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United States

DOJ Already Monitoring Cable Internet Traffic 354

According to this Wired News article, the Justice Department is already using its new powers under the USA Patriot Act to obtain subscribers' identities and other information from cable operators without judicial oversight under Section 211 of the new legislation. Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff also says that the act has allowed police to obtain IP addresses of cable subscribers and has enabled DOJ to obtain court orders for ISP logs outside a court's traditional jurisdiction. The Senate Judiciary Committee has convened hearings to review the impact of the Bush administration's actions on civil liberties, but A.G. Ashcroft is not scheduled to appear until December 6. One wonders what effect the upcoming cable failure will have on government surveilance of the potentially criminal citizenry.
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DOJ Already Monitoring Cable Internet Traffic

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  • fight despair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cally ( 10873 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @05:12AM (#2629891) Homepage
    I have to say, there comes a time when your heart sinks and you think: what's the point? Why do I keep on trying to help people see that Free software would help their business? Why do I keep pointing out to idiots that their companies could be hacked by a 10 year old with a handful of Packetstorm scripts? And when oh when will people wake up to what is happening (around the world it seems, not just in the USA) in terms of civil liberties? We see it most strongly in our area of tech, but it's the same for many many other groups of people.

    The important, and difficult, job is to fight the temptation to give up, and keep on fighting for our rights.

    Nurse! More coffee!

    • Re:fight despair (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NeoTron ( 6020 ) <kevin AT scarygliders DOT net> on Thursday November 29, 2001 @05:33AM (#2629924) Homepage
      "The important, and difficult, job is to fight the temptation to give up, and keep on fighting for our rights."

      What rights? They're being very rapidly dispersed matey. And it seems that there's nothing anyone can do about it - either a few of us are the only remaining sane people in the world, or we're mad and it's the "authorities" and "they who are in power" that are the sane ones... either way something definately smells of the brown stuff...
      • WTF? How is this a troll? The guy is right - all the government wants to do is take more control over people's lives, at the expense of personal freedom.

        Common sense is an increasingly rare thing today. You only need to look at unenforcable laws being passed by unaccountable governments to see that we're all headed for serious problems...
      • There is a reason people voted you as a troll. Yes you are correct but your point is moot. Our rights are being desperesed but only the ones not enough people fight for.

        You are wrong in saying, "it seems that there's nothing anyone can do about it". Many lobbyist and activist have saved many of our rights. It is up to people to contact politicians and make a difference. If everyone gave up 100 years ago we would have cameras in our homes by now. Every waking minute of your life would be controlled by the government.

        It sounds like your telling everyone they might as well given up. Well many of us have not and work long hours defending the few freedoms we still have. If you only look from one-perspective then you live in a one-perspective world.
    • Re:fight despair (Score:2, Insightful)

      by El_Nofx ( 514455 )
      I agree, I, like you, always point out those things to people. Correct them when they read a slanted story and pass it on as the truth. Help to show people that their rights are being taken away one, by one, slowly.
      I think of just giving up sometimes. Today I thought that to my self after hearing about that crap in Maryland where Santa can't come to the tree lighting seremony because two families found it offensive. Stuff like that makes you want to just give up on the human race. Think we are not going to make it as a country.
      But then I hear about people like you, and everyone else on /. that do the same things you and I do, correct people, make them aware of what is going on around them. Try to help them and I realise that even though I play a little part and so do you. It still matters. We still help out just a little, and we can never give up to people who want to moniter our internet traffic for no reason other than, " It was deemed neccessary for national security" or "You are suspected of being a suspect in a suspected terrorist conspiracy"
      I swear, that is the kind of crap you hear from AG Ashcroft and his cronies. "We need to moniter all internet traffic on the @home network because it could be used for the planning of terrorist acts. Listen carefully to the reasons they give for these things. Did you know that if you are suspected of a terrorist act you no longer have the attorney client privelage? Your conversations with your lawyer can now be monitered by the prosecution. Thanks to the new terrorism bill.

      The saddest part of all of this is the speed for which people are willing to just give up their freedoms for "Security" , sure, moniter my internet traffic. Most people don't care because they don't think of the internet anymore then the TV where you can click on stuff.
      Sure, get rid of the attorney client privelage for terrorists. Doesn't affect me any. So what if I demonstarate against a government action and am arrested for some reason. Am I now a terrorist? Will I be tried in a military tribunal for the "Security of the State"
      Remember these things
      Ok, this was way to long winded.
  • They will find out that there is a lot of porn on cable traffic.
  • Anonymous (Score:4, Redundant)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @05:14AM (#2629898) Homepage Journal
    And everyone was worried about ESCHALON!

    Check out the Register article [theregister.co.uk] on anonymizing yourself...

    And have your friends use Hushmail [hush.com].

    • Re:Anonymous (Score:2, Informative)

      by jacoplane ( 78110 )
      Actually, it's Echelon [cryptome.org], not Eschalon. If you were trying to be funny, i guess I missed it.
    • Re:Anonymous (Score:3, Informative)

      Whats not mentioned in the register article (but recently had an article on slashdot) is TLS with SMTP - most people have no clue what this is, and how much of a potential headache it can be for carnivore operators to monitor smtp traffic.

      Carnivores purpose is twofold - to sniff your mail obviously, but dont forget it also builds tables of who emails who, and makes it easy for the carnivore operator to track who is associated with who. PGP doesnt help here since it just encrypts the message. However TLS combined with PGP does since it does its mailfrom and rcptto _after_ starttls is issued. Next time you set up a MTA make sure it has TLS support! Shameless plug: TLS for Dummies [antioffline.com].

      On a side note, dont forget you can tunnel your web proxy via stunnel, assuming you can talk the proxy operator into installing it for you :)
  • Criminals! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jebediah21 ( 145272 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @05:20AM (#2629906) Homepage Journal
    The people who don't have Internet connections are surely criminals. They must have something to hide, otherwise they would be gouged with outrageous prices and restrictions in order to be further monitored.

    *waves at DOJ*
    • Re:Criminals! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by eleven357 ( 449450 )
      I would have to agree entirely on this one. Why is the government really monitoring net traffic anyways? Is it to actually persue criminal activity, or is it just another excuse to try and justify our privacy being invaded. Why doesn't the government spend more time and effort catching the REAL criminals? Not that there isn't any criminals on the net, but I think the government needs to get their priorites straight.

      Monitor my usage all you want, the simple fact is you are wasting valuable time that you could've been spending persueing the criminals on the street.

      *waves @ DOJ*
    • > The people who don't have Internet connections are surely criminals. They must have something to hide, otherwise they would be gouged with outrageous prices and restrictions in order to be further monitored.

      Hey! My grandma resembles that remark! Just 'cuz she uses AOL doesn't mean she isn't being price-gouged and monitored along with the rest of us!

  • US anti-terror laws (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SomethingOrOther ( 521702 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @05:20AM (#2629907) Homepage

    Quite a few European countries have had problems with terrorosts for years. The UK with the IRA, the Spanish with the Basque (sp?) seperatists etc etc.
    In these countries laws on human rights and free speach prevail. (Albeit precariously sometimes, I admit!)
    The US, confronted with some of its first terrorist attacks imediatly goes into panic, ignoring the spirit of its consitution.
    I can only hope that over the next few months things will calm down, and the US will realise the importance of human and civil rights laws.

