise to hide a small covert signal--and while data analysis algorithms and computer speeds have been steadily increasing, it's a bit of an arms race to keep up with the regular legitimate traffic, much less any obfuscation attempts.

    In the end, it's probably a lot more trouble than it's worth to go about things this way, rather than doing the 'traditional' sort of real-life investigation leading to a warrant &c.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bobzibub (20561)
      You mean spam?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by chuckymonkey (1059244)
      This is one case where I think an enterprising spammer could have a ton of fun. Just start spamming emails through all the bots that have an "interesting" generator for keywords and phrases. Considering the volume of spam it would be very difficult to watch.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thanatos_x (1086171)
        One would think that this wouldn't be too hard to stop, seeing just how 'ingenious' current spam e-mails are. I rarely get e-mail spam that gets by spamassassin, and I don't think i've ever gotten a spam message in my g-mail account.

        Still I suppose this would open up the avenue of attack that you could communicate in 'spam' code, trying to make your e-mails look like random spam generated, or you could send out a massive spam e-mail that actually contained information in it...

        All said and done though, I don
    • You are naive. Google indexes over four billion Web pages (~40 TB), searches this data a thousand times every second of every day, and with response rates measured in milliseconds.

      Only instead of providing links to Web sites, the government's in-house search engine would provide links to users.
      • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:04PM (#22042778) Homepage Journal
        Which is only a scratch on the surface of the amount of data that is generated and transmitted daily. Above and beyond the web pages searched and indexed, there's the vast morass of Usenet, Email, P2P and other media traffic, and the various and sundry other things that are on protocols other than http.

        Other respondents have pointed out the arms race between spam and spam filtering; I had that in mind when I made my response. In essence, as a detection tool, this is going to be more or less useless, outside of the occasional one in a million lucky strike; really, the only way to use it would be to go mining it once you've already detected something nefarious and you want a more solid case--something that could easily be handled by a warrant and seizure of the suspect's computing assets.
    • by cptdondo (59460) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:49PM (#22042516) Journal
      I think you miss the point. The data will be mined after the fact or to build a case against someone the gov't doesn't like.

      Let's say you do something to piss some mucky-muck off and you get on the monitor list. It's only a matter of time before you mention in passing that you copied a DVD or any other heinous crime and bingo! The FBI/Federal marshals/etc are at your door.

      Paranoid? I grew up in a communist state. I hate to think I've escaped to one, too....

      • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:06PM (#22042826) Homepage Journal
        That's really the only way it could be useful at all; as a method of detection, there's no real way that one could find anything useful with that sort of shotgun approach at all.

        But if the government really wants your hide, then they'll have it whether they have any real evidence or not--witness Cardinal Richelieu's words: "Give me four lines written by the most innocent of men, and in them I will find something to hang him." That was just as true then as now.
  • by Drake42 (4074) * on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:33PM (#22042172) Homepage
    Because you can be damn sure that if they pass this law people will finally make sure to heavily encrypt what they say on the internet.

    Then again, it's almost certain that they're already reading all the e-mail. This law is probably just to prevent them from getting sued about it later. Ug

     
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday January 14, 2008 @11:32PM (#22045792)
      Please, most people don't have any knowledge of email encryption, and probably have no idea about proposals like these. Worse, even people who are aware of email encryption don't want to be hassled with it, because it involves typing in an extra password (and heaven forbid we should do anything like that). Sadly, privacy is at the bottom of most people's priority lists, just under "free speech" and "due process" (yes, most of the people I know think it is wrong for a lawyer to defend someone who is "obviously guilty"). This won't scare anyone to action. Encryption should have become popular after several policies were enacted, and it still hasn't. The problem is very simple: most people do not care enough to go to the trouble of encryption.
  • by polgair (922265)
    Article links to another article which is paraphrasing some report made by a reporter who has seen this alleged draft Mike McConnell has a part in authoring, whilst the link to said report is dangling. I don't buy it. Seems like wacky journalism to me.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:40PM (#22042336)
      As re-reported in Raw Story: [rawstory.com]

      National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is drawing up plans for cyberspace spying that would make the current debate on warrantless wiretaps look like a "walk in the park," according to an interview published in the New Yorker's print edition today. ...

