In spite of how things have been going over recent years we have to remember that Here in the “good old U. S. Of A.” is not the only place where freedoms and privacy are under constant attack.  I was again reminded of this when I heard about a recent story on the website of a London television station.

The headline read “‘Black boxes’ to monitor all internet and phone data”

It seems that part of a recent communications data bill ISP’s in the UK will be required to collect all records of communications and store them for at least a year.

There is, in my opinion, considerable doubt about governmental guarantees that the content of messages will not be kept or snooped upon.  Allegedly copies of the header information in emails is what will be saved.

Then there’s the issue of encrypted connections.  These days more and more webmail services use HTTPS (ssl) to encrypt the contents of their pages before sending them.  You would think that this makes it impossible to tell what part of the page is the email, and further which is the header and which the content of the message.

According to the story, ISPs will have to route everything through a government approved “black box” that decrypts the page and sends the decrpted message headers back to the ISP where it gets stored for a year.

They don’t say just exactly what this “black box” is but it sounds to me like part of it is using deep packet inspection, otherwise how will they know that a page contains an email that needs to be decrypted?

Also, if this “Black Box” is so easily able to decrypt SSL encrypted pages then either SSL is now too weak to be considered safe or somewhere there is a backdoor in the system that allows them to decrypt stuff that is not meant for them.

Personally, I suspect both.

This is why more people should learn to encrypt their emails with something like PGP or GnuPG in addition to any encryption that is applied by using https pages.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Your privacy is your responsibility”.  If you do not actively work to maintain your privacy then you DO NOT HAVE ANY.

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