    • Re: Media Coverage (Score:4, Insightful)

      by taiwanjohn ( 103839 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @05:34AM (#2629926)
      Anyone else bothered by the lack of mainstream media coverage before these laws got passed? Readers of /., K5, poliglut.org, et.al. knew about them when it mattered, and many of us fired off emails and faxes to our congress-critters about it... but there was almost ZERO coverage on CNN and ilk when there was still time to do something about it. Now that the laws are on the books, suddenly we have a slew of talking-heads shows bemoaning the loss of freedom. Was this intentional? ...or am I just being paranoid?

      --jrd

      • You aren't the only one to make that observation.

        http://www.counterpunch.org/presspatriot.html [counterpunch.org]

      • There was lots of media coverage before the laws were passed. Front page stories in the Washington Post, NY Times, etc. The problem was that this law (USA-PATRIOT) went through in a few days, rather than the 3 or 4 months it usually takes most laws to go through.

        Still time to do something about it though. Write (e-mail, letters may take awhile) your Representative and Senators. Get your friends to write. If enough voters object the law will be modified or repealed.

      • by Otis_INF ( 130595 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @07:46AM (#2630169) Homepage
        Sorry to rub it in, but here in the Netherlands I can only laugh about the 'news' CNN is showing 24/7 when it comes to the tragedy of 11th of sept/binladen/afganistan etc. It's from 1 single POV: the patriotic USA-first government. When I compare it to our dutch news-agencies people in the USA miss a hell of a lot of information which is IMHO VITAL for making the right judgement about what's right and what's wrong.

        For starters: the secret tribunals where pres. Bush will pick who's on trial and who's not is similar to every 3rd world dictatorship out there, yet I have to see 1 single message from mainstream USA newsstations critizising this IMHO shocking development. Thankfully the EU isn't co-operating with Bush on this: f.e. spain is not handing over al-quaida suspects.
        • Why the previous post is marked "Insightful" - I have no idea.

          For starters: the secret tribunals where pres. Bush will pick who's on trial and who's not is similar to every 3rd world dictatorship out there, yet I have to see 1 single message from mainstream USA newsstations critizising this IMHO shocking development. Thankfully the EU isn't co-operating with Bush on this: f.e. spain is not handing over al-quaida suspects

          We've been hearing about this "tribunal" issue on CNN/Fox/etc all week long. I won't be so naive as to say that the media is not covering this issue from a patriotic point of view - however, when I hear the EU is against the death penalty for these criminals, it makes me want to puke. Maybe Europeans see this as just another terrorist act, but in the US, they've seriously pissed americans off with this. We don't need propaganda from the media to keep up support. I was at the World Trade Center towers on September 9th, marvelling at how tall they were, people taking pictures, having to lay down on the ground to get a good enough angle to fit them in 1 image. In the end, the buildings don't really matter of course, it's the 4,000+ people that died that day. So when the Europeans cry about the death penalty for these bastards, just think about the thousands of children who no longer have parents because of these criminals and the potential for this to happen again. That's the only "propaganda" I need.
        • Actually CNN has had several roundtable discussions on the secret military tribunals featuring several members (usually those from the ACLU).

          Also remember that CNN is the MacDonalds of news: fast, cheap, and everywhere.

          Most people who give a damn usually get their info from better sources (NYTimes, Salon [salon.com], Frontline [pbs.org], the alternative press [freetimes.com], etc) many of which bring up these issues all the time.

          Don't badmouth the whole of American media when all you see of it is through the CNN keyhole.
    • by NeoTron ( 6020 )
      Sorry matey - read about the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (chillingly the R.I.P. Bill - RIP civil liberties bill in other words), that we have in the UK. One of the nasty things is they can demand your encryption keys or passwords for any encrypted files you have , and it's practically an instant 2 Year jail sentence if you refuse to provide 'em.

      :(
    • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@g m a i l . c om> on Thursday November 29, 2001 @06:17AM (#2629995) Homepage

      The US, confronted with some of its first terrorist attacks imediatly goes into panic, ignoring the spirit of its consitution.

      No, the White House went into a panic, not the entire country. I'm not usually prone to paranoia, but I've begun thinking the massive crackdown on civil liberties is being done intentionally in order to goad Democrats into responding. At which point the Republican party will start screeching about how the Democrats are soft on terrorism and don't care about the security of your children etc. The Republicans really were hurt by the shift rightward of the nation, with Democrats moving to the center and getting a lot of voters who they'd missed out on the previous few elections.
      • Of course Hillary--it's another VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY!!!

        You are being paranoid. Our elected officials, after their (everyone's) initial reaction to 9/11, took this as an opportunity to "do something" even though what they did was wrong. (It makes a nice bullet point on the campaign literature.) Only a few (Bob Barr, et al) had the guts to stand up and say, "this is wrong, govt. has enough power as is." And no one had the guts to say, "You live in a free country, and people will occasionally abuse those freedoms. Deal with it."

        The crackdown on non-citizens I can deal with....
      • but I've begun thinking the massive crackdown on civil liberties is being done intentionally in order to goad Democrats into responding. At which point the Republican party will start screeching about how the Democrats are soft on terrorism and don't care about the security of your children etc.

        Yup it's another vast right wing conspiracy. Just like that time they were accusing that nice Mr. Clinton of lying in a court of law; he would never do such a thing.

        This is not a Democrat/Republican issue the entire government is to blame, Democrats included
      • You're assuming the Democrats care about civil liberties more than the Republicans, which is not the case. Clinton and Gore supported the CDA, tried to mandate the Clipper Chip, and aggressively defended the encryption export controls. Especially after 9/11, both parties are willing to throw the Constitution out the window because they believe that's what the voters want. Sadly, they're probably right.
    • Quite a few European countries have had problems with terrorosts for years. The UK with the IRA, the Spanish with the Basque (sp?) seperatists etc etc.
      In these countries laws on human rights and free speach prevail. (Albeit precariously sometimes, I admit!)
      The US, confronted with some of its first terrorist attacks imediatly goes into panic, ignoring the spirit of its consitution.

      Not. Jingoistic bunk.

      UK Antitterrorism legislation has been around for more than a decade, provoked precisely by the IRA issues. It, too, had sunsetted but repetitively renewed investigatory powers and it, too, treats hackers as terrorists.

      It was one of the models from which PATRIOT/USA was cast.

      No doubt, the US fell to the standards of its EU allies in adopting PATRIOT/USA, focusing more on getting trains to run on time to defend a nation than to maintain a nation worth defending. No doubt, it was not the American thing to do.

      But far from being an icon of liberty, the EU legislation was the harbinger of what happened here.
    • Quite a few European countries have had problems with terrorosts for years. The UK with the IRA, the Spanish with the Basque (sp?) seperatists etc etc.
      In these countries laws on human rights and free speach prevail. (Albeit precariously sometimes, I admit!)
      The US, confronted with some of its first terrorist attacks imediatly goes into panic, ignoring the spirit of its consitution.


      Not. Jingoistic bunk.

      UK Antitterrorism legislation has been around for more than a decade, provoked precisely by the IRA issues. It, too, had sunsetted but repetitively renewed investigatory powers and it, too, treats hackers as terrorists.

      It was one of the models from which PATRIOT/USA was cast.

      No doubt, the US fell to the standards of its EU allies in adopting PATRIOT/USA, focusing more on getting trains to run on time to defend a nation than to maintain a nation worth defending. No doubt, it was not the American thing to do.