      McConnell is developing a Cyber-Security Policy, still in the draft stage, which will closely police Internet activity.

      "Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the autority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search," author Lawrence Wright pens.

      "Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation, he said," Wright adds. "Giorgio warned me, 'We have a saying in this business: 'Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.'"


  • by BWJones (18351) * on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:33PM (#22042182) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

      "It's just a fucking piece of paper." -- US President George W. Bush on the Constitution
    • that was pretty much violated soon after the ink dried... The latest stuff is just a continuation of the last 200 years
    • How quaint. You think this particular amendment will hold up better than others? Even in the face of the new statistics on the new Supremes? Even after Number 43 pulls a Musharraf? Remember, they have already wiped out habeas corpus, a little amendment is going to slow them down?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      The Fourth Amendment? That's so Eighteenth Century. In America, only old people use the Fourth Amendment.
      • by Burz (138833) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @12:57AM (#22046544) Journal
        You joke, But in reality that's probably why the RealID cards stop at people born before 1964. That's the baby-boomer cutoff year, representing a very large demographic who still remember what its like to organize against repression.

        They'd rather use GenXers as guinea pigs, a much smaller demographic that's not used to having governments and markets abide by their demands (or needs). They are also much more steeped in the individualist mindset such that they're capable of mass-organizing very little outside of the corporate environment.

        So yes, you could say the Bill Of Rights is only for old people...
    • by BWJones (18351) *
      For all of your cynics posting in reply, all I have to say is that these documents (the Constitution, its amendments and the Declaration of Independence) have shaped who we are as a country. The last time I visited them [utah.edu] was an intensely powerful experience, and I suggest if you are ever in the area, do stop by and reflect on the history of these documents and what is, what was and what is to become.
  • Oh, wait. Yes I can. Not enough people are particularly willing to stand up for these egregious violations of civil liberties. In fact, there is generally a louder and larger throng who say things like "If you aren't doing anything wrong, then what are you worried about?".

    The US is well along the path to becoming a police state. Personally, I am not concerned about a 1 in 1 billion chance of being murdered by terrists, but I clearly remain in the minority.

    A likely scenario with this could also be to p

  • I got an idea.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bherman (531936) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:34PM (#22042192) Homepage
    When the White House produces their missing emails, we'll produce ours
    That should sufficiently prevent this from becoming law!
  • Sounds like FUD (Score:5, Informative)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:34PM (#22042194) Homepage
    This article is entirely speculation. The only source it links to is an article that was not printed, and the link points to a 404 page.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tringard (595737)
      I found a couple more reasonable sources:
      • Someone actually managed to open that pdf and quotes from it here [salon.com].
      • An official blog on the Wall Street Journal website talks about [wsj.com] the forthcoming article.
      • And the New Yorker has an abstract [newyorker.com] up for the article which is apparently set to publish on the 21st.

      Since none of these offer the full story, only proof that such a story does exist (or will), it is hard to say how much FUD is in the Raw Story article.

  • by COMON$ (806135)
    They can have the e-mail from my system sure...if they can break the encryption I set on it. Then we will truly see if they have those "Uber hacking" machines that the public believes they do. Good thing Exchange stores the files in flat files rather than useful ways, makes for easy right click encrypt :)

    Of course my grand plan gets fuddled up when they just stick a sniffer on the outside of my network. But maybe by then I will have figured it out and set my firewall to deny traffic containing the terms

    • by filterban (916724)

      Of course my grand plan gets fuddled up when they just stick a sniffer on the outside of my network.

      This sounds a lot like Carnivore [wikipedia.org]. The FBI has been indexing and searching emails for a long time. They're sent unencrypted over the wire, and the majority of Americans have no clue how easy it is to intercept email.

      The Bush Administration has been requesting search results [searchenginewatch.com] for a long time, too.

      Which begs the question - WHY ARE WE LETTING THESE OPPRESSIVE JERKS GET AWAY WITH THIS?

  • PGP + Constitution (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rinisari (521266) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:36PM (#22042240) Homepage Journal
    Gnu Privacy Guard [gnupg.org] (or other PGP) + Judge: Man can't be forced to divulge encryption passphrase [news.com] = safety in communications.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:37PM (#22042248) Homepage
    You need to have this sort of thing because you can't let the terrorists win, so what if you have to give up basic fundamental rights like privacy at least the terrorists won't have won.....

