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EFF Warns That Email Privacy Is In Jeopardy 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the read-comprehend-legislate dept.
MojoKid writes with this excerpt from HotHardware: "According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a dangerous legal precedent has just been set that can potentially unravel existing federal privacy protections for e-mail and Internet usage. The alert from the EFF is not just to sound a general warning, but it also takes the form of an Amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief, filed with the federal 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for the court's legal finding to be overturned... The findings of this case could become the foundation of a legal precedent upon which other similar cases can subsequently be based. If that were to be the case, then the unauthorized retrieving of e-mails from an e-mail server would not be considered a violation of the federal Wiretap Act, which will then open the door for government-sponsored snooping."
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EFF Warns That Email Privacy Is In Jeopardy

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  • Privacy? (Score:5, Informative)

    by clang_jangle (975789) * on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:17AM (#24536497) Journal
    Not to be flippant, but does anyone really believe there is any privacy anymore with simple, unencrypted email? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the EFF is on the case. But it does seem to me that any expectation of privacy in any communication medium here in the USA went out the window with the news of the NSA telco backdoors. Our government is obsessed with spying on everyone, and they have demonstrated quite thoroughly they don't care about the rules at all.
    • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:21AM (#24536509)
      I've NEVER considered email to have been private: encrypted or not.
      • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by enrevanche (953125) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:39AM (#24536599)
        By not expecting email to be private means that your email provider is allowed to do anything it wants with the information. It means that the government or anyone who wishes to pay for it should be allowed to have it.

        Being "not technically secure" is not the same thing as "not private".

        • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by BorgDrone (64343) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:10AM (#24536729) Homepage

          By not expecting email to be private means that your email provider is allowed to do anything it wants with the information.

          I'm a bit divided about this subject. On the one hand I think that you should be able to expect some privacy in your email conversations. On the other hand I think you're kind of naive to let the privacy of a mail conversation depend solely on the willingness of others to not look at it.

          The government, not just the US but any government, cannot be trusted, simply because they're just a bunch of people. The only way to have a reasonable expectancy of privacy is to enforce it yourself by using insane amounts of encryption. e.g. encrypt a message in AES, 3DES, 32768 bit RSA, and ROT13 for good measure, then stenographically encode the message in a photograph. etc. etc.

          Laws guaranteeing privacy in email are great, but they don't actually give you 100% certainty that your email will be private.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by awrowe (1110817)

            The government, not just the US but any government, cannot be trusted, simply because they're just a bunch of people with an agenda.

            Fixed that for ya.

            • Re:Privacy? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Thiez (1281866) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:37AM (#24536877)

              Don't all people except for those in a coma have an agenda? Doesn't that make your 'fix' about as informative as saying that water is wet?

            • by orasio (188021)

              I don't understand that.
              What is so wrong about having an agenda?
              Having a hidden agenda _might_ be a bad thing, in a perfectly free society.

              I think modern people despite so much politicians that they even renounce to their duty to be political themselves. People are supposed to have political ideas. It's a good thing, not a bad thing.

              When people do not have and agenda, they lack depth in their political decisions, and only think day to day stuff, what doesn't seem wise to me.

          • by MrNaz (730548)

            There's no need to encrypt it that far. A single pass with AES256 should be sufficient. There is no reason to believe that there is any organization on Earth (the NSA included) that can break AES.

            If you're willing to go to the "insane" methods you talk about, then you're in the sort of inconvenience level where using one time pads would be worthwhile. You can transfer around gigabytes of OTP material relatively easily and securely these days. I mean you can hide one of those 4gb Micro SD cards just about an

            • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

              by cayenne8 (626475)
              "I mean you can hide one of those 4gb Micro SD cards just about anywhere, resistant even to a strip search. I mean, who's going to check the inside of your pee hole?"

              Not to worry citizen, the govt. in all its wisdom and foresight, has thought of this eventuallity, and is currently working on different methods....some are a bit more painful than others, but, you needn't worry about that.

              Of course, they will use the proper method based on the situation.

              EOM

            • You have a card reader in your urethra? I want! (The reader, not your urethra.)

            • From now on, every border agent in the US.

              Thanks.
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              I mean, who's going to check the inside of your pee hole?

