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This 43 message thread spans 2 pages: 43 ( [1] 2 > >     
US Wants To Easily Wiretap Web

 7:11 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

...officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

It's the end of privacy as we know it.



 7:18 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ok, but it also says:
to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

Which if served with an order, I don't see the end of privacy. The same applies to at least land line phones. ;)


 7:36 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's more invasive than that. Why should the US be able to wiretap on encrypted blackberry messages, a Canadian company?

Wiretap order or no, the gov't having on demand access to private communication should be something we limit the scope of, not encourage or broaden. yes, there's a price for that to happen.


 7:53 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

To a certain extent, I agree with what you both are saying but to the other end; I say that isn't that one of the costs we have for the freedoms which we have here in the US?

IMHO, if I'm not doing anything wrong then the government should have no cause for wanting an order. If I am, which I'm not, then they should have the ability to do so. The matter of being a US company or not is irrelevant because this communication is taking place in US territory or at least over the US airways.


 8:49 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Let's be realistic about this, the only reason it hasn't happened already is that lawmakers don't understand technology.

Essentially, all this means is that telecommunication companies will not be allowed to say "sorry, our technology doesn't support that" when confronted with a court order.



 9:00 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

unscramble encrypted messages

How would they go about managing this? Would there be some government entity in charge of maintaining a database of encryption keys?

I can't see that going badly...


 9:40 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Why should the US be able to wiretap on encrypted blackberry messages, a Canadian company?

Because Blackberry bent over backwards to comply to the demands in a few other countries and set the precedent.


 10:05 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's hardly justification.

There's a wide grey area here, but I'm of the camp that says this stuff should for the most part, be resisted.


 8:33 am on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think it's a bit late to try and resist the government types now. If it couldn't be accomplished back in '99 when Clinton's folks started getting all hot-to-trot to have access to all manner of anything they wanted, it ain't gonna get slowed down now. These government entities feast upon themselves and just get bigger and bigger and like a typhoon they suck in more and more and I don't see any frigid waters ahead to slow them down.

Call this "Typhoon IOP". Cute name, eh?

But that NY Times article has a few paragraphs I don't think I understand.

These two paragraphs, for starters:

James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

What exactly is Mr. Dempsey talking about? What are the changes to the Net infrastructure that would make it so different? And, ah, aren't there some folks already building a new Internet?

And this one line here seems a real interesting situation.

Foreign-based providers that do business inside the United States must install a domestic office capable of performing intercepts.

Just who the heck is going to get caught up in this net?

There have to be a lot of companies headquartered outside of the United States that provide some kind of services to customers in the United States and they don't have a physical presence inside the United States, right? I mean a lot! Hundreds? More. All those companies are going to have to maintain offices within the United States? I suppose that's one way to get the real estate market back on its feet.

But I am not sure I clearly understand what is meant by "providers". Providing what? Not simple web hosting companies, right? That would really be a problem for a lots and lots of folks.

Anybody know?

By the way, IOP comes from 'Invasion of Privacy'.


 9:15 am on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wheel; it's not a justification. If the US hadn't thought of it before the other countries, they have now and with the precedent set there is not stopping them.

jimji; about foreign based providers. When the Bb resistence began I read somewhere but unfortunately I can't find it back, that in order for Bb's server to know where the encrypted message goes to it has to decrypt it, read the recipient, encrypt it again and send on which would be the reason Bb agreed to put a local server in the demanding countries. By genealizing to Foreign based providers they merely avoid specifying Bbs service.


 9:55 am on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

NOBODY here actually believes that 24/7 listening wouldn't be put into effect. Heck scarcely anyone believes they aren't doing it now.

This passes the privacy issue from the president to whichever judge approves the order, I highly doubt this move is designed to do anything more than that. The "wiretap" orders are already being issued, since before I was born.


 11:05 am on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the idea is not so much to be able to decrypt the communications, but rather to make sure there is a point where the communications are not encrypted, and that wiretaps could happen at that point.

I.e. there would be no end-to-end encryption, but rather two encrypted client-server communications, and the wiretaps could happen at the server, where the communication is decrypted before being sent on to the other endpoint.

This is actually already what happens in many (most?) communication systems that use encryption.

Now this would not necessarily prevent the use of encryption by the users directly and from end to end, though this is of course not necessarily applicable to all services (the service must be able to carry random digital payload unaltered), and of course it would depend a lot on the exact wording of the law (e.g. if it includes providers of encryption software).



