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Privacy Crime Encryption The Internet Your Rights Online

Do You Like Online Privacy? You May Be a Terrorist 720

schwit1 passes on this snippet from Public Intelligence: "A flyer designed by the FBI and the Department of Justice to promote suspicious activity reporting in internet cafes lists basic tools used for online privacy as potential signs of terrorist activity. The document, part of a program called 'Communities Against Terrorism,' lists the use of 'anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address' as a sign that a person could be engaged in or supporting terrorist activity. The use of encryption is also listed as a suspicious activity along with steganography, the practice of using 'software to hide encrypted data in digital photos' or other media. In fact, the flyer recommends that anyone 'overly concerned about privacy' or attempting to 'shield the screen from view of others' should be considered suspicious and potentially engaged in terrorist activities. ... The use of PGP, VPNs, Tor or any of the many other technologies for anonymity and privacy online are directly targeted by the flyer, which is distributed to businesses in an effort to promote the reporting of these activities."
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Do You Like Online Privacy? You May Be a Terrorist

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  • by iceaxe ( 18903 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:23PM (#38904961) Journal

    I think you are referring to Senator Joseph McCarthy [] and not General Douglas MacArthur []. Right?

  • by kdekorte ( 8768 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:23PM (#38904981)
    This was my first thought. I use VPNs and my corporate security policy discourages allowing people to view your screen. Plus we use PGP and other technologies to secure the company data. So basically if you are a remote worker you must be involved in terrorism based on the summary.
  • by sloth10k ( 1298709 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:30PM (#38905109)
    At the bottom of the flyer: "Each indictor listed above is by itself lawful conduct or behavior and may also constitute the exercise of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution." Don't let pesky details get in the way, JRIC...
  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:35PM (#38905185)

    So I guess our founding fathers were Terrorists then....

    Actually, yeah, they kind of were. They attacked, tarred, and feathered agents of the government. Held ships captive and destroyed their cargo. They secretly met, recruited, trained, and distributed propoganda. They illegally stored heavy weapons (Lexington and Concorde came as a direct result of th British attempting to locate and destroy weapons cahes of powder and cannon). Remember, our rebellion started out as an insurgency more than an open war, and in its early stages there is not much of a difference between terrorism and insurgencies. Probably the only difference is thatour founding fathers did not go out and hurt innocent people or kill civilians. Their targets were always governmetn agents or those representing government interests. That, and they for the most part adhered to the standard rules of war (except for hit and run attacks and snipers/intentional targeting of officers). So, while they could certainly be labelled terrorists, they should not be confused with the terrorists of today.

  • by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:51PM (#38905417)

    Secondly, as someone with such a low Slashdot account number (with a star too!), I'm really disappionted in you for having such an attitude regarding internet accounts. I expected better from you and everyone who modded you up.

    I'm not really sure what attitude you're referring to. I never claimed that having a registered account guaranteed anonymity. Anonymity can never be guaranteed, nor can any form of security, but it can be greatly strengthened.

  • by no-body ( 127863 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @03:13PM (#38905835)

    The Genie is out of the bottle and won't go back easily, if at all.

    Examples: National Security Letters

    "The Justice Department's Inspector General has reported that between 2003 and 2006, the FBI issued nearly 200,000 NSLs. The inspector General has also found serious FBI abuses of the NSL power."
    (from: [] )

    Catch 22:
    From: Susan Herman's book, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy:

    "A number of courts have declared that no one has standing - that is, the right to bring a lawsuit - to challenge eavesdropping programs unless they can prove that the government has been listening to their own telephone calls or intercepting their own-mails. That is a true Catch-22, when the whole point of secrecy is that the target is unaware of being the target."

    Issue a NSL to an ISP for all web traffic of a particular person, erroneously accuse a person of {something}. Defense lawyer can't do his job, person disappears.

  • by w_dragon ( 1802458 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @03:15PM (#38905863)
    Do you have a source for that quote? I've seen something similar that could be taken out of context that way, it was along the line of "If you're doing something you don't want people to know about, why are you telling Google about it?", and the context was that Google isn't going to break the law to cover your tracks if someone knocks on the door with a warrant.
  • by AnokWati ( 2478256 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:30PM (#38907183)

    Actually, everyone in the military because they're required to use display shields and VPN when working from anywhere outside their offices. But, according to Secretary Nepolitano, all military personnel (ex or current) are potential terrorists anyways, so why not?

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @05:16PM (#38907873)

    Can you believe that the Internet was once considered a place to escape identity? Where anonymity reigned? It's pretty amazing in retrospect how quickly that changed

    The Internet was once a place where your real identity was also your online identity []. The schools, companies, and organizations which comprised the Internet all voluntarily enforced a policy where each user's username was their real name, or anyone could easily figure it out from their username [].

    Anonymity didn't really arrive on the Internet until 1993, when AOL joined. AOL users were allowed to pick up to 5 pseudonyms as their email address (because one AOL account might be shared by an entire family). In retrospect, that change was really quick - a span of a couple years and pretty much everyone was allowed to pick whatever they wanted as a username.

    Personally, I think anonymity is the proverbial genie that's been let out of the bottle - it's gonna be really, really hard to put it back in. But a non-anonymous Internet isn't something new; it was the norm a mere 2+ decades ago. The funny thing is that when AOL joined, a lot of people were saying that anonymity would be the death of the Internet due to spam (it was already polluting Usenet), flame wars, posers, etc. When e-commerce was first taking off, people were questioning how online stores would ever be able to validate a customer's real identity when everyone was effectively anonymous behind self-selected usernames. Now the tables have turned and people are saying having your real identity known online will be the death of the Internet.

    The Internet has survived both extremes, so it's reasonable to think that it will also survive anything in between.

  • by Samalie ( 1016193 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @05:31PM (#38908115)

    While I won't comment on everything...

    Get stopped for a random breath test, and the cops can rip the contents of your mobile for whatever reason, just like they can ask you to pop the trunk for whatever reason.

    Bullshit. Repeat after me: "I do not consent to a search"

    The cops can ASK you if they can search you, your car, etc all they want. Without a warrant or evidence that a crime is being committed, they CANNOT search your person or property without your consent.

    I do not consent to a search. Know your rights!

  • by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <been_out_cruisin ... om ['hoo' in gap> on Thursday February 02, 2012 @06:53PM (#38909241) Homepage Journal

    This is actually a good point. I don't know about the FBI, but some friends of mine work for Boeing and have filters on their laptops' screens that massivle narrow the viewable angle (so somebody sitting behind and to one side of you can't read the screen).

    The reason? They have security clearance, and might accidentally have confidential info on their screen for a moment when they log on in a public place. The filter screen helps keep their display private... but it's exactly the kind of thing that is being suggested to be suspicious.

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @09:56PM (#38910959) Homepage Journal

    Repeat after me: "I do not consent to a search"

    Repeat after me: "The patriot act allows searches without a warrant within 100 miles of any US border." By which I mean legal in the sense that the law says so, though the constitution obviously forbids this outright, not that the constitution matters any longer. According to 2007 figures from the US Census Bureau, 197.4 million people, 2/3 of the United States' population, including the entire state of Florida, live within this adjacent-border strip.

    You might want to start reading here, then Google further. []

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling