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"Lawful Spying" Price Lists Leaked 245

Posted by Soulskill
from the reading-your-terrible-manga-poetry-on-the-cheap dept.
ogaraf writes "Wired has a story about how the site Cryptome.org leaked the price lists for 'lawful spying' activities of Yahoo and other companies, and subsequently received a DMCA takedown notice from Yahoo. The documents, however, are still posted online, and in them you can learn, for instance, that IP logs last for one year, but the original IPs used to create accounts have been kept since 1999. The contents of your Yahoo account are bought for $30 to $40 by law enforcement agencies."
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"Lawful Spying" Price Lists Leaked

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:35PM (#30344666)

    I like the part where Yahoo complains that the leaking of the document could "shock" its users and damage its reputation. Shoulda thought of that earlier, huh?

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:40PM (#30344708)
    Time for paid services with explicit privacy protection. There is a good business case for this, I think, but will require thoughtful way to market to the masses. Any ideas?
  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:43PM (#30344728) Journal

    Yeah. Forget about it. It's impossible to verify. That doesn't make impossible to sell to the nearest sucker though.

  • by el_jake (22335) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:48PM (#30344758)
    But this "search warrant" give you a lot more than just Mr. John Doe at some street.. It gives you all the Doe's at a specific month who visited some URL. That is freaking privacy intrusion. Goodbye Yahoo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:54PM (#30344818)

    It's not that Yahoo occasionally complies with the authorities. It is that they have a pricing scheme for it. Maybe this is common practice, but it sounds like instead of fighting for the user, Yahoo is rolling over and perhaps even jumping at the opportunity to make a quick buck by selling out someone's confidential information.

    End of liberty as we know it? No. Scary, when combined with the US government's increasingly arbitrary conditions for search warrants if you're a "terrorist"? Yes.

  • by jpmorgan (517966) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:56PM (#30344838) Homepage

    They have a document describing search warrant compliance, and here you have /. misrepresenting it as 'we sell your private information to the lowest bidder!'

    Seems like a rational fear to me.

  • by jpmorgan (517966) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:57PM (#30344850) Homepage

    If you don't like judicial powers, take it up with your representative and senators.

  • by Dreadneck (982170) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:58PM (#30344866)

    "You don't think they actually spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?"

    That depends on how heavily invested the committee chairman is in the hammer and toilet seat industries.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:05PM (#30344926) Homepage Journal

    I hate corporations. I hate them with every fiber of my being.
    Although I still like them better than government

    Corporations are legal fictions created by governments, so no need to feel conflicted. It's what makes regulatory capture so poisonous, and kills the negative feedback required for a balance of power.

    But, hey, what's destroying a system of government or two when there's a Rockefeller empire to be made in oil?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:05PM (#30344928)

    and what makes you this /. does not collect data and market it to pay their own bills?

  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:09PM (#30344956)
    If you get 1000 requests a month from various law enforcement agencies across the country, that's an awful lot of man hours to dedicate to these requests. If you have a fee in place to cover costs in the first place, it ensures that a surge in requests doesn't drain the budget of the department in charge of sorting them out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:12PM (#30344986)

    The privacy intrusion does not start with the search. It starts with retaining the information.

  • Re:We (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:12PM (#30344988) Homepage Journal

    We the people is a law enforcement agency.

    We the People ought to be enforcing the Common Law, but ... hey, who's on Idol tonight?

  • by jimicus (737525) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:20PM (#30345044)

    But this "search warrant" give you a lot more than just Mr. John Doe at some street.. It gives you all the Doe's at a specific month who visited some URL. That is freaking privacy intrusion. Goodbye Yahoo.

    Who exactly were you planning on using for email or IM that will ignore a subpoena from law enforcement? What good will it do you unless everyone you communicate with also uses such a provider? What about your connection to that provider?

    If you become interesting to law enforcement, you're living in another world if you think they won't consider it worthy of further investigation that so many connections from your ISP are to an email provider (or, if paranoid a VPN endpoint) in another country known to be un-cooperative with your local law enforcement.

  • Re:We (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lwsimon (724555) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:24PM (#30345086) Homepage Journal

    In the US, the people are the final authority on what is right and wrong, Constitutional or not.

    In my opinion, Marbury v. Madison was a terrible ruling, and the beginning of the American decline. Without that ruling, it would have been up to the people to police Congress, and the level of apathy we see today would have never been attained.

