Thursday, March 05, 2009

Watching out for the Watchers

Let's start from a direct quote from the article in question:

Imagine if the FBI could, with only a piece of paper signed by the special agent in charge of your local FBI office, demand detailed information about your private Internet communications directly from your ISP, webmail service, or other communications provider. Imagine that it could do this:

  • without court review or approval
  • without you being suspected of a crime
  • without ever having to tell you that it happened
Further imagine that with this piece of paper, the FBI could see a wide range of private details, including:
  • your basic subscriber records, including your true identity and payment information
  • your Internet Protocol address and the IP address of every Web server you communicate with
  • the identity of anyone using a particular IP address, username, or email address
  • the email address or username of everyone you email or IM, or who emails or IMs you
  • the time, size in bytes, and duration of each of your communications, and possibly even the web address of every website you visit
Finally, imagine that the FBI could use the same piece of paper to gain access your private credit and financial information — and that your ISP, bank, and any other business from which the FBI gathers your private records is barred by law from notifying you.

Now, stop imagining: the FBI already has this authority
This and many other such interesting articles, including those on how to securely delete your files in Windows without installing _anything_ extra are part of the SSD initiative website by the electronic frontier foundation [ref: /.].

Given that the FBI was given crazy powers like those in the quote by the USA PATRIOT act, I wonder what the post-26/11 Indian law looks like.

And in today's nature video, I present before you, the Indonesian Mimic Octopus!

P.S. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I went for dosas with S and P in the evening. Was good :-).

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