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FBI Has Tor Mail's Entire Email Database 195

An anonymous reader writes "Tor Mail was an anonymized email service run over Tor. It was operated by a company called Freedom Hosting, which was shut down by the FBI last August. The owner was arrested for 'enabling child porn,' and the Tor Mail servers suddenly began hosting FBI malware that attempted to de-anonymize users. Now, Wired reports on a new court filing which indicates that the FBI was also able to grab Tor Mail's entire email database. 'The filings show the FBI built its case in part by executing a search warrant on a Gmail account used by the counterfeiters, where they found that orders for forged cards were being sent to a TorMail e-mail account: "" Acting on that lead in September, the FBI obtained a search warrant for the TorMail account, and then accessed it from the bureau's own copy of "data and information from the TorMail e-mail server, including the content of TorMail e-mail accounts," according to the complaint (PDF) sworn out by U.S. Postal Inspector Eric Malecki.'"
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FBI Has Tor Mail's Entire Email Database

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  • Wait, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:27PM (#46082953) Journal

    Anyone with an Internet connection is capable of 'enabling child porn'.

    Fuck sakes - is CP now the backdoor to the whole US Constitution (not to mention the means by which anyone, anywhere, can be arrested for any reason?)

    Someone needs to seriously put a curb on this.

  • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:27PM (#46082963)

    In those zombie movies, no matter how well the humans are barricaded in a place, eventually the slow-witted zombies will always break in. They have all the numbers and time required.

  • Re:Wait, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:33PM (#46083023)

    Mentioning "child porn" and "backdoor" is probably a poor choice of words when you're logged in and traceable.

  • really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Connie_Lingus ( 317691 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:34PM (#46083031) Homepage

    i don't understand why people think that the FBI and NSA and CIA are just going to stand by and allow criminal activity when informants (no doubt where law enforcement gets 90% of its info) tell them how and where it's happening.

    technology may slow them down a bit, but people are foolish if you think your VPN and Tor browser is going to protect you for long *if* a three-letter agency really decides to getya.

  • by ClayDowling ( 629804 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:34PM (#46083037) Homepage

    When you trust a third party, with whom you have no actual connection, to keep your data private, you are pretty much asking to have it compromised. The best encryption and anonymity schemes in the world are useless in the face of a court order or questionable system administration. Did you really think some anonymous person was willing to go to jail for your privacy? You're both silly and naive if you think so.

  • Re:Wait, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:36PM (#46083073)

    Is CP now the backdoor to the whole US Constitution (not to mention the means by which anyone, anywhere, can be arrested for any reason?)

    Now? Where have you been for the past 20 years?

  • Presumed guilty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dynamoo ( 527749 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:37PM (#46083081) Homepage
    So, are the users of TorMail being presumed guilty because they dared to use a system that the NSA couldn't intercept?
  • Re:Wait, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:53PM (#46083317)
    Well, the Feds needed another backdoor. That Fourth Amendment thing really gets in the way of building up an impressive arrest record and getting promoted. You can't play the terrorism card *all* the time. People might catch on.
  • Re:Wait, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @03:00PM (#46083417) Homepage Journal

    Spiro Agnew must be cackling in his grave.

    Same for John Edgar Hoover.

    If you're not on their list, it only means they haven't got around to you yet.

    everyone is guilty of something, sooner or later

  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @03:09PM (#46083551) Homepage

    What kind of pron is it? A girl of 17 years, 364 days, looking "provocative"?

    No. Next question?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @03:25PM (#46083741)

    See, that's the thing. They weren't providing hosting services SPECIFICALLY to child pornographers. They were providing services to ANYONE. Anyone at all. No questions asked.

    Some of those people happened to be child pornographers. The vast majority of them were not.

    You're arguing it's reasonable to presume that any user of a service that is ALSO used by criminals should reasonably be treated as suspect? Oh, child. You don't think there's child pornographers on GMail? Using EC2? With Instagram accounts? What service that's open to all ISN'T "a crime ridden neighborhood" in your example?

  • by HyperQuantum ( 1032422 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @03:28PM (#46083767) Homepage

    They only think about the children when it fits their agenda.

  • Re:Wait, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Monday January 27, 2014 @03:30PM (#46083789) Homepage Journal

    So, here's the rub:

    When evaluating a hosting company of some flavor, you also have to know if they are hosting anything that could be interpreted as permitting its services to be used for child porn, terrorism, drug talk, insider trading, prostitution, seditious speech, pornography, hate speech, sins against the Father, sins against the President, or campaign finance.

    If so, don't depend on that service for any privacy.

    Basically, if there's a US nexus, you cannot hire a hosting company and expect any privacy.

    The terrorists hate us for our freedoms. Go shopping.

  • Re:Wait, WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sperbels ( 1008585 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @03:46PM (#46083979)

    our rights online were sure to erode in the name of fighting terrorism, CP, hacking, and/or drug dealing. Wow, that was an amazing prediction

    No it wasn't. Even before the internet, these things were used violate peoples constitutional rights.

  • Re:NO, no no! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @04:08PM (#46084231)

    Good question. If only there was a modern day precedent for the US Military having a difficult time overcoming a vastly inferior enemy of insurgents.

  • Re:really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @04:27PM (#46084529)

    The point of this article is not that the FBI went into a companies email server and collected the emails of some criminals. The point of the article is that the FBI declared the entire email service criminal, collected its entire contents, and kept it for their own and then started advertizing it as a legitimate service. This is clearly, without a doubt, unconstitutional. Not only are they violating all the innocent people who were using the services rights, they are violating the CRIMINALS rights as well! They've jeopardized their own convictions and the only 2 outcomes of this are:

    1. The convictions stand, and the US continues down this totalitarian surveillance state road.
    2. The SCOTUS finally gets off their collective asses and declares this unconstitutional... unwinding decades worth of convictions based on illegal evidence and releasing tens of thousands of some of the worst criminals we have back on the streets.

    Neither on of those options are very palatable and I'd prefer the FBI gets back to investigating rather than spying to do their jobs.

  • by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @04:47PM (#46084789)

    I miss George Carlin [] this was part of such a good bit. Too much focus on kids and totally ignoring that adults should think and acting as if children should be infinitely protected.

  • Considering that the official definition of "Child Porn" includes cartoons, and has been in the past used to arrest people for the possession of cartoons of "apparently underage" (don't remember the rest, sorry), I'm not willing to accept ANYTHING they say about the child porn problem.

    Enforce the laws that already exist against violence and abuse. Do that and the entire problem goes away. (And if people want to see provocative cartoons, so what. It doesn't hurt anybody, and if you don't like it, just don't watch it.)

    FWIW, given the prevalence of anime, I'd say that there's a huge market for cartoon child porn, given a strict enough definition of porn. And so what! It just doesn't matter. Enforce the laws against violence and abuse, and the problem goes away.

    P.S.: Before this became an issue, it was, or appeared to be, much less of a problem. Most parents had explicit photographs of their children. And I just don't see that as a problem.

  • Re:Wait, WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @08:02PM (#46086765)

    One would expect a 100% anonymous hosting company to not engage in illegal practices which would force their company to be taken down. Unfortunately even the most tech savvy people are dumber than rocks.

    No, one would expect a 100% anonymous hosting company to be incapable of knowing whether they are engaged in illegal activity. If the hosting company can tell the difference then they are less than 100% anonymous.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.