U.S. Is Working to Ease Wiretaps on the Internet

Discussion in 'privacy problems' started by Osaban, Sep 27, 2010.

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  1. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

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    I don't see this ever happening. If anything the laws (if passed) will only pertain to those providing services (like RIM or AT&T, etc.). They will have a huge problem with the courts if they make the use of encryption by individuals illegal. For one, it's a 1st amendment issue and, for another, how can they prove something is actually encrypted? Random data could be random data. A PGP e-mail could just be jibberish. What are they going to do? Pass a law against sending jibberish emails? For example:

    10DCB7143ADCA9E9371FC6D6616F118E05F1EA03B935DCAB35E3DD4CF8C13

    Prove the above is an encrypted document or file. You can't (and it isn't -- it is just a random hex string). Do they really think they can get away with making the above string illegal?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  2. hierophant

    hierophant Registered Member

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    Probably not ;) And perhaps they could make the software illegal. I believe that it's illegal to possess printers that can counterfeit currency, for example. Even with the Second Amendment, many types of guns are illegal. Does the Fourth Amendment confer the right to possess encryption software? I don't have a clue (and I'm dubious).
     
  3. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    This is always where problems crop up. My right to this, my right to that. And what exactly do these rights mean when one chooses to ignore them completely or play favorites with them? Your supposed rights are ignored all the time. Obama doesn't care about Congress and goes over their heads or leaves them out of discussions period. What makes people think the Constitution is any different? That's a case of ignoring rights.

    A case of playing favorites is free speech. Let's take (probably only U.S citizens will know about these people) Westboro "Baptist Church" as an example. For those of you who don't know, these are the ones who show up to private military funerals and shout, scream, and threaten about soliders dying and going to hell because of America's tolerance of homosexuals. They claim the First Amendment. No one stops them because of the First Amendment. However, when does it stop being a case of that and a case of hate speech, which IS prosecuted?

    Let's take another example, religion. (Mods, bear with me, I'm not turning this into a religious thing, just giving a single example). Crosses on the side of a road, "In God We Trust", many examples of one religion, banned. However, Muslim classes are being taught in school, Muslim women are being allowed to cover their faces for drivers license photos, "Sharia law" is being allowed to be set up in Muslim communities. Where is the fairness in that? (No, I am NOT attacking Muslims, I blame government and advocacy groups, not them).

    Your rights mean absolutely nothing to a leader or government that does not care. Public opinion is ignored by the administration of the U.S, why on earth would they care about your claimed rights? If you're looking for the court to champion your cause, I'm laughing right now at the thought. The courts are being filled up with like-minded people. Increasingly federal courts are on the side of government. The Supreme Court is your last hope, and there are very, very few of the 9 judges left who aren't the same way.

    As to how the government is going to know the difference between "jibberish and encryption", that kind of a thought is simply a last hope type of thought, a "surely this can't happen" wishful thinking mindset. In other words, a false hope. Tell me something, how often do "jibberish" emails and data get transmitted by your average citizen? How often are they sending out hex data? How many of them even know what the hell "hex data" is? I hope you don't think that you and those that are like you that have an interest in privacy, security, and know how to use encryption tools, make up any tangible amount of the population that would allow your idea to work.

    Your little world is small, a tiny little fraction of the planet. The rest of the world sends out data in unencrypted, easily intercepted traffic. So please, drop that "they can't tell the difference" nonsense. I didn't mean for all that to come off so snobby, but too many won't face reality. "They" can do whatever they damn well please because "they" put people in place to back them up and "they" think your precious Constitution is outdated at best, an antique toilet paper at worst.
     
  4. hierophant

    hierophant Registered Member

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    Yes, my rights to drive 200 km/h doing good blow are totally dissed :'(

    That's his job. Guns and butter. He's the butter. For you know what. More guns coming. Capital leaving, gone. Don't speak Chinese. So it goes.

    Wasn't there a recent president who said it's "just a piece of paper"?

    There are some pretty strange Hasidic communities too.

