ISP Snooping Law Revived by Republicans

Bad legislative bills don’t die they just wait a year.  Declan McCullagh reports at CNet:

All Internet service providers would need to track their customers’ online activities to aid police in future investigations under legislation introduced Tuesday as part of a Republican “law and order agenda.”

Employees of any Internet provider who fail to store that information face fines and prison terms of up to one year, the bill says. The U.S. Justice Department could order the companies to store those records forever.

“Law and Order” is legislative code for bend over and take it like a citizen.

The FBI’s Vacuum Cleaner Approach to Internet Surveillance

Declan McCullagh at ZDNet reports on the FBI sucking down large amounts of internet traffic data and databasing it for later mining. This new method is even more indiscriminate and intrusive than the Carnivore system that stirred a backlash from privacy advocates years ago. The Carnivore system at least used a filter to try and limit data collection to interesting sources while the new system just takes everything on the pipe and archives it.

The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed.

Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.

Such a technique is broader and potentially more intrusive than the FBI’s Carnivore surveillance system, later renamed DCS1000. It raises concerns similar to those stirred by widespread Internet monitoring that the National Security Agency is said to have done, according to documents that have surfaced in one federal lawsuit, and may stretch the bounds of what’s legally permissible.

Read the entire ZDNet article here.

Britain is a ‘Surveillance Society’

Fears that the UK would “sleep-walk into a surveillance society” have become a reality, the government’s information commissioner has said.

Richard Thomas, who said he raised concerns two years ago, spoke after research found people’s actions were increasingly being monitored.

Researchers highlight “dataveillance”, the use of credit card, mobile phone and loyalty card information, and CCTV.

Monitoring of work rates, travel and telecommunications is also rising.

There are up to 4.2m CCTV cameras in Britain – about one for every 14 people.

But surveillance ranges from US security agencies monitoring telecommunications traffic passing through Britain, to key stroke information used to gauge work rates and GPS information tracking company vehicles, the Report on the Surveillance Society says.

It predicts that by 2016 shoppers could be scanned as they enter stores, schools could bring in cards allowing parents to monitor what their children eat, and jobs may be refused to applicants who are seen as a health risk.

Read the rest of the BBC article

Encrypting Instant Messaging Conversations

Whenever you talk online with your instant messaging (IM) client of choice, your conversations can be, and in all probability are, recorded, monitored, and read. Any data which travels over a network can be viewed using programs known as packet sniffers, with some specially crafted programs..

read more | digg story

Why I wrote PGP

This short essay is old (1991/1999), but it is just as relevant today as it was back then. Phil Zimmermann shares his views on privacy as a basic right.

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Information Security Tips

Useful tips about information security awareness. Here is an article about what constitutues sensitive information and which types of information should never be given to others.

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Intel proudly shows off snooping tech

AMT can effectively snoop on what’s inside your PC. The principle is simple. Details about a VPro or Centrino based PC are saved into non-volatile memory. But, scarily, this information can be read even if the machine’s power switch is in the ‘off’ position.

read more | digg story