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domestic spying Archives

New “Boom Box” Solves TSA Security Woes

The TSA’s problems with the body scanners that take nude pictures of you and the obscene “pat downs” that are little more than grope sessions where TSA employees handle your junk wearing the same gloves they used to handle the last person’s junk.

The controversy and outrage over this and the delays it causes in airports has gotten so bad that the TSA has finally come up with a solution.

No more naked body scanners!

No more TSA agents handling your junk!

Check this report for details!

Technorati Tags: naked scan, solution, explosive, groping, nude scan, body scanners, detection, junk, tsa, patdown, touching, boom box

4th Amendment Protection Eliminated In E-mail

I just read something on Slashdot that should be a great big red flag to anyone that has any interest in email privacy at all.

The 11th Circuit court handed down a decision in Rehberg v. Paulk which severely limits how much fourth amendment protection there is for Email.  The decision was that constitutional protection in stored copies of e-mail held by third parties disappears as soon as any copy of the communication is delivered.

The problem with this is that because of how email works, Just because a copy of the message was delivered to you when your email program downloaded it from the server it doesn’t mean that the copy on the server instantly ceases to exist.  This means that the government or any Law Enforcement Agency can just wait until email is delivered and then snag a copy from the server it was delivered from.

If you’d like an in depth look at why this decision is wrong I suggest you have a look at this article.  The author goes into the legal nuts and bolts of why the 11th circuit court is wrong.

Regardless of whether it’s ever overturned or not, this case serves as a reminder that even with forth amendment protections, email is NOT very private at all unless you take steps to MAKE it private.

The only real answer to the problem of course is to use encryption.  And before you start going with the “If you haven’t got anything to hide then you have nothing to worry about” crap think about this.  For the average person (even law abiding people), it’s not a question of having “something to hide” so much as having privacy.  Back in the days when everybody used postal mail, if you didn’t want the contents of your message to be read then you would use a security envelope or perhaps even put it into a package that was much more difficult to open.

The same thing applies to email.  People send emails every day the contents of which they very much do NOT want to be read by anyone but the intended recipient.  Those emails can be literally anything from important business matters about a new secret project to you Aunt Jane’s secret collection of home remedies for acne.  The point is that you want them to be read only by the person that you’re sending them to and that anyone else reading them is an invasion of privacy.

This is where encryption comes in.  For example if you use Thunderbird as your email program it’s a small thing to get a plugin called Enigmail and a copy of GnuPG, take a few minutes to read some instructions about how to set them up and create a keypair, publish the public part of the key and you’re ready to begin encrypting your email.

Ok, Granted, it’s not much use to encrypt email unless the other party has the same kind of setup but that’s really easy.  All of the programs I just mentioned are free and take only minutes to set up.

I have personally been using encryption for years.  Even when I don’t encrypt emails I use Enigmail & GnuPG to digitally sign all of my emails so that the recipients can A, verify that it was me that sent it and B, they can tell if the message has been altered in any way.

If you want your email to be private the ONLY way to insure this is to use encryption.  I think that it’s long overdue for encryption to come into mainstream use.  It’s not hard to do and does something that regular, unencrypted, email can’t do: It guarantees that you have an “Expectation of privacy” because you have taken extra steps to make it clear to anyone looking at the message that you don’t want anyone but the intended recipient to read it.

Technorati Tags: 11th circuit court, encryption, gnupg, forth amendment, privacy, enigmail, email

For The Paranoid Among Us

Time was when the classic image of somebody bugging somebody electronically involved finding a Sam Spade wannabe in some hole in the wall office with little more than a filing cabinet or two, a bottle of scotch and a huge desk that served as a place to store a box of Dutch Master cigars, a bottle of scotch and a loaded gun for when the “bad guys” showed up to rough him up.

Now it’s all too easy for almost anybody to get hold of some very sophisticated electronic snooping gear just by ordering it online.  And there are more and more people doing the snooping too.  It’s not just relegated to Humphrey Bogart lookalikes or the government’s assortment of “men in black”.  It could be a suspicious spouse, a nosy neighbor, or (if you’re well off enough) a thief who wants to be sure of when you’re planning to be gone for a few hours so that they can clean you out at their leisure.

Well, I just saw a good answer to that problem on Think Geek, it’s a mini bug detector that can spot nearly all types of wireless transmitters.  What’s really cool is that it’s actually fairly cheap to own given the wide range of stuff it can detect.

Technorati Tags: bugs, bug detector, snooping

Spy Phone Reports Your Every Move

The latest thing in Big Brother technology is a rather “special” mobile phone that uses a combination of GPS technology and Software that analyzes data from the phone’s accelerometer which enables employers to track employees on an unprecedented level, even to the point of being able to tell what an employee is doing in addition to merely keeping tabs on their location.

Not only is this hideously invasive, it’s only a matter of time before governments decide that EVERYBODY needs to be tracked on this level and start requiring ALL phones to have this technology built in.

Technorati Tags: employee monitoring, spying, domestic spying, big brother, evil corporations, evil government, tracking

Obama In Favor Of DNA Sampling For All Arrested

If at any point you had the idea that Obama was some kind of a champion of human rights and civil liberties, you might want to check this piece on Wired and think again.

Not only does he come out in favor of requiring DNA testing for everybody that’s arrested for any reason.  He’s also proving to have the exact same Big Government / Big Brother attitudes as Bush.

I’ve said it before and I’m going to keep saying it.  Electing that man was a mistake and I knew it LONG before he won that rigged election.

One
Big
Ass
Mistake
America

Technorati Tags: mistake, big government, invasion of privacy, privacy, dna testing, civil liberties, obama


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