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Super-Privacy-Protecting ISP In the Planning

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the secret-surfing dept.

Encryption 184

h00manist writes "Nicholas Merrill ran a New York based ISP and got tired of federal 'information requests.' He is now planning an ISP which would be built from the ground up for privacy. Everything encrypted, maximum technical and legal resistance to information requests. Merrill has formed an advisory board with members including Sascha Meinrath from the New America Foundation; former NSA technical director Brian Snow; and Jacob Appelbaum from the Tor Project. Kickstarter-like IndieGoGo has a project page."

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184 comments

License to print money (5, Insightful)

Tommy Bologna (2431404) | about 2 years ago | (#39650255)

If he pulls this off, he will be very well off. I suspect it will take the dinosaur telcos eons before they understand how to adjust, and by then it just may be too late.

Re:License to print money (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650347)

Probably more like an invitation for an FBI raid.

Re:License to print money (5, Insightful)

CodeHxr (2471822) | about 2 years ago | (#39650449)

If they* don't just pass a law declaring that this type of operation is illegal.

(* they == anyone with the power [directly or otherwise] to enact/enable such a law)

Re:License to print money (3, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#39650509)

Is America Really Free?

11.04.2012 11:43

By Vasily Georgevich

The recent outcry by the American Media complaining of mass riots over the Russian election has gotten me thinking. Do the youth in Russia protesting understand exactly how free they are compared with the American's slandering them? Consider the facts.

1. America's Free Press

Six Corporations control the American press (Walt Disney, General Electric, New Corporation, Viacom, CBS, and Time Warner), whether in print, or on the television. They even used the frequently derogatory term bloggers to refer to free publications that do not follow their talking points. In covering the protest in Russia the supposedly freest press in the world even saw many programs using falls footage, such as those from riots taking place in the European Union, and mimicking those of the Occupy and Tea Party movements happening coast to coast in America.

2. America's Free Speech

If you think you can say anything you want if you're an American consider the American president recently authorized the assassination of an American citizen who was known for recording tapes and CDs denouncing America's policies as immoral, and oppressive.

3. America's Freedom of Religion

Frequently in the last several decades children have had to rely on parents taking schools to court to avail themselves of the right to pray; Churches and Mosques are frequently having to show up in court to preserve their rights to call people to prayer, ring bells, or even maintain a cross that happens to be visible from a public highway.

4. America's Freedom from Taxation without Representation

American's Pay Almost 50% of their income in Taxes, and work the longest hours of any country in the world.

While Americans insist their tax burden is low, once one tallies the taxes on products, housing, transportation, and hidden taxes employers must pay on behalf of employees Americans work 6 months of the year before they see any profit for their labor.

The average American has 2 weeks of paid vacation, and 3 personal or sick days for unexpected absence at work. Many are so afraid of becoming unemployed they do not avail themselves even of these. Expecting mothers in most American jobs are expected to work to within a month of their expected due date and return to work in 6 to 8 weeks. With the effect of so many families where both parents work the prices of American products are such that only if one member of a married couple is independently wealthy it is impossible for them to survive on an income of a single worker. Women are not free to stay home and help raise children, and increasingly many children are raised by daycare workers, and school teachers.

5. America's Open and Transparent Courts, and Corruption Free Police

While other nations are changing the terminology of Militia to Police, America is enacting laws to the opposite. More and more anti terrorism legislation is targeting 'special instances' where American Citizens can be denied indefinitely rights to an attorney, and be held without being charged with a crime. Further these special situaions call for moving ruling on whether these Americans have committed any crime into Military courts which are not subject to the constitutional protections of traditional American courts.

6. Free Elections

International observers are not allowed at American elections, in fact foreigners present at American elections thought to be spying can be charged, and deported and not allowed to return to the United States. Increasingly exit polls conducted on those exiting voting sites in America show disparity with officially reported results; and Americans have little means to investigate why.

The electoral college system in America is legally able to elect whomever they choose for president regardless of whom Americans vote for, and it is legally possible, and has happened recently more than once, for the winning candidate for the presidency to lose the majority vote.

While in regional elections there are sometimes 3 or 4 parties on the ballot who occasionally elect a small number of representatives to local or state governments, on the national level it is nearly impossible for any party other than Democrat or Republican to be on the ballot. In several states laws prevent any other party from even applying regardless of how many people endorse the candidate. In several states write-in candidates, those not officially on the ballot, can only be counted if the candidate has been added to an acceptable list of write ins. Ron Paul, who was not on the Ballot in New York was also not allowed onto the write-in list despite massive support which certainly resulted in numerous write in votes for his name. This would be akin to only votes for United Russia or the Communist Party being counted.

7. Freedom to Protest

The police in numerous cities have violently reacted to the Occupy Movements in the United States where protesters angered by the United States Government favoring wealthy corporations over citizens who individually are increasingly making so little money they are statistically included in poverty lists. Old women have been sprayed with gases and physically assaulted by police looking to cover up massive unrest. The United States hasn't used rubber bullets against protesters as Georgian president Sakashvili did multiple times in recent years but with John McCain, former candidate for president, and still Senator, stating on multiple occasions his empathy for the Georgian president how long will it be before the increasingly military-like, repleat with more powers and weapons previously only available to the military, police begin using those on protesters as well?

The same media that criticizes Gay Pride parades being barred from central Moscow on the grounds it would be disruptive and unmanageable, are fine with the same excuse being used when protestors from one party show up un announced at conventions of rival political parties. Protesting outside of 'designated protest areas' distant from these conventions is grounds for arrest.