    Oh hang on we were fighting for freedom and liberty weren't we? So you need to give up all your freedoms to protect your freedom? You'd almost thought that the government was a repressive regime that wanted to subjugate people.
    • 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.

      As this applies to regular mail, I think that it applies to email as well despite the government not getting a cut of the money.

      No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

      Self Explanatory, encrypt. Also as the beginning states they cannot do anything to you unless they bring you before a Grand Jury. The wording is clear that the only exception are members of the Military. Which brings me to a fun story.

      When I was in the Army deployed to Iraq they told us that they had to scan our computers before we left to look for secrets and obscene material. Well this made me very angry so first I offered my services to a few friends and setup truecrypt volumes for them. Then I took a picture of myself flipping off a camera, labeled them things like Fuck Me hard(several different variations on that theme) and distributed 30,000 copies all over my hdd. Let's just say that when they put in the scanning disk the person performing the scan got really tired of seeing me flip him off and they didn't find anything. I know it was petty and he really wasn't doing it because he wanted to, but I think that I made a point even if it was in a very small way. The leadership never ever scanned anything of mine again.
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:42PM (#22042358)
    Regardless of the laws, we've already seen that the telecoms will grant the government whatever access it wants. If they get busted, they'll go cry to Congress for retroactive protection. Same results with or without legal protection of your privacy.
  • this has already been happening for years. I guess their mentality is, if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide, reminds me of this surveillance society [wikipedia.org]. Secret police and indiscriminant surveillance practices are always conceived to protect against enemies of the state, real or perceived, however they always seem to become a tool to squash political-dissent when things turn bleak. It scares me to think about what our government will do in the name of protecting our "freedom".
  • by popo (107611) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:47PM (#22042482) Homepage
    So my email from a .co.uk email address to a colleague at a .br address is going to be searchable by the US? ... We'll see what our governments have to say about that.
  • have you ever looked at your google web history [google.com]? yikes.
  • by cohomology (111648) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:52PM (#22042560)
    Tell the highest levels of the intelligence community what you think about this idea by picking up a phone and calling any number.

    I know, it's not original.
  • I hear Soviet Russia was pretty safe too. Looking at my (and everyone elses) email makes me about a zillionth of a percent safer. It alsomakes me several times less free.

    This is NOT zero sum. The magnitude of damage caused by this kind of stuff far outweighs any even theoretical increase in security.
  • Its relatively easy to do and the NSA/HS are so nosey. My email is lost in billions of others.
  • PGP to the Rescue! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flajann (658201) <flajann@linuxblo[ ]com ['ke.' in gap]> on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:08PM (#22042862) Homepage Journal
    My friends, it is high time we start encrypting everything. We'll just have to make PGP/GPG easier to use by the masses.
  • Encrypt your email (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gillbates (106458) on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:12PM (#22042946) Homepage Journal

    Seriously. There are already libraries such as FLTK [fltk.org] and QT for the graphic front end. For the back end, you could use XySSL [xyssl.org], OpenSSL [openssl.org], or even GNU GPG.

    I'm about 20 hours into an encryption client, and I've already got people using it. I initially wanted to use GPG, but realized that most technophobes won't go for a command line application. So I pulled out FLUID (the FLTK design utility) and had a prototype working within hours.

    Today, there's no excuse for not encrypting your email. I realize that you may think you have Constitutional rights in this regard, but GW & Co. have the guns, the taxpayer financing, and even the (unsolicited!) cooperation of the major network carriers. It doesn't matter what you think the Constitution says if you can't even get a trial. You're on your own from here on out.

    So why encrypt, even if you've nothing to hide? Well, simple, really. Why let the government violate the 4th ammendment with impunity? If you encrypt your email, the government can't perform secret, mass surveillance. Sure, they can pound on your door, and even demand the key. You might even have to give it to them. But in them doing so, you've achieved three key goals:

    1. In order to get the key from you, they'll have to contact you. So they can't secretly eavesdrop on your communications.
    2. Should you refuse the key, they will have to convince a judge to order you to divulge it - thus, your 4th ammendment rights are preserved - the judge will require probable cause before issuing the order.
    3. In demanding the key, the issue will move from the administrative branch to the judicial branch. You want to force the government into the courtroom so that your other rights are not trampled as well.

