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Privacy Advocates Protest FBI Warning of 'Going Dark' In Online Era 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-let-the-backdoor-hit-you-on-the-way-out dept.
CWmike writes "CNET's Declan McCullagh reported last week on the FBI's argument that the massive shift of communications from the telephone system to the Internet 'has made it far more difficult for the agency to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities.' The law has already been expanded once, in 2004, to include broadband networks, but still excludes Web companies. The FBI says its surveillance efforts are in danger of 'going dark' if it is not allowed to monitor the way people communicate now. Not surprisingly, a range of opponents, from privacy advocates to legal experts, disagree — strongly. On key tech hitch with the plan, per ACLU attorney Mark Rumold and others: There is a difference between wiretapping phones and demanding a backdoor to Internet services. 'A backdoor doesn't just make it accessible to the FBI — it makes it vulnerable to others,' Rumold says."
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Privacy Advocates Protest FBI Warning of 'Going Dark' In Online Era

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  • So sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @02:52PM (#39980561) Homepage
    Unconstitutional efforts to spy on citizens ended by progressing technology. I will have a nice little cry for the FBI tonight, right after my nightly one about RIAA lost profits due to piracy.
  • Re:Piss off, FBI (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2012 @03:01PM (#39980631)

    Slashdot on government surveillance: "Piss off, government! Respect my right to privacy!"

    Slashdot on Google surveillance: "So what if they archived people's emails and passwords for two years, and their CEO said only criminals have something to hide? They're just a poor, innocent company! Give them more of my personal data, I say."

  • Re:Piss off, FBI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @03:25PM (#39980785)

    Slashdot on government surveillance: "Piss off, government! Respect my right to privacy!"

    Slashdot on Google surveillance: "So what if they archived people's emails and passwords for two years, and their CEO said only criminals have something to hide? They're just a poor, innocent company! Give them more of my personal data, I say."

    Yeah, it's funny how geeks on Slashdot can actually differentiate between a private company recording snippets of non-encrypted data broadcast over radio waves by the public, and a concerted effort by the government to create backdoors (and a massive new security vulnerability) to let them do intentional surveillance of citizens. It's almost as if they are two completely separate issues.

    (and instead of the public complaining to the Wifi industry for letting AP's default to non-encrypted communications and complaining to web service providers for allowing passwords and other sensitive data to be sent over non SSL connections, they blame Google for capturing the data. If you're sending passwords and other sensitive data in plain text over Wifi, Google is the least of your worries, they're not going to use your captured password to hack into your online bank account).

  • Re:Piss off, FBI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @03:26PM (#39980791) Journal
    A corporation is not a government. Google does not wield the power of life and death over its users. See the difference? I can choose to not participate in the google universe, i cannot choose to exclude myself from the government's control.
  • Re:Piss off, FBI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by infolation (840436) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @04:03PM (#39980999)
    One is a free, voluntary service that you can sign up to, at the expense of your privacy.

    The other is a law, that applies to everyone, whether you like it or not.

    Slight difference.
  • Re:Piss off, FBI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @04:44PM (#39981263)
    Google wants to invade your privacy to target you with advertisements that you are more likely to click on and there-for more likely to make them money.

    The FBI wants to invade your privacy to levy fines on you, or put you in jail or even to death. Add to that that the FBI has a well recorded history of being used and abused by elected officials and corporations to manipulate, defraud and terrorize people and you can see why some are concerned.

    Do I like what Google is doing? No... but that's more of a "I wish they didn't do all that, it sucks" thing... What the FBI is doing scares the living shit out of me and makes me think we're one bad election away from the iron grip of some totalitarian nightmare.
  • Dear FBI... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @04:59PM (#39981327) Homepage

    Good luck. I can, right now have a heavily encrypted communication with several people over the internet that you will not be able to decrypt when the information is the most valuable to you. This is your own fault. You did not pressure Congress to fund the Sciences heavily to make sure we had the best and brightest here in the USA working for you. Instead you let them go off on their hunt on the constitution. You let the Fear engine get away from you and let the CIA have the ball with their Terrorism Bogeyman.

    Now it's too late. Even a 13 year old kid in a basement has the tools he needs to make a secure encrypted communication channel that would take you months or even years to crack. Long after it was valuable to do so.

    Want to fix it? Go to congress and scare the bejesus out of them, Get them to dump 20 to 30% of the Defense budget into Science and research. If we start now you can get back on top in about 10 to 15 years. It is the only way. If you dont, the bad guys will win. Get off your asses and scare the shit out of congress to get the funding, because if you actually talk to them like they were educated men, you will be wasting your time.

  • Re:So sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrekkieGod (627867) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @11:45PM (#39983125) Homepage Journal

    I heard a story about how a store called to reveal how some girl was pregnant just from her shopping patterns.

    It was Target, and they didn't call. They sent coupons for pregnancy products to her by mail.

    They figured this out by data mining, and her father was pissed. These companies say they can figure out stuff like this. That means they can figure out that you have AIDS and you're gay, or that you have cancer or herpes or whatever.

    Yeah, I know. But first, this entirely new, it's case of old things becoming new again. Think about the situation of a small town where everybody knows everybody else. Now a young girl walks in to buy a pregnancy test. The drug-store owner knows her, and now he has information she might be pregnant.

    Either way, Target figured out this type of direct targeted advertisement freaks people out, so they're kind of hiding they have the knowledge. For example, when they figure out somebody is pregnant, they'll send them coupons for pregnancy products along with coupons for something someone pregnant would not buy, such as wine. This makes it seem random. It also prevents the father from finding out from the store, instead of from his daughter (although that particular story was never confirmed by the journalists. Target can figure out somebody is pregnant by what they buy, but the whole 'father got upset' thing could be apocryphal).

    That information is sold around and then insurance companies and drug companies can exclude you from clinical trials that would save your life because they think you'll mess up their numbers or cost them too much.

    And that is a problem. I agree with you when a company sells that information to anyone else, that is highly unethical, and should be illegal. By purchasing things from a company, you chose to give them data about you. If you wanted to avoid that, you can always buy it with cash, and not use any discount cards. However, you didn't authorize them to give that data to anybody else, and I think there's a much greater privacy violation when companies can get a complete picture of everything you've purchased from different stores.

    That's kind of tracking for profit is unethical.

    No, I think the tracking is fine. The selling of information is unethical.

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