      But far from being an icon of liberty, the EU legislation was the harbinger of what happened here.
    • Mod this one up. It's sadly dead-on.
      :
    • Within a couple of hours of the 9/11 attacks, the true terrorist nature of the attack had become apparant: it wasn't that it killed a lot of people or did billions of dollars of property damage. When I heard that all civilian planes had been grounded, I suspected that the true terrorist strategy was to provoke a predictable response from the US Government, against the US people. The attack was indirect, and the weapon was not boxcutters or bombs or jet fuel; the weapon was our own government's power.

  • Repressiveness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geschild ( 43455 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @05:25AM (#2629913) Homepage
    The fears of the informed seem to have come true. What remains is this question: will the informed be able to get the uninformed interested enough to rise up against this new police state? This is either the start of the real Third Reich (before you hit that flame-bait button, read on) coming to you in 25 years from now, or the last straw to make the people regain civil liberties from Corporatism and mis-guided politicians.

    We will need to ring the bell louder, make more people aware. We have the obligation to do so because we know. If you let this go unchallenged, don't come complaining in 25 years time that your children have no rights, no liberties.

    Should this sound absurd to you, read into some European history for the years 1900-1939, to read the reasons for WW I, WW II and what happend in the "interbellum". You may very well not like what you find. For WW I a single event was enough to set it off. For WW II the foundation was laid by a repressive reaction 'supported' by the 'people'. 2001-9-11 may very well be the one event, the repression of civil liberties in reaction to it may very well bring it on for real.

    Again The waves are eating at the lime-stone, slowly but surely. In the end the rock _will_ fall.
  • by NeoTron ( 6020 )
    The silly, and scary, thing about this, is that the worlds population would kick up seven shades of shit if the authorities said "we're opening ALL your post before you receive it AND after you send it, and shove your rights right up your ass" - which is precisely what is happening with our internet data - they are basically opening the envelope and inspecting every packet.

    The "powers that be" are meant to be working FOR us are they not? Not being paranoid ABOUT us? Oh sorry, I thought the UK (R.I.P. Bill) and the US (Whatever you lot have got) were "democracies". Seems like the definition of democracy has changed to "you can do whatever you like so long as we know what it is and that it's not harmfull to the "government"...

    :(
    • Well, I can see both sides. First-world cultures have progressed from the naive Victorian view that "gentlemen do not read each other's mail" (from before WWI up through the Chamberlin appeasement of Germany's "National Socialism" between the two big wars) through the hard-headed pragmatism of some very perilous Cold War times, up to the present (which has turned out not to be such a kindler and gentler era as we might once have thought and wished). But then again, there is also The Constitution of the United States, which is our blueprint for Liberty which is not to be lightly ignored and cannot be run over roughshod. If anyone tries it... we do have an armed citizenry.

      Oregon has refused to cooperate with the FBI seeking "voluntary" interviews with visa holders from Middle Eastern countries. (I am from Oregon, by the way, and The Oregonian printed my Letter To The Editor when I was 17 supporting our Senator Wayne Morse when he voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that unleashed (Vice) President Johnson's war machine which eventually killed 50,000 of my contemporaries in my generation's unjust war.) I would hope that the authorities in Oregon grow some balls and insist on being present at such "voluntary" interviews, just to make sure that innocent kids from places east of Gibraltar are not rounded up wholesale for political opinions and not contacts, actions, or evidence. The first duty of every citizen is to maintain a healthy skepticism about the motives of governmental minions, at all levels.

      But where should the line be drawn with regard to government snooping? This is not an easy question to answer but some guidance is to be found in the Constitution and in the Common Law heritage that provides the foundations for all of our Courts. These include "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause" as well as the citizen Grand Jury.

      To the extent the time-honored standards of our justice system might be abridged by the current administration's "emergency" powers extracted from legislators too afraid of being seen as "soft on terrorism" - they are illegitimate and will not stand. We have a (mostly) independent judiciary. They'll sort it out in due time. If not, then revolution.

      Jefferson was right: the power to govern is based only upon the consent of the governed, and the power elites in the beltway had better not forget this political fact. And it was Lincoln (a Republican) who said that this "...Government Of the People, By the People, and For the People, Shall Not Perish From The Earth." He was right too, surely.
  • In my eyes, the local Cable company is worse than our Baby Bell (especially after that NAT bashing article recently). I can choose my local and long distance phone service, I can't choose my Cable TV company. Plus the Cable TV goes largely unregulated. The phone company has a concept of CPE vs. CO, etc. The cable co. regards everything as their network.

    Now, if I used a cable modem, I have even less of the microscopic amount of privacy I had before? Great!

    Regards
  • Tip of the Iceberg (Score:4, Interesting)

    by timmy the large ( 223281 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @05:36AM (#2629931)
    Sadly this is just the beginning. To many people are scared.

    I have actually asked rooms full of people wether they think, even given the extremly long odds that they would ever be involed in a terror incedent, it is a god idea to give these controls to the goverment and let their rights to privacy, speech and fair trial be vacated. Most of them said yes they would give up a portion of the rights. One I explained to some that giving up these freedoms would only create the illusion of security, but in fact would not make them any more secure a few even said that that was ok too.(I almost started screaming at those folks)

    I think it is now starting to get better, but some of it is to late. It is going to be very difficult to take away the powers that have been given to law enforcement.

    I honestly don't know what to do about the situation. I try to talk to friends and family about it and even people in grocery store lines and such. But I have to admit I am worried that there is nothing to be done. And I am sadly glad that many Americans are armed and am now a left wing liberal who supports the NRA. Scary.

    • am now a left wing liberal who supports the NRA.

      Attention Citizen #3871209 (AKA timmy the large; AKA sonora sam; AKA pr0nSurfer34):

      Greetings.

      This message is to notify you that you have been placed on our domestic terrorism watch list for holding leftward leaning views while in the possession (or while considering the possession) of firearms. Be advised that your movement and messages may be monitored at any time and anything you may say or do could be admissible before a military tribunal at the discression of the Commander in Chief.

      Sincerely,

      General^WAttorney General Ashcroft

  • Between Carnivore, Echelon and now that, I can only think of one thing: should China [replace with your favourite dictatorship] have the money to do it, I'm pretty sure they'd do the same.

    If I were a dictator, or planning on becoming one in the near future, I'd watch the USA really closely for practical applications of modern citizen monitoring methods.

    What's next? The US selling the technology to other governments? I can imagine the brochure already... "Snoop on all your citizens without moving from your chair" or "Freedom Anihilation for Dummies" sound pretty much like it.

    Scary.

    /max
  • by imrdkl ( 302224 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @05:51AM (#2629958) Homepage Journal
    Better buy your accelerator cards, before they become illegal.
  • If you're worried that they are going to force you to give up logs outside of the normal court procedures that the constitution has set forth ... then just say, "Screw you!" when they come knocking on the door.

    Section 211 doesn't give them the right to gun you down with machine guns and photon torpedos if you don't comply.

    So, you might get arrested, but hey, at least you'll go to court!!!!!!!!!
    • In my case, as a non-citizen working legally in the U.S., I can now be held without charge for up to 7 days (would have been indefinitely). A lot of "accidents" can happen in seven days.

      The question becomes, "So, do I resist? And how much?"

      If you think the answer is "Yes. I've done nothing wrong. They are violating my constitutional rights." then what? Are you willing to kill, or try to kill, the police coming to get you? Because if you aren't, and they are willing to use deadly force if necessary, you will be arrested.