 11:30 am on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

IMHO, if I'm not doing anything wrong...

@Proppols Whose definition of "wrong" are you talking about?

Yours, or whoever is in power at the time and whatever they demand?


 12:55 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

In recent months, officials from the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, the White House and other agencies have been meeting to develop a proposed solution.

The article gives the impression that career federal workers are behind this idea, but when you dig into the story it is actually political appointees and the White House directing this move.

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is pushing to make it easier for the government to tap into internet and e-mail communications. But the plan has already drawn condemnation from privacy groups and communications firms may be wary of its costs and scope.

For those of us that remember the hue and cry over the "Patriot Act", this new move is being met with a wimper.


 1:32 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

ok so 1st they want a kill switch to shut down the net whenever they wanted... now they want to read any encrypted traffic.

anyone remember Carnivore? Magic Lantern?

Seems ever since the net was created the gov has wanted to look over our shoulders.


 4:04 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Maybe one good reason this is being done.

There is an old saying "if you don't want anybody else to know keep your mouth shut" The same could be said for posting online. Phones have been accessed for years in all countries this is no different.


 5:22 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Which if served with an order, I don't see the end of privacy. The same applies to at least land line phones.

That is what they said with phone wiretaps, that they would only be done with a court order, then it came out that they weren't getting court orders so they made a law saying they could do it without court orders and it continues today under the Obama administration.

It's the thin edge of the wedge.

Because Blackberry bent over backwards to comply to the demands in a few other countries and set the precedent.

the US hadn't thought of it before the other countries, they have now and with the precedent set there is not stopping them.

Yes nations such as India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates..... the USA is in good company on this issue don't you think?!?!


 5:56 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

In Britain we've had a rash of accusations about a trashy newspaper helping itself to phone taps on celebrities so they can line their trash rag with exclusives without the need for actual informants. The editor at the time (who of course claims he had no knowledge of such actions) is now director of communications for Britain's new government.

The problem with cracking another layer of privacy is that once opened up, any sneaky tabloid journalist / private detective / dishonest employee can help themselves.

I reckon innocent folk will suffer, while serious criminals will simply move to custom software for which the authorities have no crack. And the only solution to that will be to make it illegal to use encryption tools which aren't approved by our glorious leaders.


 6:45 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thoughts to further development linger. I wonder to what extent a new form of electronic communication will be developed, so as not to fall under this new proposed perview of the government.

Might this be the dawn of yet another digital revolution [en.wikipedia.org]?


 9:25 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Having "wire-tap access" and actually being able to decode the content are two different things.

All you have to do is encrypt the content before the phone encrypts it yet again. Then the government, when they decrypt your communications via wire-tap access, will only find further encrypted communications.

For those of you paranoids out there, there's message encrypting apps for that :)


 9:46 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

To further what Bill is saying. The encryption that RIM uses requires the device to decode it, much like SSL the client is part of the unhashing key.

RIM has even said that they store data encrypted and that if subpoenaed for data they would hand it over but it would be encrypted and they can't decrypt without the device.


 11:18 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Today, all telecom operators must have in their infrastructure the technical means to wiretap their customers. This is valid for the US, Canada and I assume the EU and most definitely all repressive regimes of the world. In telecom speak, this is called "lawfull intercept".

However, since the rise of the internet, lots of services use the internet network to transmit encrypted messages, such as Skype, Facebook, etc (I think Blackberry uses wireless networks such as GSM for that). So these message eventhough they can be intercepted by telecom operators, cannot be decrypted.

This is why this law is being pushed. Ugly and sad, but expected.

The question is, if I continue to do my own GPG on my emails on my PC from Thunderbird, will this also have a backdoor?

I sure hope not.


 12:26 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

This will accomplish nothing except perhaps invade the privacy of law-abinding citizens and increase the cost of doing business. Criminals will simply resort to PGP/GPG and communicate via email or copy/paste the PGP encrypted string into the chat window. The provider never sees plain text that way so no matter what back door they provide you can't get to the real content.


 12:57 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

A few words from a sad soul.

1. Government ARE NOT trustworthy, they have proven this "time and time again".

2. Sad but true, we should always try and block any privacy concerns from Governents because of "point 1".

Since most Governments are "business based" - it makes sense that these greedy sods do not get absolute control of civilian "peasants" lives completely or we could all turn out to be much like the movie "V for Vendetta" etc.

