Fresh net-privacy hell.
July 11, 2000 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Fresh net-privacy hell.
posted by aflakete (12 comments total)
wow, this is getting scary.
posted by dominic at 4:02 PM on July 11, 2000

wow, this is getting scary.
posted by dominic at 4:04 PM on July 11, 2000

oh no! they can read my personal email!
it doesn't matter, what're they gonna do with it? "Oh, did you hear starduck likes some chick who sits next to him in clasS?" "oh that's nothing! did you hear what luvergirl69 said to him yesterday? YOWZA"
s'kinda like being embarassed about something in front of people you don't know.
However, as I do plan MANY crimes over my email, I'll start thinking smarter and using ICQ instead!
posted by starduck at 6:42 PM on July 11, 2000

just sayin, wasn't worried about what they ead, just the fact that the can.
posted by dominic at 8:02 PM on July 11, 2000

This is what the FBI does. I thought everybody knew that.

They have to get a court order and they have to park a box at your ISP. You do know that anyone with minimal admin access at your ISP can read your email don't you? And if you're sending mail from work there is a 50% chance that your boos is reading it. I'd be more worried about that sort of thing. if you were doing anything the FBI wanted to know about you'd be encrypting your mail anyway.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:57 PM on July 11, 2000

Despite the intimidating name the feds have given these things, the hardware doesn't sound significantly different from a hardcore net admin's legitimate packet-sniffing rig.
posted by harmful at 9:55 PM on July 11, 2000

So, Fox is officially using "e-mail" as a singular noun now? Is each of the letters delivered to my house daily a "mail"? No. It's a letter.Is there no safe ground for an e-pedant?
posted by droob at 10:21 PM on July 11, 2000

What is scary about this is that the communications act does not address this sort of thing in the same way that the wiretap laws did in ther 40's. To this day, the FBI and other entities are forced to employ a minimal use policy, in other words, if the line they are tapping is not being used by a suspect, they have to get off. If the suspect is chatting about something other than what the warrant exists for, they have to get off. Etc... there are no built in protections in the communications act that behave like the old wiretap laws. They pretty much have free reign to do what they will... I hate it. Here's more information about how they will expand this authority to an even broader and more vague level, very disturbing.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 7:33 AM on July 12, 2000

Here's some wild speculation for you: if the stated goals of this system can be accomplished through software mods or off-the-shelf hardware, could the sealed box serve some other purpose?
posted by harmful at 8:39 AM on July 14, 2000

Wow, Cringley has a soap box? I did not know that.

If nothing good comes out of this whole FBI thing (which I'm going to wager will be the case) at least I have a new site to read.
posted by cCranium at 9:25 AM on July 14, 2000

(reads Cringly bit)

Wow. And I thought /. had that whole Paranoia thing wrapped up.

For those who don't want to read the article (you should, Cringley writes better than I do), a summary: There are currently 20 Carnivore boxes. The most effective place for them in a network is right after the ISP's router, which turns effectively turns them into a switch that can be controlled from anywhere on the Internet. If the FBI manages to get Carnivores in every ISP, they'll have the ability to block everything coming in and out of the router, thereby shutting down the Internet.

Despite the fact that it's only shutting down the Internet in America, I still felt a horrific chill down my spine. It's a spooky thought.
posted by cCranium at 9:35 AM on July 14, 2000

I think at one time Gore mentioned the idea of creating a second Internet that would be more rigidly controlled. It sounded like they were gonna leave the present Internet as it is, but put this new thing on top of it which would be more secure and limiting. It would be vaguely like having two newsgroups about the same thing: one that's open season and the other that's moderated and controlled. Only, they'd each be running on two separate systems and while anyone could access and post to the old, not everyone could post to the new one without going through some control features. Perhaps some Americans would not have access to it at all, and foreign interests would only be allowed in if they promised to play by America's rules.

Not everyone with a computer could post to it. It would be for government and corporate use predominantly, with push tech and the old broadcast model as paramount. It was how the cybermalls were going to kick in at one point, before places like Amazon started looking like they might make a profit within twenty years.

I don't know where the idea went, and I can't find anything on the Web to verify where I heard that from now. I didn't like the idea, myself. The Internet is for everybody, and they'd have to use the same infrastructure that exists now. It's not like the government could afford a second set of routers and hubs for this. Eventually they'd just phase the old Internet out with a new secured format.

In order to do it they'd have to phase the project in over time. The FBI having boxes at every ISP sounds like a not so subtle step in that direction. They wouldn't shut down the Net. That would be political suicide for anyone who gave the order. However they could control the 'Net, and if they wanted to add a program that would conveniently just not allow any page with an expletitive or nudie picture on it to get through, I don't think that would be very difficult. And no one would be the wiser except the people who actually sent the "naughties" in the first place.

It is spooky. Paranoia perhaps. Disturbing. I've said elsewhere the bottom line about the 'Net right now is control. A lot of people want the 'Net to be like television and radio: regulated.

The real question is: who has the right to control it? Who gets to push the buttons and make the decisions? It won't be you or me that's for sure, provided this happens. But I'm just being paranoid. I'm sure none of this could ever really happen. Right?

posted by ZachsMind at 8:58 PM on July 16, 2000

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