  • by sjames (1099) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:26PM (#30345096) Homepage

    Nothing compels Yahoo to keep logs for as long as they do. That's what bothers people. That and that Yahoo wanted to keep it a secret from their users.

  • by Nutria (679911) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:29PM (#30345122)

    Yes: you're an idiot to think that even the most expensive "explicit privacy protection" paid services won't comply with warrants.

  • Shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:38PM (#30345184) Homepage

    Yahoo wrote in its objection letter that if its pricing information were disclosed to Soghoian, he would use it “to ’shame’ Yahoo! and other companies — and to ’shock’ their customers.”

    It's hard to shame someone who doesn't already feel that they have something to be ashamed of. I guess we know Yahoo understands it's behavior to be shameful but continues to do it.

  • by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:42PM (#30345206)

    Some of us have brains and skills to not need corporations.

    Never mind the multitude of corporations responsible for the manufacturing of your computer... Or the ones running your network connection... Nope, don't need corporations at all. Build everything with my own two hands from scratch!

  • by jschottm (317343) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:49PM (#30345266)

    It gives you all the Doe's at a specific month who visited some URL.

    If the government suspects that a URL is being used to do illicit communications, how else do you expect them to figure out who was trying to get the message? Particularly if they're clever enough that rather than having an URL of someserver.com/alqaida/people_we_will_kill.html, they've used steganography to embed the information in an otherwise harmless looking file?

    The question is not whether such search warrants have been granted, it's whether it has been done so in an abusive manner. And that's not covered in this document.

  • by corbettw (214229) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `wttebroc'> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:57PM (#30345340) Journal

    A confidential internal memo detailing plans for building a new type of engine could "promote the Progress of Science"; ergo, it deserves copyright protection. It also details trade secrets that could damage the company it belongs to; ergo, it deserves to be treated as confidential. Using this example, I'm having a hard time understanding your complaint.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:13PM (#30345490)
    What makes it sinister isn't so much what it says, but that it's supposed to be secret in the first place, and the takedown notice now that it has been divulged. I prefer to know what my rights are in the first place, thankyouverymuch. There's this idea that we can't let people know the rules of the game, since bad guys would then exploit them. Admittedly there is some truth to this; look at how corporations freeload by playing games with the tax codes. But what is the alternative? A lawless state where everybody lives with the vague threat of "stay in line or something bad might happen."
  • by LandruBek (792512) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:19PM (#30345522)

    Right, and ooh, a subpoena is SO hard to issue! No judge need be involved; prosecutors get to write them themselves -- motivated, perhaps, by nothing more than a hunch.

    There's a huge difference between a warrant and a subpoena.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:40PM (#30345670)

    Here's a few good reasons that "nothing to hide" is a crock of crap:

    1. The government is run by humans, which almost by the definition of the word are inherently fallible.
    2. The government, also by definition, has the power to disrupt your life/put you in jail/confiscate your goods,
    3. The above two combine to form a chilling effect upon your rights being exercised as you see fit.
    4. Just as with quantum mechanics, the government cannot snoop without causing side effects in what they're snooping on.

    So plenty of people have a darn good reason to not want government nosiness even IF they are not breaking the law.

  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:58PM (#30345784) Journal

    It's not that Yahoo occasionally complies with the authorities. It is that they have a pricing scheme for it.

    Think that one through. If there were no price list posted for the information, then any fool in a bureaucracy can request it and get it. However, government bureaus being what they are, if you put so much as a $50 price tag on the information, you may be requiring said bureaucrat to jump through many hoops and have their actions questioned and tracked. This tiny fee will likely annoy them and stop a very large proportion of inquiries.

    A friend of mine (a army colonel in Logistics) said that in government, it's often easier to spend a billion dollars than it is to spend fifty.

    I salute Yahoo's putting at least a speed-bump in the way. It's something.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:33PM (#30346016) Homepage

    It also assures that some LEA can't carry out a vendetta by flooding them with 1000000 requests a day.

    I do wonder how a surge of requests would be handled by a department that has a fixed staff. Would there be a backlog and delay? Could they have an "expedite" fee?