              Mine? Nobody. But since you posted this comment on an open forum, you'd better be careful the next time you make an international flight.

        • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:47AM (#24536931)
          If I want communication to be private I snail mail, fax, or phone on landline.

          Even if the ISP or whomever cannot share or pry into email for whatever reason, what's to prevent someone from accidentally hitting "reply all" or copying their entire address book and sending it out to the world? That's what I meant by my original statement. It's not so much folks prying, it's "accidents" that I'm worried about.

          • by cjb658 (1235986)

            If I want communication to be private I snail mail, fax, or phone on landline.

            Even if the ISP or whomever cannot share or pry into email for whatever reason, what's to prevent someone from accidentally hitting "reply all" or copying their entire address book and sending it out to the world? That's what I meant by my original statement. It's not so much folks prying, it's "accidents" that I'm worried about.

            Don't you know about warrantless wiretapping?

            You must be new here.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Well you should, as it is a reasonable expectation.

        True, it turned out not to be, but it should have been.

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        I hope your not a sys admin.

    • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mazarin5 (309432) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:23AM (#24536525) Journal

      Of course we should take technical precautions, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't stop this through legal action either. It seems like a Sisyphean task at this point, but we have to hold firm to our principles nonetheless.

    • Re:Privacy? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spykemail (983593) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:05AM (#24536703) Homepage

      The idea that any communication involving telecommunication companies in the US is private is quite laughable, however, if there's even going to be the slightest chance of restoring or at least slowing down the rate of erosion of the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy every battle must be fought and thank the matrix we've got the EFF to do it.

      Personally I'd sign up for the government spy net - after all, the government doesn't listen to my complaints - if they read everything I write maybe something will sink in.

    • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Informative)

      by the_raptor (652941) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:27AM (#24536827)

      Exactly. How is unencrypted email different to a postcard? Every server along the path has full access (and probably stores a copy for hours to days) to the contents along with the routing information. Due to addressing problems I was receiving CC orders and other confidential emails for some mail order company, for about two months. I had to respond to every one and tell them not to be so stupid.

      The problem is that so few people are set up to read encrypted email, that it isn't useful in day to day work.

      • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @10:39AM (#24537211)
        How is unencrypted email different to a postcard?

        Look, the fact that postcards and most emails are sent in plaintext isn't what this is about.

        So far as I'm aware, the United States Post Office doesn't scan, OCR, and store the contents of every postcard that goes through its facilities. If they did, and then made that information available to the government or anyone else that wanted it, you would have a point. In other words, unencrypted does not mean "indexed, cross-indexed and searchable."
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          So far as I'm aware, the United States Post Office doesn't scan, OCR, and store the contents of every postcard that goes through its facilities.

          They scan, OCR, and store the to and from address of every piece of mail that goes through their facilities.

          Is it that much of a stretch to assume that they would do the same with a postcard?

      • Re:Privacy? (Score:4, Informative)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @11:07AM (#24537333) Journal

        How is unencrypted email different to a postcard?

        Differing expectations of privacy.
        An intermediate mail server is not a postal worker.

        Perhaps most importantly:
        Different laws regarding e-mail and postcards.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Its quite a bit different, and besides the PO isn't supposed to be reading your post card's content anyway.

        Besides, this isn't about plain text/or encryption, its about the government getting their hands on your data to use how they please, whenever they feel like it.

      • by syntek (1265716)
        That reminds me of the www.donotreply.com thing. Which oddly enough, I can't get to today.
      • by dbcad7 (771464)

        Actually email is more similar to mail than a postcard in that you do have to open it. Of course there is no way to tell if an email has been opened by someone else.

        I am on the side that knows it's not secure, but it is a matter of professional ethics that you should expect that it is private.. Just as you should expect that people in the medical profession will protect your privacy.. Sure anyone in the hospital can find out what's wrong with you, but would you expect the janitor to be fired for looking at

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        Exactly. How is unencrypted email different to a postcard?

        The only similarity between the two is they are both sent in plain text.

        Email is private, reading someones email is the same as opening their snail mail.

        Do you consider it ok to read someone else's postcard, or how about that letter sitting on your co workers desk?

      • by Velex (120469)

        The problem is that so few people are set up to read encrypted email, that it isn't useful in day to day work.