    Encryption is highly Constitutional (TM) software. It keeps terrorists from eavesdropping on our conversations, knowing our whereabouts, and stealing our valuable intellectual property. If the government can't read my email, neither can the terrorists.

    Be patriotic. Support the Constitution. Encrypt everything.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday January 14, 2008 @08:09PM (#22043782) Homepage Journal
    These people are completely insane. They follow up every single total catastrophe in which they made us more endangered while demanding to violate our rights ever more with yet another demand to screw us while just scaring us and endangering us.

    I mean, they're still spinning down how a Filipino Monkey [wikipedia.org] almost gave Bush a pretext for armageddon with Iran last week, continuing to blame Iran.

    They still act like they don't even really know for sure who is "the enemy" in Iraq, or when the next Taliban attack [nytimes.com] will show how badly we're losing in Afghanistan to a bunch of medieval hicks hellbent on returning to the Stone Age.

    And yes, they're still spying on every email, Web hit and phonecall in the US (hi, Dick!), while hustling to hand telcos amnesty for breaking the law at their request, even though they can't even pay the phonebill so it gets shut down.

    These Keystone Konservatives would be hilarious if they weren't the most dangerous people ever in the world.

    We have to call our lazy, complacent congressmembers and insist they impeach these criminal retards, instead of just easily running against them this year and inheriting all their catastrophic tyrannical powers.
  • what are the odds.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by purpleraison (1042004) on Monday January 14, 2008 @09:22PM (#22044548) Homepage Journal
    I hate to be the one that brings this up, but it needs to be said:

    If the Bush administration 'loses' and 'accidentally deletes all traces' of their email every time they are being investigated, how could our inept government monitor the email of over 300,000,000 people in america?

    Certainly there is a LOT of sarcasm in that question, but seriously [b]what grounds to they legitimately have[/b] to require access to users email WITHOUT a warrant? None if you consider that even our White House has redundant backup of their email which is likely on some cheesy Exchange server somewhere.

    That means they have tons of time to get a warrant should it be justified.
  • by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:49PM (#22045438)
    I was born here in California and have lived here all my life. Never been out of the country even once, barely even been out of the state, either. Next month I'll be 43 years old. When I was a kid, sure, there were things going on that weren't too cool, but there were still things to be proud about the country I was born and raised in. I can't say that anymore. I love my country, still, especially living in California, but I'm ashamed of my government and the things it's doing and allowing to be done, and even the mere MENTION of things like this, true or not, make me feel weary down to my very bones. I don't care to see it all destroyed, but it needs to be FIXED, and it needs to be fixed NOW before these bastards make it all come crashing down around our ears.
  • One Good Thing ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by constantnormal (512494) on Monday January 14, 2008 @10:59PM (#22045500)
    ... is that the high level of spam will make it difficult to distinguish a certain style of cipher from the noise words inserted into spam to sneak it past the spam filters.

    Somebody needs to get cracking to devise a cipher that looks just like these spam noise words... something along the lines of a one-time pad [wikipedia.org]

  • by DrBuzzo (913503) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @12:19AM (#22046174) Homepage
    CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN! AND YOUR SENATORS! No, I'm serious. Don't just complain here. Please actually contact your representatives if you don't like this idea (which I think most here don't.) And don't give me that bull about "Oh well they can't do anything" or "Just one guy calling is going to do nothing." No it won't do anything if one guy calls and everyone else sits on their collective asses.

    However, politicians do have to bow to public will or they won't get reelected and seriously, as small as it might seem, it is by far the best thing any person can do. Collectively, if you actually do it, it will get noticed. If it gets noticed by enough.

    No don't say "that's a good idea." DO IT! Literally, write or call your two state senators and the congressperson for your district, repeatedly if you have to. ACTUALLY DO IT.

    Staging demonstrations and bitching on internet boards is great and all, but the first thing that you should do is actually, literally, really pick up that damn phone or write an email and send it to your elected reps



    I just know nobody is actually going to do this. It's about as likely as getting anyong under the age of 40 to vote.

COBOL is for morons. -- E.W. Dijkstra

Working...