    For one thing, it's a common misconception that the USA is a democracy. It's not. It's a republic. Pure democracies can devolve into mob rule. Leaders need to ignore public opinion sometimes.

    Courts are part of the government. And think it through -- judges are successful lawyers. With good business and political connections. Whose interests do you think they favour? Ultimately, who has the money?

    Well, encryption is pretty pervasive in web browsing, and most people probably don't notice -- they just click the links. For whatever reasons, encrypted email hasn't caught on. We need email apps that make encryption and signing transparent, not some plugin that's complicated to configure.

    You're probably correct. And, within limits, so can we.
     
  5. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    I probably shouldn't have brought up the Muslim/Christian issue, but it is, in my view, a great example of how in the U.S and increasingly more countries, it's okay for one side, but for another. There WAS a President who said the Constitution was just a piece of paper, and I'm thinking that it was said privately, perhaps by Obama himself. That I need to research though as I don't remember who actually did say it. It could have been Bush. I don't think driving fast and doing good blow is the best example of rights being ignored, lol, but I did find that pretty funny.

    We've got to understand that the government doesn't think like we do. To us, rights and freedoms are an essential part of human living. To them, it's a nuisance that just gets in their way and delays them. If we keep assuming they won't come against us, if we keep having the mindset that our Constitution is some magical, unbreakable wall they can't get through, then we as a people will lose, and we will lose badly. The "days gone by" are exactly that, gone.


    Edit: The "piece of paper" comment was attributed to George Bush back in 2005, reported by a Doug Thompson who stated it was told to a roomful of Republican leaders, during a meeting on the Patriot Act. However, there is no evidence to support it, and Mr. Thompson has relied on untrustworthy sources a number of times who turned out to be wrong. Is it entirely possible it was said? Of course. There is plenty of evidence today that such a statement is believed by the current administration.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  6. hierophant

    hierophant Registered Member

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    @dw426

    So, can we agree that repressive governments don't work for us?

    PS - Although administrations come and go, they are merely figureheads, IMHO.
     
  7. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    We certainly can agree, and you're right, the President and their administration is just one part of the overall picture.
     
  8. hierophant

    hierophant Registered Member

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    For sure. They're giving up no power, and grabbing as much more as they can. The sorts of technologies discussed here may be our only hope for freedom.
     
  9. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

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    The 4th amendment wouldn't really apply. It's more of a 1st amendment issue (free speech). This is exactly what happened with Phil Zimmerman in the 90's -- the Feds arrested him and charged him with exporting munitions (encryption software). However, he went and published the code in book form and said "I dare you to try and stop me. If you do, you will be trampling on my first amendment right to publish academic texts). They dropped the charges. And later the export laws were loosened. Things get really dicey when the government wants to suppress speech, and encryption manuals/books are speech.

    Now, one might argue "well certain software is illegal, things like viruses, etc.). Well, first of all, I don't think it is illegal to possess virus source code (or at least I don't think it is, though I do think it is illegal to write them with the intent of causing harm -- someone correct me if I am wrong). Encryption software is not meant to cause harm or damage to someone else's property, thus I think it will be very hard to lake it illegal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  10. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    You make an extremely good point regarding the book issues. However, once code takes on software form, then you run into law (if encryption software were outlawed.) We can talk about it all we want, speech freedom covers that, it's when we practice it that issues would arise. Perhaps they would run into problems outlawing the actual software, due to it's many legitimate uses, that's a fair and reasonable argument. However, a law easily could be passed requiring actual transmission of data over the internet to remain unencrypted, able to be intercepted and traceable. This would apply to surfing via proxy/VPN and emails. That right there is a huge amount of security and privacy gone.

    As far as I'm aware, possession of virus code isn't illegal, but, to be very honest, I'm not sure existing laws are specific enough to say for sure. Right now we are in a somewhat decent place due to existing laws not keeping up very well with technology. However, that started being fixed during the Bush administration and is being pushed hard under Obama.
     