        Wrong. Anyone who uses Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird is more than set up to read encrypted email. Personally I use Claws Mail, but using something that's not made by an über-corp certainly isn't a step people need to take.

        If you want to give up your personal information, you can go to Thawte [thawte.com] and start sending signed emails right away, which will enable anyone with Outlook or Thunderbird to begin encrypting emails to you. Some people may find cacert [cacert.org] an option, but all-in-all if I needed

    • Re:Privacy? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ccady (569355) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:55AM (#24536963) Journal
      I think you are mistaking the "expectation that you do have privacy" with the "the expectation that you should have privacy."
      To me, the "expectation of privacy" says that I am supposed to have privacy, not that I have it.
    • by pxlmusic (1147117)

      it's sad that i'm completely unsurprised by this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      While i agree, they do, they still shouldn't be reading it, even if its in open text, without a warrant.

      You should be able to expect a certain level of privacy.

      Its not just our government btw ( and its debatable if the government is 'ours' anymore anyway.. )

    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      But it does seem to me that any expectation of privacy in any communication medium here in the USA went out the window with the news of the NSA telco backdoors.

      That begs the question, and not just for the USA or relating to NSA backdoors (is that the funny all-body underpants you see in Klondiker comedys?), just when, and why, did "any expectation of privacy" come in the window? Particularly in respect of any electronic communications?

  • An analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:21AM (#24536515) Journal

    Even if breaking in houses is illegal, I still have a lock on my door. Why? Because some people don't care about the law.

    Even if snooping on e-mail is illegal, you still need to encrypt your mails. Why? Because some governments don't care about the law.

    • Re:An analogy (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rustalot42684 (1055008) <fake AT account DOT com> on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:36AM (#24536579)
      The problem, for me, at any rate, is twofold:
      1. People with whom I communicate mostly use web-based clients like the GMail client, the Hotmail client, or some university's email site, all of which don't support encryption in an easy-to-use way. Also, at the moment (for several reasons) I happen to be using one of those clients.
      2. Most of the same people don't see why encrypting their emails is neccessary in light of the previous point. Given that it takes a great deal of work do do it, why bother?

      Whether I'd like to use encryption or not is irrelevant if those with whom I am communicating do not.

      <sarcasm>

      Why? Because some governments don't care about the law.

      Well, I'm sure you could write them a nice letter asking them if they are illegally syping on you to find out. I see no reason why you wouldn't get an honest answer....

      </sarcasm>

      • Encryption with GMail isn't hard. FireGPG extension. Or Enigmail+thunderbird. That said, gpg does need to be easier to use.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        FireGPG puts magic encryption buttons into Gmail's interface for you. It uses gpg to do the heavy lifting. I have used it, and it works. Since it uses gpg the signing key I created to sign debian packages showed right up in the list of keys and I was able to use it to send encrypted gmail. (you can also just sign of course.) You can use PortableApps' version of Firefox to carry it around with you. (Or a USB-bootable Linux.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by megaditto (982598)

      If you think your padlock is keeping the Government away (the guys with aircraft carriers and nukes), you must be crazy.

      US Government very much cares about the laws since that's about the ONLY thing that can stop them from doing to you what they do to everybody else. For example, the CIA torture manual advises you to always check the local laws first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Torture_Manuals#CIA_manuals [wikipedia.org]

      • by seyyah (986027)
        The conversation so far ...

        Daimanta:

        Even if breaking in houses is illegal, I still have a lock on my door. Why? Because some people don't care about the law. Even if snooping on e-mail is illegal, you still need to encrypt your mails. Why? Because some governments don't care about the law.

        megaditto:

        If you think your padlock is keeping the Government away (the guys with aircraft carriers and nukes), you must be crazy.

        The key, megaditto, is in the word "analogy". No one is trying to stop aircraft carriers with padlocks. (Or maybe padlock was your analogy for encryption and nukes, an analogy for decryption?)

        • Re:An analogy (Score:5, Informative)

          by Firehed (942385) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:41AM (#24536899) Homepage

          Regardless, it's not a very good analogy. It takes considerably more than the technological equivalent of a hacksaw to break a solid encryption scheme.

