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October 03, 2007


Gee, not wanting to give big corporations immunity for engaging in law-breaking that the Congress didn't and still doesn't know about. Profiles in Courage...

Shorter Dems on the SIC: "If we don't give the telecoms immunity, how are they going to be able to give us donations?"

I think there are hairs to split: what they did that the government more-or-less forced them to do and what they did that was invasive of people's privacy for their own corporate ends and whatever else they did that was just legal.

I'd give 'em immunity with regard to things Bushies forced them to do, so long as they completely spilled their guts and told Congress EVERYTHING Bushies were/have-been up to.

As long as anonymizing software and networks can be used to keep ISPs from knowing which customers are saying what, customers who take such an approach can let the criticism rip; not that staying anonymous should be a prerequisite to speaking one's mind. I hope there won't be an ISP movement to block or cancel customers who use Tor or JAP or something similar. Or have some major ISPs already made that move? Ours hasn't, but I can't say about the others.


I know Tortoise, it's hard to keep up sometimes.


Teaeopy: Although every branch of our Government seems to plumb new depths of incompetence every day,I would not put too much trust in anonymizing software, proxies and the like. Its a fairly obvious move for an "intelligence" service to set up apparently independent anonymizing services or proxies to spy on precisely those people who wish to remain anonymous. After all, its a much higher value proposition than randomly eavesdropping on net traffic -- the people who use such services either really have something to hide or at least believe that they do.

Do you check out your proxy's IP before you send traffic through it? Could you actually trust the result if you did?

Thanks Randy, but it was just the spelling I was concerned about.


Damn. I suspected I spelled it wrong. It was early when I wrote it.

Sorry, mysterious duplicate, please ignore


Tangential to the post topic, have you seen the letters from the House Energy and Commerce Committee requesting AT&T, Verizon and Qwest provide answers to questions on "reported efforts by government agencies to obtain information about customers' telephone and Internet use..."

Above quote from The Blotter at http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/10/surveillance-ba.html

AT&T letter is here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_110/110-ltr.100207.TI.ATTStephenson.pdf

Verizon letter is here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_110/110-ltr.100207.TI.VerizonSeidenberg.pdf

Qwest letter is here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_110/110-ltr.100207.TI.Qwest.Mueller.pdf

I haven't compared the letters line by line, but a quick read seems to show they are identical except for addressee.

I've used Tor a lot and JAP a little, but I'm not an expert on anything in IT. Tor administrators and developers don't claim infallibility, and they even state known or potential vulnerabilities. Tor is quite effective most of the time if precautions are taken. Most personal goofs come from incorrect browser configuration (e.g., leaving Java enabled) or from not encrypting sensitive information.

Tor and other anonymizing networks get used for all manner of activities, some of them bad. We shouldn't want only bad guys to have technology that is useful for many good and harmless purposes. Many Tor users have no dire immediate need to hide anything. Some don't like geolocation and other traffic analysis. Some don't want to make personal data collection easy. Some use Tor more than they otherwise would because the strength of the network's anonymity is directly related to the number of users. Many don't want any adverse effects from stating information or opinions.

I'm not sure that government agencies engaged in electronic surveillance will ever press to comprehensively eliminate anonymity on the Internet. Perhaps not; some government agencies and personnel use onion router networks, and there is some sensitivity to the situations of dissidents, whistleblowers and other informants, and journalists. It would not be hard, though, for any ISP to compile a list of customers who aren't always using direct connections. Even if not instructed to present such a list by a government agency, an ISP sensitive about its reputation, and fearful of such perceived dangers as blog posts and comments, might find anonymity-seeking customers to be suspicious. As usual, we're unlikely to learn much or anything on the subject.

Hmmm are they listening in on all languages then? Do they have people trained to listen for example to a couple speaking in german, or french or lebanese for that matter. That should cost a pretty penny.

Pete Domenici retiring in New Mexico!!!

I personally think it's unwise to advocate calling Dianne Feinstein. One will be ignored, of that I am 100% certain.

It just burns out our people, it discourages them. Feinstein never, ever listens to liberals, we need our energy elsewhere.

[shrugs] I've been wrong before.

Domenici leaving, and TPM Muckraker calling him the 9th casualty of the US Attorney firings, saying an ethics investigation is hovering over him. Link.

Psst... over here.

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