      Of course, if you chose to resist, you are acting illegally, a corrupted legal system notwithstanding. Congratulations, you are now a vigilante. Vigilanteism is bad, for it reflects a complete breakdown in objective law and order.

      However, when enough resist, they are no longer vigilantees for they are acting according to an unwritten law of their own. And that is the birth of revolution. I've often thought that the "blood of patriots" necessary to refresh the tree of liberty refers not to revolutionaries, but the vigilantees that preceed them, believeing in the same ideals that spark the eventual revolution.

      When someone resists, fights, kills police, and most likely dies in the process, in defense of a perceived right to develop, use, and share a system for sending legally-purchased movies from a central media server to display stations in his own home (for example), that should give others pause to think: not "Is it worth dying for?", but rather, "Should have they used such force to try and stop him?" The patriot, of course, will always chose death over a loss of liberty. We (in the U.S.A.) aren't quite at that point, of course, but we certainly seem hell-bent on getting there fast, what with the DMCA as law, and hacking as terrorism.

      I am firmy convinced that this latest suspension of civil liberties in the U.S.A will breed anti-government vigilantees that will be harbingers of the next American Revolution, sooner or later, for revolution is the history of all societies.

    • Or just don't keep logs. Your policy should be to only keep log files of any sort only as long as they are absolutely necesarry. This also means you should only log information that you will need. Logs should not be backed up unless necesarry for your own purposes.

      Even if you aren't worried about being caught yourself, your logs can still be subpoenaed against someone else, and it's just eaiser to say, "Sorry, Mr. G man, we only keep logs for 1 week." than have to actually produce them.

      I worked for a semi-public agency, just about everything they had was 'FOIA'. You could call up and ask for their firewall logs and they would have to produce them. Needless to say the firewall logs would be empty.
  • Patriotism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cooper's_Dad ( 537375 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @06:15AM (#2629989)
    What is the true definition of patriotism: driving around with a flag flying off a pole mounted to the cab of my truck...or...fighting to insure that my personal freedom, privacy, and civil liberties are left intact once the troops come home.

    The sea of red white and blue made me nervous from the start.

  • Military tribunals (Score:5, Informative)

    by gargle ( 97883 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @06:50AM (#2630064) Homepage
    The most disturbing suspension of civil liberties is the power the Bush administration has given itself to try suspected terrorists in secret military tribunals - all non-US citizens, even long time residents of the United States, can be tried and sentenced in secret military courts.

    http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/vvny/20011126/lo/3010 8_1.html [yahoo.com]

    If you're non-US citizen residing in the United States, you should be extremely worried.
    • It wasn't the Bush administration. It was both sides (Republican and Democrat). How many nays were there in the Senate? I believe there was only one.
    • The most disturbing suspension of civil liberties is the power the Bush administration has given itself to try uspected terrorists in secret military tribunals - all non-US citizens, even long time residents of the United States, can be tried and sentenced in secret military courts

      Despite the opinion often voiced on this board that there is aboslutely *no* relationship between the restrictions of civil liberties and increased security there is in some situations exactly such a relationship and our contitution and laws reflect that reality. To be fair I will note that if such measures are taken to lengths not justified by the degree of threat or are taken to extremes even if there is a high level of threat they become subject to a law of diminishing returns and can even become counterproductive. Unfortunately since our enemy in this war is secretive and shadowy it is very hard even for our government to assess the real level of continuing threat. But the attacks on Septemeber 11th suggest that it would be a grave mistake to underestimate the threat.

      As for the constitutionality and legality of the tribunals there is a fair amount of ambiguity since al Queada is not a state and we are acting under a legally vague "use of force resolution" rather than a legally clarifying declaration of war. Neither of these ambiguities are insurmountable though. The US went to war with the barbary pirates even though they were not independant nations (they really were but legally they were theoretically part of the Ottoman Empire). Al Queada is certainly more than a mere criminal enterprise but a substantial paramilitary organisation with over ten thousand troops in Afghansitan and many thousands of agents in cells around the world. As for our not declaring war - international law states that the laws of war are binding on a belligerent even if the other party to the conflict does not recognise a state of war. Al Queada declared war on us when bin Laden issued his "fatwa." Attacking the WTC is a war crime in every respect. Attacking the Pentagon is not a war crime in and of itself but operating behind enemy lines disguised as civilians and using a civillian airliner as a method of attack are.

      So treating al Queada commanders and their agents who have infiltrated our country as war criminals is legally justifiable - so who has jurisdiction and what prodedures do they have the option to use? The constitution specifically gives the congress the authority to punish "Offences against the Law of Nations" which would include the "law of war." Congress has used that authority to write the "Uniform Code of Military Justice" which puts war crimes under the jurisdiction of optionally either a General Court Martial (Art. 18 of the UCMJ) or of Military Commissions (UCMJ, Art. 21) for "offenders or offenses that by statute or by the law of war may be tried by military commissions..." There is no statute and no specific treaty or convention defining what exactly those offenses are so GWB (and Lincoln and FDR) is relying on the common law "law of war" which is rather vague though the UCMJ itself gives a little additional insight since in the articles defining crimes and punishments it again specifically mentions military commissions (in addition to courts martial) as having jurisdiction for both the crimes of "aiding the enemy" and "spying" (articles 104 and 106) the common law "law of war" is further clarified by precedents during the revolutionary war, civil war and world war II and by the unanimous supreme court decision in Ex Parte Quirine.

      As I said before there are some ambiguities but overall the legal and constitutional validity of these military tribunals seems pretty sound.

  • When the government is sneaky, people learn not to trust the government.

    When the government is sneaky, much more is lost than ever can be gained by being sneaky.

    Trust is absolutely necessary in a democracy. If we cannot trust our government, we do not really have a democracy.

    When a government cannot be trusted, the government becomes a suspect in every major crime.

    Governments are not sneaky because sneakiness benefits the government. Governments are sneaky because there are people who like to be sneaky and be paid for it, and they sometimes gain power.

    The facts seem to be this: For years the U.S. government acted in an un-trustworthy way toward Arabs. For years some Arabs became mentally unbalanced by this and threatened to retaliate inside the United States.

    Now, the U.S. government is using the results of its unwillingness to be trustworthy to justify even more un-trustworthy behavior.

    Here are links to respected news sources that show how U.S. government policy contributed to terrorism: What should be the Response to Violence? [hevanet.com]
  • by werdna ( 39029 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @07:31AM (#2630131) Journal
    If his goal was to destroy the American way of life, there is no doubt he has succeeded. Alas, our conduct in defending this nation has had the effect of making a nation less worthy of defending.

    It would be more tolerable if these acts truly were focused in a good faith effort to stop terrorism. They are not -- just a naked broadening of executive and investigatory power, cynically and wrongfully executed simply because the "time was right." The selfishness of corporate "citizens" with their hands out for "patriotic" retroactive tax breaks only adds to the cynicism.

    This is just selfishness wrapped up in a flag. It sucks.
  • Slashdot FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare@gmail. c o m> on Thursday November 29, 2001 @07:55AM (#2630201) Homepage Journal
    Calm down everyone.

    A couple of points:

    1. There had to be legislation that dealt with government eavesdropping and the Internet sometime in history regardless of September 11 or not. The ACLU and others will press court cases that arise from abuses from these laws and some of these new powers will be curtailed. It's evolution, it's growing pains. It's law meets new technology and no one gets it perfect the first time around. A lot of people here laugh at the less technophilic portions of our society, the luddites who look at every new innovation with suspicion and distrust. Hey- guess what y'all sound like when it comes to this legislation? Legal luddites, to coin a phrase.