          • by Daimanta (1140543)

            Gah, it's an analogy. Burglars will probably break a window, ignoring the lock on your door. Governments will probably try to read the e-mails at the endpoints, that is when they are stored on your or the reciever's pc. Analogies are not supposed to be 1:1 correct, that's why they are analogies.

          • All right. How about an industrial cutting laser?
          • The obvious analogy: Wouldn't you consider a hacksaw as taking some measure of brute force?
    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      I have a password on my email.

      Do you encrypt all paperwork inside your house?

  • Even worse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:36AM (#24536573)

    IANAL, but as I understand it, this does not just apply to the government. Anyone can snoop without legal liability.

  • If this gets overturned it'll probably be written into law in a few months.
  • by FridayBob (619244) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:44AM (#24536625) Homepage
    ... to maintain your own mail server.
    • by mccalli (323026) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:48AM (#24536641) Homepage
      ... to maintain your own mail server.

      And how does maintaining your own email server help? Those outgoing mails are going to somewhere right? And the incoming ones arrived from somewhere? Then they're likely being transmitted in the plain somewhere along the line.

      Unless you encrypt the messages themselves, you're on your own. Having your own mailserver, which I do, simply doesn't help with this problem.

      Cheers,
      Ian
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "And how does maintaining your own email server help? Those outgoing mails are going to somewhere right? And the incoming ones arrived from somewhere? Then they're likely being transmitted in the plain somewhere along the line. "

        Well, you can also set your email coming to you and going out, to hop through several remailer servers, and a nym server [iusmentis.com] .

        Sure you still have a hole on the receiver end if they don't encrypt, but, it sure can make it hard for the govt. to see where you're sending to...or receivi

        • Somehow I suspect this is a contributory reason for why USENET is being killed off...

          If you really want to make it hard...have the nym server send your messages, encrypted to a USENET group...you can retrieve it from there and no one will be able to really trace what you're doing.

          Powers that be, be they governmental or corporate or what-have-you, don't like fully distributed no-one-owns-them systems like USENET. Note too how the intarwebs are becoming increasingly being consolidated as the property of thes

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by FridayBob (619244)
        True, running your own mailserver is only half of the solution, but as more people do the same it will become less likely that any 3rd party mail servers will be involved in your email exchanges. Many of my friends have ADSL connections and also run their own private mail servers. In these cases, my exchanges with them are also encrypted.
      • by Pitawg (85077) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @11:11AM (#24537353)

        Grabbing a message from the stream is not that hard. Yes.

        Getting access to a pile of email that was sent over the course of days to years, I believe, is a much bigger issue. The stream takes good timing, access and preparation. Access to inbox or other folders of an entire email collection is scary. If the private sign leaves the stored email it will allow providers to do what they will with these email documents in the collections of users. Sending a message to a friend about a need for a product could turn into a barrage of ads for same or competing products. Storing old messages with idle threats with a buddy could turn into law suits. There could be corporate theft of ideas and more. How about getting fired from a job for idle discussions of other things you think about regarding other lines of work or even a competing company. Then there are the criminal cases that could be setup against you for some idle "what-if" messages with a child, friend, or co-worker. Information and insight about an individual could cause all kinds of difficulties in the wrong hands. If I wanted someone to be party to a conversation, I would have sent the message to that party when I wrote it.

        Email server ownership is a big help in these times. "Guilty until proven Innocent" is the opponent of privacy laws and practice. I do not have the time to waste proving every little aspect of my life was not a crime just because someone came into a conversation late, reading their own storyline into my existence. As it is now in consumer America, I have to open boxes at the checkout counter just to ensure the actual item purchased is in the box, and not just floor tiles. I also have to call phone and credit companies over charges that were added in error. Do I need to mention the corrections on food from a drive through, even after seeing the list in perfect order on the screen before getting to the window?

        Do not add to my itinerary, as it is full.

  • by moteyalpha (1228680) * on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:57AM (#24536679) Homepage Journal
    Then let RIAA defend you, (ducks and covers ).
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Anything you write is automatically covered by the copyright laws.

    • Your e-mails are already copyrighted essentially. The metric is basically 'anything with a minimal amount of creativity fixed into a tangible medium of expression"

  • Any E-mail that you don't want to be seen, you have to encrypt. Otherwise, you can be sure that it will be data mined, analyzed, and keyword spotted.