End of day, this will accomplish alot of positive things (like super-computer detection + reporting on terrorist cells, etc etc).

However humans are always afraid of change and the negatives that could occur are what?

Data theft
Spying due to flaws in the software
More cyber crimes?
Personal details leaked online?

I say "bring it on, what's new right?"...

On a "whole different perspective":

Criminals, etc should never have been allowed in the first place to dominate the internet - anyone that does not realize that the Governments of the world are "pegging back" such activities (online) and to some extent "regaining control" are perhaps on the wrong side of webmastry...

I recently published a thread on this website detailing sb niche takeover + business spamming.

Now this is a "stab in the dark", but I forecast that within 10 or so years, website will require either "licences to operate for certain search terms" (meaning only legitimate companies may dominate the serps and the rest of us "the affiliates and adsensers" get "left behind" - much like within society already... If you consider "business owners" as non-peasants and "civilians as adsense'ers, etc").

Change is inevitable my friends, it's inevitable, I think this tapping exercise is just the beginning, while Governments of the world slowly shape the internet into their already "so called" perfect existance.

Do not expect to make money online for too much longer, if you are "in the game", make sure you set up legitimate businesses NOW in anticipation of this change.

(incase you missed it, only companies will be allowed to get organic serps for their websites in the future, just as with society, they favor the richer people, ensure you are positioned to take advantage of this "guessed" fact" which I concede is totally groundless, however in my personal opinion, inevitable).

(Eventually Governments will impose "allowed search provider" and limit specific countries access, etc, etc, you want to be in the "allowed list").

I think this is a far more imperative argument than the eves dropping ability of Governments and eventually freelances.

End of day "what do we all have to hide, nothing right? we are "scott free", we have done nothing wrong and therefore should not be too alarmed at such impositions - right?".

Furthermore, in response to some "decrypt, encryption" questions and answers...

If you think super-computers cannot decipher "no encryption code, highly encrypted messages", Perhaps I ought to remind you that technology is some 50+ years more advanced than we are being allowed to believe.

Remember the cover-ups okay, "this was first seen in 1900's, but was originally created in 1808, by "x" in "x town" and only now are the secret documents leaked to uncover this fact. etc.

Meaning, the technology you see today, online and for computers, is probably the "tip of the iceberg" (Just because the internet does not reflect the advancements, does not mean that they are not there).

If anyone knows army protocols and heard of "RD" then perhaps you know what I mean. They can ALREADY do this, the legislation is just there to "legalize it", possibly because they where busted somehow.


 3:18 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)


Do the feds get a free pass to every private forum on the web too?

I suppose they do, by serving the isp of the person they want to watch but do they want it at the forum level now too?


 10:37 pm on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ummm, isp's have been snooping since the internet started... yes...

And yes, it is my belief that if I was in government and allowed to do my top secret societal control properly, then yes, I should be allowed to snoop on EVERYONE in order to ensure society and humanitie's safety...

Someone has to be in control, otherwise, as the famous batman "dark night movie says" - "they would all eat each other"...

How do you think all of these threats for terrorists are being uncovered? TRACING CELL PHONES? LOL - NO - FAIL, TOO HARD...

They are using the so-called "secret/private" areas of the internet (spying) on the until they think they will actually "do something", then acting, lol...

LEGISLATION IS THERE TO DO ONE THING ONLY "LEGALIZE ACTIVITY" which has been going on under the radar already...

"Legislation is a "piece of paper" - however "legislation is recognized as "LAW" - the "perception of agreement from the community to abide by legislation" is the big lie, being sold to the community through the news on a daily basis"... lol

WAKE THE #*$! UP... (We have not been in control for many years people, centuries... When they invented money, they took control of society... When they INVENTED Religion, they took control of society... WAKE THE #*$! UP LOL).


 9:32 am on Sep 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Because Blackberry bent over backwards to comply to the demands in a few other countries and set the precedent.

Given where this all started, what it boils down to is: the whole world should do this because that is how they do things in a feudal dictatorship?


 11:18 am on Sep 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you message or call is encrypted then it is "obvious" that you have something to hide and need to be watched.


 11:28 am on Sep 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

No, not "the whole world should do this because that is how they do things in a feudal dictatorship" but the precedent has been set and now the whole world can get away with it.


 12:18 pm on Sep 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

In other words spyware has to be a core functionality of internet related software?

This 43 message thread spans 2 pages: 43 ( [1] 2 > >
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