    2. The police need to wire tap phones, they need to bounce lasers off glass windows, they need to spy on portions of society to protect us from the bad guys, ok? Yes Virginia, there are bad guys out there and you need some of this legislation to deal with them. That is a perfectly valid impulse. This is not Freemasons in smokey rooms plotting the destruction of your constitutional freedoms just for the fun of it. This is just good people trying to do some good from a bad situation. Imagine that! Of course there will be abuses- haven't there always been!? Have some simple faith please in the maturity of our society: the abuses will be curtailed. There are many ways it can be done. Maybe a future Rodney King of the Internet incident will happen and someone with the net traffic version of a camcorder will capture it all and cause an uproar. Or- brace yourself, a good judge on a bench somewhere will smack down the spooks who get out of line. Or, get this: has anyone here ever heard of the free press? Inconceivable! We're all going to hell in a handbasket... yeah right, give me a break.

    3. We are in a very emotional time right now. We are all human, we overreact when someone jumps out from behind a tree at us. We are in knee-jerk reaction territory right now as a society: a nation at peace just had the equivalent of 3 ICBMs launched at it successfully, killing thousands of its citizens and destroying a major landmark, compliments of a bunch of religious fundamentalist lunatics. You can forgive a little backlash. It's been less than 3 months since September 11. Take a deep breath, wait a year, have the press run a few exposes on some rights abuses, and watch how the tide of popular opinion runs then. Forgive the tide of popular opinion at this particular point in time for running into the scary nether regions it seems to be running. Let everyone calm down and contemplate reality with a little distance between themselves and September 11, whenever that may be.

    4. This a tempest in a teapot. Think about how much hot air will be wasted over these kinds of net tapping efforts when no one has really stopped to think about what kind of people we are really dealing with. Remember Star Wars of the Reagan era? Remember the missile defense shield of recent history? Billions of dollars spent on orbiting gigawatt lasers, and what the heck did that do? Less than 2 dozen guys board planes with box cutters fer chrissake and a few hours flight training. A lot of good all that tech did, or will do, if these guys ever get their hands on one of those 50 or so nuclear suitcases the Russians seem to have misplaced. And a lot of good all these Echelons and Magic Lanterns will do against the kind of enemy we are dealing with. Do you really wants to fight the Feds on their new net snooping initiatives? Forget about talking about fundamental rights- talk efficacy, talk utility, talk results- the Feds ain't gonna get any hanging around on the net. Tell them to go hang around the box cutter aisle at Home Depot instead if they want to catch terrorists- that is as high tech as the enemy seems to get.

    6. And finally, forgive me for spreading some of my own FUD at this moment about nuclear suitcases and such, but there you go: I think that's where the FUD properly belongs. Think about it. These guys really hate us. They want to kill us. All of us. Why are you worried about your government? So blow hours of your life fretting over what your government is doing photographing you when you run a red light on your way to 7-11 at 3 am to buy some Cheetos... Go ahead, drive yourself crazy about the government knowing who everyone is on your AOL buddy list. Is that the real problem? These fruitcakes want to put ricin in your watersupply and smallpox in your local McDonalds. So go ahead, wail and bemoan that the feds can see your pr0n downloads... the terrorists could care less about the Internet and Microsoft versus Linux and the RIAA and your damn TiVo viewing records... the terrorists are over at the local dam, planting dynamite. Sure, this is FUD, but post-September 11, it is rather convincing FUD!

    This post about cable Internet traffic tapping has very, very little to do with cyberspace, really... as I said before, if you really want to make a good point about trampling on our electronic rights to the Feds, tell them that they are just wasting their time looking for terrorists in cyberspace. Tell them to go hang out at the reservoir.
    • FUD of your own.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Arrrgh. First off: I'm Canadian, and have a different perpective on this whole mess. Canada just passed our own version of this nightmare legislation, albeit with a little more dissent from the opposition parties. Hopefully something will be done after the next election. I doubt it. That said, there are a number of problems with your logic and I need to raise a few points:

      A lot of people here laugh at the less technophilic portions of our society, the luddites who look at every new innovation with suspicion and distrust. Hey- guess what y'all sound like when it comes to this legislation? Legal luddites, to coin a phrase.

      The problem is that the people passing these laws either don't understand what they're doing, or they understand FULL WELL what they're doing. Any way you cut it, a citizen's right to privacy has been greatly reduced. Download hard encryption tools while you still can. Not that it matters much, since you can now be arrested, detained, given a "trial" and the keys likely beaten out of you without a soul ever knowing. Freedom of speech and a right to privacy mean that yes, even the bad guys (tm) get those rights as citizens of the country. If you're not a citzen, of course, all bets are off. Letting the government decide who is a bad guy (tm) without oversight is a very dangerous thing from a historical perspective. I wonder if this is where a lack of knowledge about history in the general populace shows itself.

      orgive the tide of popular opinion at this particular point in time for running into the scary nether regions it seems to be running. Let everyone calm down and contemplate reality with a little distance between themselves and September 11, whenever that may be.

      You calm down BEFORE you act, not after. History also shows us that once given extraordinary powers, they will almost never be willingly given up. Action is required, but there has not been enough (or, depending on how you look at it, ANY) debate on the topic. Think about what makes the western world different than China or the prior communist Soviet Union. Freedom of expression. A expectation of privacy. A justice system that is open to public inspection and review. Tribunals? What?

      Billions of dollars spent on orbiting gigawatt lasers, and what the heck did that do? Less than 2 dozen guys board planes with box cutters fer chrissake and a few hours flight training. A lot of good all that tech did, or will do, if these guys ever get their hands on one of those 50 or so nuclear suitcases the Russians seem to have misplaced.

      This one really drives me insane. It should illustrate to you the futility of trading away freedom of expression and privacy, along with due process, for some ILLUSION of safety. Now, all the lunatics would have to do is hijack a plane and the US government will blow it out of the sky for them. Do you think that massive wiretapping, secret-police style arrests, and disinformation will change anything? I have news for you, buddy. Engineering schools are open, and we are VERY LUCKY in North America that these people were not more educated and fanatical than they were. Anyone with rudimentary intelligence could cause widespread disruption of electrical, water, and communications systems and there isn't a DAMN THING anyone could do about it.

      Some other clues, for the clueless - The government cannot completely control people in prison. Do you think granting them power to track "subversives" is going to help?

      What does make sense is EDUCATING the public. Let them know their freedom is not without responsibility. Show them how to take down a hijacker. Have them watch water resvoirs and electrical substations. Have people get involved with their neighbours. Encourage open debate! This is what makes north america great. Weakening the freedoms we have paid a bloody price for does nobody any good. (hint: a hell of a lot more people died in WW2 than did in NYC).

      And finally, forgive me for spreading some of my own FUD at this moment about nuclear suitcases and such, but there you go: I think that's where the FUD properly belongs. Think about it. These guys really hate us. They want to kill us. All of us. Why are you worried about your government?