    • Exactly. Furthermore, if you want to ensure that the encrypted email doesn't arouse suspicions, you should encrypt all your mail, regardless of how trivial or innocent it seems to be. Besides, you never know when something that seemed innocent could turn up later to bite you in the rear.
    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      I have never in all my time working with computers EVER seen an encrypted email. I have also cannot name a single corporation that uses encryption for email.

      Encrypted email just doesn't happen, when I can't even get people to use secure voice communications what chance do I have with email?

      I agree encryption needs to be more widely adopted even as a "Just in case" measure but the problem is getting people educated in its use.

  • by m0s3m8n (1335861) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:10AM (#24536731)
    Working in the health care field as an IT admin exposes me to lots of HIPAA crap. One thing you learn on day one is that EMAIL IS NOT SECURE. And if it is not secure then considered public. I have no expectation that email is private UNLESS IT IS SECURE. This is why emailing of patient data is forbidden. It would sure make life easier if it were.
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      Working in the health care field as an IT admin exposes me to lots of HIPAA crap. One thing you learn on day one is that EMAIL IS NOT SECURE. And if it is not secure then considered public.

      I think such generalizations are dangerous. If I send an email to one of my kids, it is sent over an SSL-encrypted link to a private machine. When My kids download it, they do so over an SSL-encrypted session. The email might also be sent onto Gmail. Again, to connection from my mailserver to Gmail is protected by SSL/T

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:19AM (#24536785) Homepage

    You can use BetterMail for a secure connection to Gmail, but Google still has all your messages and they're unencrypted when they go out from there. In this case store and forward is not your friend.

    You could use a simple encryption tool like this one [fourmilab.ch]. It's a little less difficult than a system that requires a key exchange but it's also less secure. And there's still a decryption process. Copy, paste, type pass phrase, read.

    If there's something that's easy to implement and lets you exchange encrypted messages with other email clients that don't support your encryption scheme, then I don't know about it. Far as I know you have to make a decision to encrypt or not every time you send a message. When you're sending to a compatible client you can at least encrypt the body of the message, but as far as I'm aware, that's the state of the art.

  • Economics (Score:1, Troll)

    by Wowsers (1151731)

    So not only are businesses and tourists stopping going to the USA because of their over the top (and widely meaningless) security, now the US. wants to finish off their economy with people not doing trade altogether with the US. Smart thinking.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      I totally agree its bullshit like this that makes me consider relocation of my servers to more friendly soil.

  • Assert your rights (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2008 @10:01AM (#24537001)

    I have discussed this issue with some friends who seem to believe that Obama will reverse the current warrantless surveillance practices. If history is to serve as a guide, it seems clear that he will not. I am convinced that contacting our legislators and voting for Democrats are two of the least effective means of protecting our rights. Indeed, the most effective way of protecting our rights is by asserting them. We as Americans have the responsibility of actively protecting our rights, rather than depending on the ineptitude and conflicted interests of our elected officials. This is why I propose not only opportunistic encryption, but also what I call gratuitous encryption. This means the ubiquitous use and advocacy of PGP, SSH, SSL, VPNs, tor, full disk encryption, and every other tool we have at our disposal.

    Check out this page [tamu.edu] for ways to assert your rights.

  • Why does Thunderbid not implement encryption from the start I will never understand. A license problem it ain't. They are perpetuating a status quo that is unacceptable.
  • You have postcards and letters in envelopes.

    Unencrypted email is like a postcard. Encryped is like letters in envelopes. So why are people surprised if everybody read their postcards? Encrypting just takes out the content. It does not take out who the sender or reciever is however. And that can be used to extra investigation.

    I am sure that when they find out I am mailing to and from Bin Laden, they will be looking closer. If I am however mailing with my lover and I am married, that would be something I migh

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      A postcard is like an "ATTN: [username]" post on usenet.

      A Letter is like an email.

      An encoded letter is like an encrypted email.

  • What goes around ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2008 @11:35AM (#24537473)

    Time to revive the good 'ole FIDO mail system and BBS technology. This is not such a bad thing though as it is NOT the internet - it's the phone lines. Hmm .... Oh well, so much for freedom. It was nice while it existed.