  • Dynamic IPs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastarNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:46PM (#30346114) Homepage Journal

    most people use Dynamic IPs, so they can subpoena the IPs but they will get a lot of "false positives" to track down the owner of those Yahoo IDs. Most people do not have the same ISP they had in 1999 due to the great dial-up to broadband rush after the Dotcom bubble burst. You'll have grandmothers and teenagers be accused of stuff that some random stranger that shared a dynamic IP address with them did.

    Thanks to the Patriot Act, the police, NSA, FBI etc can get the information without a search warrant. The Democrats lead by Obama had promised to remove the Patriot Act as soon as they took office, but why it is still a law, I'll never know. But then many of them voted to pass it when Bush was President anyway. Both the Democrats and Republicans are corrupt in that way.

    By the way Yahoo uses web beacons to track web site usage and most users don't know how to opt out of that. I've opted out of it several times already.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday December 06, 2009 @06:05PM (#30346322) Homepage Journal

    If we allow corporations as legal persons they should be subject to dissolution for certain abuses.

    This is an extremely important point, especially in the US right now. Our Supreme Court is arguing whether a corporation can give unlimited amounts of money to a political candidate. The argument is that if a corporation is considered to be a person, and holds all the rights of a person, then that should include the right of free speech, and money equals speech, so therefore they should be allowed to give unlimited funds to a candidate. Forget for a moment the amount of logical acrobatics required to accept that argument, what it comes down to is that the corporations have the money, thus they must be allowed to have all the power. Any chance of separating corporate wealth from political power hinges on this decision by the Supreme Court. If it finds for the corporations, there will never be another official elected on a national level that does not hold the interests of one or more corporations above the interests of the people or the Nation.

    Unfortunately, the broad range of civil rights granted to corporations-as-persons does not come with the same responsibilities, both moral and legal, that are required of the flesh-and-blood type of persons. For example, we are brought up in the US to believe there is great shame in declaring bankruptcy, and that anyone who walks away from a mortgage that is "upside-down" or "under water" should be branded with the sign of shame. Yet, in the corporate world, bankruptcy and default are common, an accepted part of doing business. It is not only acceptable for a corporation whose liabilities outweigh its assets to default on its obligations, but it is considered "the right thing to do" to preserve capital. No shame, no harm, no foul. A company that has defaulted can "reorganize" and come back as if nothing has happened. But if someone who owes half a million dollars on a house that's worth $200k and drops the keys in the mailbox and walks away must be shunned and receive no help, lest it create a "moral hazard" (yes, that's the term the actually use).

    The fiction that a corporation deserves all the rights as a person, or should even be considered a person in any legal sense at all, is one that will continue to damage the future of the US, perhaps permanently. The problem is, the only people who could possibly stop this insanity, are funded primarily by corporate dollars. It appears to be an intractable, maybe fatal flaw in our system.

  • by Smallpond (221300) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @06:08PM (#30346338) Homepage Journal

    Good point. Maybe you should have linked to regulatory capture so the mods would have a clue what you were talking about.

    heh, yeah, the Rockefeller mods are out in force today. I suppose it is too much to expect a basic knowledge about the history of Standard Oil.

    Rockefeller n. - See Robber Baron.

    We know the telecoms and government are in each others pockets, but Yahoo?

    Once a corporation goes public and is involved in significant M&A they're at the government's mercy. The TARP scandal has brought out just how strongly the screws get put on.

    If we allow corporations as legal persons they should be subject to dissolution for certain abuses. That should satisfy both pro-civil rights liberals and pro-death penalty conservatives.

    Sure, any corporate charter can be suspended or revoked. It just never happens, except very minimally at the local levels.

    SEC could be the poster boys for regulatory capture given the way bad management has plundered shareholder's money. Look at what happened with all those companies and who went to jail? Martha Stewart. Give me a break.

  • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot@ideasmat[ ].org ['ter' in gap]> on Monday December 07, 2009 @08:52AM (#30351578) Journal

    Never mind the multitude of corporations responsible for the manufacturing of your computer... Or the ones running your network connection... Nope, don't need corporations at all. Build everything with my own two hands from scratch!

    We need division of labor in order to have a decent quality of life. We do not, however, need incorporation to confer the benefits of personhood (e.g. free speech, bankruptcy) without the responsibilities of personhood (e.g. criminal culpability).

    That you so completely failed to miss this obvious point, suggests that you are either dishonest or a fool.

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