      Nobody will play the nuclear card. Any nation who deployed a nuclear weapon on US soil would be nuked off the face of the earth. I would be far more worried about biological attacks on the water supply. There is a price that comes with freedom, my friend. It is called responsibility. Nothing a government will do can eliminate terrorism. Granting obscene powers is not the way to go about this. Government already had exessive power before 9/11. Ceeding freedom and responsibility to the government will not help; In a way, we have given up what infuriates the fanatics the most: Our freedom to express and do what we want, how we want, when we want, so long as no one is harmed.

      This post about cable Internet traffic tapping has very, very little to do with cyberspace, really... as I said before, if you really want to make a good point about trampling on our electronic rights to the Feds, tell them that they are just wasting their time looking for terrorists in cyberspace.

      The government is full aware of that. Look at their definition of terrorist, if you were provided with one, that is. Funny how newspeak works like that, eh? Would someone working against the FTAA be a terrorist? Would someone who was seeking to change the political system? What about someone who held fundamentally communist or marxist views? What about the author of this post?

      What's really sad is I don't feel comfortable posting this under my nick. That makes me worry. Alot.

    • The problem with this is that "Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely" PCAPCA. Etch that into your brain's acronym section: "Puh Kap Kah".

      Proof: history of human civilization.

      More simply, any organization strong enough to defeat your enemies is strong enough to enslave you.

  • by wackysootroom ( 243310 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @08:15AM (#2630263) Homepage
    Depending on *what* the ISP logs, this may or may not be considered a wiretap. A simple IP address is not big deal. What would they do with that? Any real terrorist will encrypt non-trivial communications.

    Once again, the legislature allows the real criminals to go unpunished and untouched while the average joe gets a large peephole drilled into the wall of his internet connection.

    Thanks, Legistlators!
    • by Pituritus Ani ( 247728 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @09:44AM (#2630603) Homepage
      A simple IP address is not big deal. What would they do with that?

      21:14 192.168.0.1 -> http www.2600.org
      21:14 192.168.0.1 -> nntp news.premium.com
      21:35 192.168.0.1 -> http astalavista.box.sk
      21:40 192.168.0.1 -> http www.princeton.edu
      21:42 192.168.0.1 -> http www.slashdot.org
      21:43 192.168.0.1 -> http www.islamicjihad.com
      21:44 192.168.0.1 -> http goatse.cx
      21:45 192.168.0.1 -> irc irc.dalnet.net
      21:50 192.168.0.1 -> http gnutellahosts.com
      21:53 192.168.0.1 -> http dormroom.school.edu
      .
      .
      .

      Looks like probable cause for a search warrant for software piracy, terrorist activity, and obscene pornography to me. And I can already picture the prosecution detailing what's on each selectively chosen site, outlining your criminal state of mind for a jury. (Unless you're not a U.S. citizen, in which case you may well be before a military tribunal).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2001 @08:19AM (#2630281)
    Most cable modem DHCP pools issue IP addresses based on the MAC address of the requesting device.

    How to Set the MAC Address For Dummies:

    [root@box]# ifdown eth0
    [root@box]# ifconfig eth0 hw ether 00:14:D9:AC:D3:12
    [root@box]# ifup eth0

    This should get you a new IP address on most cable modem services. Replace the MAC address (that string with 5 colons) with any similar string in the format

    00:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX

    ..where each X is a value from 0-9 or A-F.

    Write a script and set it as a cronjob. If your IP is changing every 15 minutes they're going to have a hell of a time keeping tabs on you. If thousands of cable users' IPs are changing every 15 minutes they're going to have a hell of a time keeping tabs on anyone.
    • You will be branded a terrorist just for knowing this information. Everyone knows Americans are supposed to be stupid and not know anything except for sports. Why would anyone need to know how to spoof your ISP and the DoJ who want to watch you?
    • At least everyone in my area is configured to proxy off of http://www.



      This is of course the very first place to look to see who is visiting what.


      Yes, carnivore and its like can probably deal with this subterfuge quite easily...

  • I honestly can see both sides of the issue... On one hand, we want to be safe. On the other, we want our privacy protected from corporate america and from "big brother" as some would put it.
    Personally:
    If you have to worry about big brother, you are either paranoid, a conspiracy nut, or how I used to be....
    I stopped caring, about it and now fill my time with useful stuff like hacking linux, programming, etc...
    On the other hand I still DO CARE, because I do not want corporate america spamming me with sh*t because they can now check which sites I'm going to by getting logs. In short if the DOJ does it... Nothing we can do, if Amazon does it.... That will have to stop.

    And think about it... Only in corporate america do we really have a say. We can just stop buying their product or give a backlash to them... The DOJ... Nothing. Really if you think about it. You can call your Rep. but really what does that do. If things don't go their way, they can just find a way around it. And laws are passed in their favor despite what many may think.... It's like a town meeting I once went to: you know the Yeah's and Neigh's, well we voted audibly on a subject and the Neigh's had it voted down considerably but the Power's to Be, said Yes instead..... Why? Well they already bought the object in question. So they had to pass it whether the people wanted it or not... That's the truth on how things are run, both small time and big time.

  • Ashcroft (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by LordNimon ( 85072 )
    I'm more afraid of Aschcroft than I am of the terrorists. I think he is our generation's Senator McCarthy.
  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @08:50AM (#2630378) Homepage Journal
    I thought that it was China who was meant to be improving its human rights record based on examples from the USA, not the other way around. Or am I missing something here?
  • Is is really a bad thing that Web server logs are going to be treated the same as telephone logs? You don't need a court order to obtain logs that show who called whom, but you do need a court order to tap someone's phone and listen to the content of the call. The same now applies to Web connections.

    The really bad legal attacks on freedom in cyberspace have involved attempts to grab powers and impose controls that the technology makes feasible, but that are not supported in the laws regulating conventional media (e.g., the cases and controversy surrounding DMCA, UCITA, DeCSS). Lawrence Lessig makes the argument that legislators need to move slowly and carefully, making new law by extending the old law according to carefuly drawn analogies. The worst thing that can happen is to take the potential for control through computer code and enshrine that in law (as with the DMCA's restrictions on who can read what and where).

    It seems to me that the Justice Department made a successful argument for treating cyberspace the same as older communication media. In the long run, that's a good thing. The law already contains protections against unwarranted surveillance, and to apply that same body of law to cyber-communications is a desirable outcome.
  • by mttlg ( 174815 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @09:00AM (#2630424) Homepage Journal
    ...they might as well use the information they gather to set up a dating service. Think about it - the government spies on your every keystroke, but to make up for it they send the sexual partner(s) of your dreams to your door. How many people will still be complaining here after that. "Damn government helping me get laid... Oh well, gotta go, no time to bitch and moan about the complete erosion of civil liberties, I'm gonna get me some." It gives new meaning to the term "public relations..."
  • Impeach Bush (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mickeyreznor ( 320351 ) on Thursday November 29, 2001 @09:50AM (#2630645) Homepage Journal
    Let's look at what this prick has done in the last 2 months:

    - Sped through the patriot act, which has us on the road to a police state, allowing for secret searches of property and seizure of information, urinating directly on the 4th amendment.

    - Trashed our system of justice by authorizing secret trials, using secret evidence, and even allowing secret executinos. The "evidence"will not be avaiable for the accused to refute, with no opportunity for the accused to appeal. In doing so he has invoked the divine right of kings, not even asking for congress's approval [yahoo.com].

    - Carrying out acts of war without declaring war(declaring war against a tactic doesn't count, war is by definition a conflict between 2 nations, not some open ended crusade). Only congress can declare war(or approve a declaration of war), and so far it has not done so. In addition, he has justified all these invasions of civil liberties by claiming that we are indeed at war.