    Still, one can PGP that style of mail easily and it is by today's standards pretty secure in it's travels to and from. The phone company is involved though so look out. Short of floating our own satellites and running the entire thing end to end, there is NO WAY ANYTHING WE DO from this point on is beyond scrutiny or observation, "we" being those that still believe in the Constitution, Bill Of Rights, etc. and they that watch and record are those we think we'd like to avoid.

    I work a FL county GIS and in 1998, our aerial maps were good enough that we zoomed down to look in the back of a co-worker's pickup truck and could easily read "Budweiser" on the case of beer in the truck bed. We were told that the military had these same maps but in 4 or 5 stages better resolution! THAT was 10 years ago - now it's LIVE.

    I ran a multi-line BBS for 15 years and hubbed mail for FIDO most of that time. The mail "bags" came in, got sorted and went back out. It was true store and forward technology and with today's packer and encryption options, I believe that FIDO could once again offer relatively secure email. It would take a network though and with each added "node" would come potential trouble. Who's to say that hub in New Hampshire is not the FBI? With the right email client software, the playing field could be vastly leveled - are you listening Santos's?? End to end PGP enabled mail times the quantity factor would be REALLYPGP and the hardware that would have to be dedicated to breaking all that mail would be ridiculous. All this could run on old time BBS systems. Imagine this - NO SPAM (yet).

    Rx --> Doctor Smith

  • .....The emails of various Politician and Corporate government relationships.
    And lets not leave out stock market related emails from those in the know.

  • Not just e-mail... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stanislav_J (947290) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @12:53PM (#24537925)

    Not to be flippant, but does anyone really believe there is any privacy anymore with simple, unencrypted email?

    Does anyone really believe there is any privacy anymore with ANYTHING? Technology, government and law enforcement practices, and the general public indifference are all converging to insure that nothing is hidden. Rant and rave, fight the good fight, but those of us who give a shit are becoming increasingly rare. It's an out of control freight train that can't be stopped -- delayed maybe, diverted to do less damage perhaps, but unstoppable.

    The only thing you can do is try to leave as small a footprint as possible. I know damn well that if someone really wanted to find me, or know my business, they could do so. I long ago abandoned any notion of being able to prevent any and all personal, corporate, or governmental snooping. All I can do is use some common sense, do nothing to call attention to myself, and try to make it as difficult as possible so as to not be worth the effort for all but those who are truly determined. And try to avoid doing the things that would make those determined folks want to find me.

    Unfortunately, the list of those things gets longer everyday, and all those peculiar interests and eccentric foibles I used to take pride in may now well brand me as "suspicious" and worthy of further scrutiny.

  • If you do not wish a thing heard

    do not say it.

    I wonder though, is a walk in a random park still private enough for some sensitive communications.

  • Works both ways (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @02:50PM (#24538755)

    If selling e-mail off of servers is not wiretapping, then its not wiretapping if the e-mail being sold belongs to the government, GOP, or whomever. Even if that e-mail is encrypted, the traffic analysis data is quite valuable. Law enforcement is way behind the game in link analysis. That is: who phones, or e-mails who, when and how often. That data has been gold to marketing departments for years. Undoubtedly, it will be valuable to political competitors, foreign intelligence agencies and others.

    It sounds like the door is wide open for a whole new business plan. The "3) ????" just before "4) Profit!" has now been solved.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      How many stories do we see of government laptops being stolen?

      I doubt encryption is used in governmnet email, even if it is the keys are on the unencrypted laptops that keep getting stolen.

  • by Fishbulb (32296)

    Aaaaannndd...
    If anyone out there still thinks their libertarian IT-guy-next-door is a bit over-the-top or paranoid for running his own email server in his basement, here's why*!

    Time to get an unfettered DSL line with a static IP and setup my own server.

    (Actually, time to become an email server configuration consultant)

    * - and yes, I RTFA'd and this has to do with slurping email off of a server's storage area and not making a copy of an email being transmitted

  • I learned from my time working for a web site design company (now long out of business) that even though your connection to a site may be secure, that doesn't mean that the site doesn't immediately forward your submitted form data to an aol.com address without the benefit of any encryption.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray

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