  11. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    I heard on the news a long time ago that people in the Netherlands (or somewhere over there) were selling child porn through the mail. You could just order it like any other mail order. Maybe people will start doing that kind of thing again. It may actually end up being easier to commit crimes through the mail.
     
  12. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    That could be a possibility in other countries, but here in the U.S, I'm not so sure. For one thing, mail here is looked at pretty thoroughly. Also, postal workers themselves are notorious for being snoops, and then you have the identity thieves grabbing mail out of boxes, dumpster diving, and all that. It COULD work, but that would be one hell of a risk. In a country where you have to show I.D, use your social security card and everything else to do just about everything but breathe, I certainly wouldn't risk it if I were that type of person. I sure as hell wouldn't have things like that sent to my home.

    The only good thing would be that through the mail, it isn't some untraceable foreign website that there is no hope of finding out whether it's law enforcement or not. It worked in the 50s, 60s and 70s, I guess it could work now.


    Edit: Considering there are no huge server farms to collect physical mail as there are digital data, no software to run that data through to check for "red flag words" and other things that are possible with digital data, you may very well be right. Not even the government has the manpower to go through every single piece of mail sent from every single citizen inside the country, let alone mail coming into the country. Unless of course they outright ban paper, and now we're REALLY stretching ideas, lol.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  13. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    That is what I have been thinking. So just as criminals on the net might use tor or a proxy to hide who they are and what they are sending and receiving, the U.S. Mail and/or other services could be sort of "proxied" in way to obscure what type of mail it is and who it is for. And as you mentioned, they do not have a way to scan every single piece of mail. Plus the laws are more concrete for the U.S. Mail, as far as I know. It is a crime to even open someone's mail box.
     
  14. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    Well, a crime for you and I. The government can choose to ignore "troublesome laws", so we always must remember that. However, I think they've focused TOO much on the digital age, and perhaps left a gigantic hole to be exploited the "old fashioned" way. I cracked a bit of a smile thinking of this, but just imagine people using encryption methods from the 1800s on back to the earliest centuries. They are expecting Tor, they are expecting Truecrypt, PGP. What they aren't expecting is invisible inks, substitution ciphers, and hieroglyphics, lol. Now I will certainly grant you that none of those methods are truly secure. If they suspect something, the jig is up as computers alone would make something like a substitution cipher a joke.

    However, it's MORE than enough to make your local postal worker shrug his or her shoulders and pass it along without a second thought.
     
  15. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    What do they do in these cases? Hack the computer? Send a key logger through that antivirus companies white list, and then capture their passwords?
     
  16. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    The Case For Wiretapping The Internet.

    -- Tom
     
  17. hierophant

    hierophant Registered Member

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    This article is itself a perfect example of extremist terrorism ;)

    P.S. See the fnords?
     
  18. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

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    What I don't understand is that they already do this. NSA, as we all know, has hardware installed at the ISP backbones that filter through every e-mail and webpage visited on the Internet. Of course, the FBI and NSA are separate entities, but they are supposed to be sharing information now (that was the whole point of the Director of National Intelligence).

    Moreover, the FBI itself can already tap into the ISP's office with a warrant (CALEA), so I am not sure what else they want. I guess they just want warrantless wiretaps. Typical big government tyranny.
     
  19. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    Here's a thought :D

    Maybe the NSA/CIA etc etc can now tap into each others pipes :D That should keep em busy spying on each other ;)
     
  20. hierophant

    hierophant Registered Member

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    I wonder how they keep track of who's who?
     
  21. nix

    nix Registered Member

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    It's easy. NSA guys like a little Kraftwerk playloop going on, while CIA prefer them some Rammstein :D .
     
  22. hierophant

    hierophant Registered Member

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    Those are both rather old-school. Me, I'm rocking to "Whittling" by Vibesquad :D
     
  23. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    All I can say to that is :thumb: to the CIA, lol.
     
  24. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    Here's old school doing something a little newer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4U7B_ctnJM
     
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