    - Deciding which american citizens will be protected by the constitution, claiming, "you don't deserve protection if you are hiding and committing acts of terror"(Ed note: or are suspected of doing so)

    I dunno about you, but this is a hell of a lot more serious than clinton getting his dick sucked by some slut and then lying about it.
    • Score 4: Flamebait? Keee-rist, there are a some dumbshit moderators out there. Mickey states *FACTS*, man, and moreso, facts that ought to SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU. Yet it's "flamebait," because you voted Bush.

      The USA is rapidly becoming a third-world police state that's run by crooks who stand to profit immensely by turning its citizenry into sheep and pouring money into its military-industrial complex.

      That isn't a flamebait statement: it's a fucking WAKE UP CALL. You might be able to write off one voice crying out this message as being the voice of a lunatic, but when so many voices are shouting it, there's bound to be a reason to pay attention.

      Shake your head, sheep, and become aware of the problems your country is facing. If you don't gettaclue fast, you're going to find yourself living like the Chinese do: squished under the thumb of a corrupt government.
    • Carrying out acts of war without declaring war(declaring war against a tactic doesn't count, war is by definition a conflict between 2 nations, not some open ended crusade).

      What was he supposed to do? Don't you remember the onion headline, "U.S. Urges Bin Laden To Form Nation It Can Attack"?
    • I'm not going to defend everything Bush has done, but I do have to point out that most of it has been done with the full support of both parties (and most of the American people). For example, Democrats and Republicans nearly unanimously voted for the so-called Patriot Act despite not having actually read it.


      I dunno about you, but this is a hell of a lot more serious than clinton getting his dick sucked by some slut and then lying about it.


      In addition to his intern adventures, Clinton also abused executive orders and bombed the hell out of other countries without a declaration of war, including deliberately targeting civilians.

    • Trashed our system of justice by authorizing secret trials, using secret evidence, and even allowing secret executinos. The "evidence"will not be avaiable for the accused to refute, with no opportunity for the accused to appeal. In doing so he has invoked the divine right of kings, not even asking for congress's approval

      Kind of hard to square your characterization of what's been done with the fact that he's acting with the blessing of the Supreme Court when authorizing military tribunals. Ex Parte Quirin [findlaw.com], for your bedtime reading tonight.
  • You like tax-free shopping on the Internet? You will disclose your personal information.
    You want regulations that keep bandwidth affordable? You will accept government monitoring of your private communicaton.
    You want to be/stay in business as an access provider? You will log everything and make those logs available on a whim.
    • You like tax-free shopping on the Internet? You will disclose your personal information.


      I don't see why that would be necessary. I don't see a connection.

      You want regulations that keep bandwidth affordable? You will accept government monitoring of your private communicaton.


      How does regulation keep it affordable? Hands-off government doesn't regulate bandwidth. Non sequitur.

      You want to be/stay in business as an access provider? You will log everything and make those logs available on a whim.


      Now, there's a true statement. Blackmail on the most primitive level. Do what we say, or men with guns shut you down, and the DOJ ruins you with legal fees.

      Heil Ashcroft. Watch out for those calico cats; Ashroft believes they are symbols of Satan.
      • I don't see why that would be necessary. I don't see a connection.

        It isn't necessary. There is not connection. There is also no connection between Federal speed limits and Interstate Highway maintenance cost subsidies for States, yet, strangely, the funding was held back for certain States until they adopted the 'suggested' speed limits. Interesting, that.

        How does regulation keep it affordable?

        You're expecting this to be clearly logical. It is, but not in the straightforward sense. There is still much the government can do to make the interaction between cable and telephone providers (and the overlap in services they can provide) simple or difficult. To get what they want, cable cos and telcos will need to give the Fed what it wants. Simple extortion.

        Do what we say, or men with guns shut you down.

        It won't ever be that dramatic and transparent. Denied permits, tax audits, unrealistic appeal deadlines, etc. will kill off non-compliance.

        "No Mr. ISP CEO, you can not string your fiber-optic line across or under a Highway.. What? The data is encrypted? Encryption is a munition, and so you must be a terrorist.."
  • One non-secure surfing/games box, and a standalone (preferably *nix) box for stuff that your government doesn't need to see (financial records etc). And no, I don't have anything bad to hide, it's quite simply none of their business. Store all your encryption keys on your standalone box and get your correspondants to adopt a similar configuration,. If you need nocommunicate securely,compose and encrypt/decrypt on the standalone box only, transferring encrypted text only files between the boxen via floppy. It's actually quite frigntening...what have our governments becomethat we all feel the need to protect ourselves from them?
  • OK, so the feds can ask an ISP for the IP address of a suspect; this would be useful for purposes such as magic lantern, or otherwise trying to crack the suspect's box. The feds can also obtain logs from the ISP; I've never worked at an ISP, so I'm wondering what do ISPs (or especially overloaded cable ISPs) actually log anyway? I can't imagine the information would be overly extensive, since for the most part it's not in the ISP's best interests to keep verbose logs over an extended period of time. Anyone who knows more care to chime in?
  • It just amazes me. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OS24Ever ( 245667 )
    I'm growing tired of being protected 'for my own good'.

    Looking over at CNN [cnn.com] you see that over 100,000 people have voted that the 'new powers' of the government are not too much, while only 30K or so think they are too broad.

  • by kma ( 2898 )
    I don't understand the level of panic I'm seeing in most of the replies to this article. Have any of you folks actually read [ins.gov] the legislation? Most of it consists of running "sed -e s/phone/phone, voice or internet" on existing laws. E.g., the ability to obtain IP address/name pairs from cable companies is analogous to the ability to map phone numbers to names. We're not exactly shredding the Bill of Rights, here.

    There is a real tension between civil liberties and physical safety, no matter what Ben Franklin said [cp-tel.net]; we have enemies who want to slaughter us wholesale, and the freedoms available to them in this country are enabling them to do so. In this context, the USA Patriot Act is a reasonable compromise, despite the newspeak name. The freedoms it sacrifices are non-essential (yes, there is such a thing), and yet it has a fighting chance of being effective. It represents a sweet-spot in the freedom/safety trade-off.

    Even if it were the piece of totalitarian toilet paper some would have us believe, it at least has a sunset clause. I.e., on Dec. 31, 2005, the USA Patriot Act ceases to be the law of the land. Not quite what you'd expect from a fascist power-grab.

    I suspect the most hyperbolic complaints about this piece of legislation come from people who are upset about the general erosion of civil liberties underway. If you fall into this category, your energy is wasted on the USA Patriot Act. Executive orders allowing military tribunals and spying on lawyers are massively more troubling than the FBI being able to find out whose machine is at 65.12.14.153; if you don't understand why, I'm afraid you've been spending too much time on slashdot.
  • I've been reading the Patriot Act and I cannot find a clear definitions of the word "terrorist" which aren't self-referential -- ie: "someone who commits an act of terrorism", and so forth.

    Am I reading the section correctly? Because if so, it would seem to me that, without a clear definition, it's open to interpretation at various points along the way from suspicion to arrest and detainment to trial to sentencing...
  • Here is an email I received from my local provider (Cox) I received it today 11292001:
    Dear Cox @ Home Customer:

    As you know from our previous emails, Excite @ Home, our vendor in delivering
    your Cox @ Home service, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection at the end
    of September. We have endeavored to keep you informed of the potential impact
    this Bankruptcy could have on your Cox @ Home service and are writing to you
    today to provide the latest information we have available.

    First, we want you to know that we are committed to providing you uninterrupted
    high speed Internet service. Cox Communications has been working diligently in
    negotiations with Excite @ Home and using all legal avenues available to protect
    you, our valued customer. Meanwhile, we have been forging ahead with our
    plans to deliver reliable high speed Internet service to you on our Cox-managed
    network. You will soon be receiving additional information about our new Cox
    High Speed Internet(sm) service, along with information to help you convert to this
    new service.

    The latest developments with Excite @ Home:

    This month, Excite @ Home's creditors petitioned the Bankruptcy court with a
    motion to allow Excite @ Home to terminate service agreements with its cable
    affiliates on November 30th. This includes agreements with Cox, Comcast and
    AT&T. If the Court grants the creditors' request, there conceivably could be a
    temporary disruption in the services that Excite @ Home provides to
    approximately 3.7 million customers served by its North American cable affiliates.
    We are doing everything possible to see that there will not be a disruption in your
    service, but also want you to understand the possibilities and to be prepared:

    *If the Judge's ruling states that Excite @ Home may terminate its service
    agreements with Cox and the other cable affiliates, this does not mean that
    Excite @ Home will automatically turn off the service on November 30th.
    *With the Judge's approval, Excite @ Home would then have the ability to make
    a decision on termination; however, we are negotiating with them to prevent any
    service disruption.
    *If Excite @ Home decides to terminate service despite our efforts to negotiate a
    temporary arrangement, the question remains as to when the service would be
    terminated. We are doing everything we can to ensure that your Cox @ Home
    service continues until we can transition you to our new Cox-managed Internet
    service. In short, we are doing our best to make sure that you will never be
    without high speed Internet service.

    Additional help Cox is providing:

    In addition to exercising legal avenues, negotiating with Excite @ Home, and
    building our own high speed Internet service, Cox is also offering the following to
    help you and to keep you informed during this transitional period:

    * Toll Free Customer Information Line (1-877-832-4751). You can call in for
    the latest updates as we work to quickly resolve any service issues.
    * Website Message Center at www.cox.com/info We will provide online
    updates and a "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) section to address your
    concerns.
    * Automatic Account Credits. We will credit your account automatically for
    service and leased equipment so that you are reimbursed for any time you
    are without service.
    * Free, temporary dial-up Internet access. In the unlikely event that you
    should experience a service disruption, we have arranged for temporary
    dial-up access to the Internet via NetZero(r). In order to take advantage of
    this precautionary option, please see the "What Should I be Doing Right
    Now" section that follows.

    Cox has a long history of outstanding service in your community. We pride
    ourselves on providing high quality products and the best customer service.
    Please know that we are committed to our customers and understand the
    extent to which you enjoy the services we provide. We recognize that you
    have a choice in service providers and we will continue to do our best to
    remain your choice now and in the future. In advance, we apologize for any
    inconvenience that the Bankruptcy of our vendor Excite @ Home may cause
    you.

    Stay tuned for more details, and thank you for choosing Cox.

    Sincerely,

    The Cox High-Speed Internet Team
    Cox Communications, Inc.

    _______________________________

    What Should I be Doing Right Now?
    1. Check your Cox @ Home email daily. Opened messages will be saved
    automatically to your hard drive.
    2. Download free dial-up Internet software. In the unlikely event that Excite
    @ Home terminates your service, you would lose connectivity to the Internet and
    access to your Cox @ Home services such as email and webspace. We do not
    recommend that you install the software at this time, just download the software
    and save it so that it may be installed should you have an interruption in service.
    In order to restore access to the Internet and to set up a temporary email
    address, we recommend that you register for dial-up service via NetZero and
    download the necessary software. You will not be able to download the software
    from your home after your Internet service has already been disrupted. While a
    free dial-up connection is not ideal, it will give you temporary access to the
    Internet for surfing, making transactions, etc. However, you will not be able to
    access your Cox @ Home email accounts while the service is shut down. For
    information on how to download this software, please visit www.cox.com/info
    3. Back up your personal web page to your hard drive or to a CD. (This is a
    good precautionary measure to follow at any time.)
    4. In the unlikely event that there is a disruption in service, keep your cable
    modem connected to your PC until service is restored.
    5. Watch for more information from Cox on the transition of your service to
    Cox High Speed Internet. At such time that you can make the transition to our
    new service, Cox will be providing you with all of the information you need to make
    your transition as smooth as possible.

    It seems like they are trying their asses off not to lose any customers, which seems to be a very good sign.
  • Are there any anonymizing proxies that the police can't force to give out logs? This shit is scary:
    Other USA Patriot Act sections mean that police can obtain an Internet Protocol address, which identifies a cable modem subscriber, as readily as they can learn someone's telephone number.

    Of course it doesn't really matter, since they will still be able to sniff at the ISP. How about anonymizers that use SSL or a VPN? That would be ideal.

    *sigh*

  • Think it's impossible to defeat Big Brother? Maybe. But at least you can make his life more difficult. Try these tips:
    1. Install a TLS mail server and tell it to speak TLS to everyone.
      TLS is a way of sending e-mail using SSL. When you send an e-mail from your TLS-speaking server to another TLS-speaking server, it will automatically travel encrypted. TLS also has support for certificate verification. Most popular mail servers, including sendmail and postfix, have TLS support. Debian users: apt-get install postfix-tls and follow the README.
    2. Use SSL wherever possible.Simple enough. https for websites. Make websites use SSL even if they don't "have" to.
    3. Use IPSec or other VPN technologies.These can help ensure that spies won't even know what protocol of information is traveling down the wire. They'll only know the two endpoints of the connection, when data is sent, and how much.
    4. Use GnuPG [gnupg.org] for all e-mails. This protects your e-mail even if you can't use TLS -- and it protects it while it's in your ISP's spool. Spies can probably figure out who the mail is from and who it's going to, but not its contents.
    5. Don't use Windows. The keyloggers used by the FBI apparently target that platform most.
    • 4.Use GnuPG for all e-mails.

      OK, so how do I get everyone I know to use GPG as well? It won't work unless everyone else uses it, too. I'm with you on this, but I need help convincing the rest of the world that unless you encrypt everything then encryption is worthless. This is especially difficult when my brother, sister, father-in-law, and damn near everyone else I know believes with all their heart and soul that the only reason to encrypt anything is if you have something to hide, and by extension the only reason to fear government intrusion into your personal life is if you have something to hide.

      I really believe the only way to have a secure society is if encryption is totally banned, and everything is open and public. Sure, go ahead and put a webcam in my bedroom -- but first, what's the address of the webcam in George W's bedroom, the governor's bedroom, the mayor's bedroom, the sherrif's bedroom, etc. If they have nothing to hide, then I have nothing to hide. I would welcome my bedroom webcam under those conditions.

      I note that nobody's proposing that we all read John Ashcroft's personal mail. I also note that Dubya dropped his personal email after the election, because he knew Presidential email was open to eventual public scrutiny. I further note that he has blocked the relase of his father's Vice-Presidential records. Nice double standard, eh?

      That doesn't bother me nearly as much as the reaction I get when I ask my brother, sister, father-in-law, etc. to please explain why the double standard doesn't bother them. I'm about to disown my family, the cretins.

We are not a loved organization, but we are a respected one. -- John Fisher

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