8. Freedom to Keep and Bare Arms

Americans have a false belief that most nations do not allow individuals to keep arms or use them against those threatening their life or property. Many non-Americans are mistakenly of the belief that any American can walk to the store and buy a cart full of automatic machine guns. The fact is most countries, with the notable exception of the United Kingdom, allow a person to keep weapons for self defense and hunting, the Russian Federation included. In America Americans cannot purchase or for the most part have access to use automatic weapons. While many states allow for Americans to carry concealed pistols, these generally require difficult to acquire permits involving the endorsement of long time acquaintances of those applying. The prevalence of guns in crime stems not from American laws, but from illegal purchases of guns, as it does in other countries. The American government in fact engaged in selling thousands of illegal weapons which officials now confess are likely to be used in crimes for decades in a failed attempt to gather information about narcotics rings, and mafia organizations.

With all of this in mind I'd like those who consider America to be any freer than its neighbors, or even free at all to consider the original Bill of Rights, designed to keep America a 'free country', and whether they are in fact doing so, or whether the American government has simply disregarded them completely.

The Bill of RIghts (The first Ten Ammendments to the United Stated Constitution):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. [56] [wikipedia.org]

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants [wikipedia.org] shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury [wikipedia.org] , except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accusedshall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

  • Ninth Amendment [wikipedia.org] - Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I do not observe these facts out of an interest to dissuade protesters in East Europe, or indeed anywhere else in the world, from pursuing a free and transparent government that protects the interests of those it represents. Instead I ask that they consider what can be the true intentions of those so loudly calling foreign nations un-free. With Time Magazine calling the protestor the 'Person of the Year'; what are they doing to help American's maintain their freedom? Not much. Mean time their parent company, as well as News Corporation, have used on numerous occasions falsified or modified footage to deride other nations as un-free, and oppressed.

What can be more oppressed than a people lied to by their press, over worked, and over taxed, unable to elect representation outside the established two parties, which are of course only one party better than a dictatorship, all the while being told they are the freest nation on Earth ?

Vasily Georgevich

The article has been reprinted with kind permission from the author and originally appears in his blog, Moscow The Third Rome [blogspot.com]

Copyright © 1999-2012, PRAVDA.Ru. When reproducing our materials in whole or in part, hyperlink to PRAVDA.Ru should be made. The opinions and views of the authors do not always coincide with the point of view of PRAVDA.Ru's editors.

Re:License to print money (5, Insightful)

demonbug (309515) | about 2 years ago | (#39650571)

I'm trying to figure this post out - did you put it up ironically, like, "Hey, look how completely uninformed this Russian guy is about the U.S., isn't this funny?" Or were you actually serious? The cluelessness meter is off the charts, but I can't tell if it is a joke or not...

Re:License to print money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650675)

Too bad you didn't manage to back your stance up point by point..."he who stays silent, gives the chance" or so we say around here.

Re:License to print money (0)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 2 years ago | (#39650725)

Almost all of that was true. The worst that could be said about most of it is [citation needed.] The main problems I saw were that he didn't clarify who he was talking about in number two, and he's wrong about military weapons being unavailable for purchase by civilians unless you're in one of the states where getting ANY gun is an asspain. (And he was exactly right about the games they play with that.)

Re:License to print money (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#39650921)

regarding point #1: it's been said that the freedom of press only applies to those who own one. the poster's flawed example of Six Corporations fails to take into account the other forms of press that have been created in the internet. slashdot is a type of press. so is just about any blog out there. some use their social network account as a press. we have the power to voice our opinions, like any other traditional press, even more so today with the low cost, low barrier to entry, and ubiquity of blogs. no matter how we try to make the playing field even by handing out bullhorns, some will just have a louder voice than others. the big 6 are able to use maximum volume, while grandpa tinhat can't figure out the dial, aka market himself well. the big 6 are not inclined to help him out either. however, some do figure it out on their own, and find a way to increase their relevance to the greater population. if they weren't greedy, the big 6 might not eat them up so easily.

Re:License to print money (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651211)

I dont think he fails to account for other news medias.
I think he means that the big corporations disparage and disregard the other outlets publicly, calling them bloggers and such, to the point that they slandered out of legitimacy.

-HasHie

Re:License to print money (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650683)

> Frequently in the last several decades children have had to rely on parents taking schools to court to avail themselves of the right to pray

Typical Alex Jones bullshit. Go to a private school if you want my tax dollars paying for your superstition. And don't make me fund any fucking vouchers for it either.

Re:License to print money (4, Informative)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 2 years ago | (#39651495)

When they say "the right to pray" what the mean is "the right to make others pray, or at least feel marginalized by forcing them to stand out as not part of the group if they choose not to participate."

Anyone can pray anytime, anywhere. A kid can pray in school. What CAN'T happen is the school can;t LEAD A PRAYER and therefore use authority to enforce that religion.

That's what they are really saying, but they LIE CONSTANTLY about it, those moral religious folks.

Re:License to print money (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | about 2 years ago | (#39651761)

So are you saying that Americans are being fed the lie of "unfree countries" so that they won't leave? So that Americans think they are somehow free?

More propaganda.... it's what I think now when I see American flags at businesses around the area.....

Re:License to print money (5, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | about 2 years ago | (#39650453)

If he pulls this off, expect tougher laws on data collection requirements for ISPs.

Re:License to print money (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651539)

Which then gives way to darknets popping up all over the place.

In fact, couple a Raspberry Pi, a frisbee, some solar cells, a battery pack, and a simple recharge circuit, and you have a mesh network node tossable to any roof. Now throw 100 of these around your neighborhood, or 1000 of them around your city.

I fully expect this type of scenario to come to fruition, not only as the laws get tougher, but as electronics continuously gets cheaper.

Re:License to print money (2)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 2 years ago | (#39650551)

Wouldn't a cron job deleting all server and firewall logs every 30 seconds do the trick? They can't subpoena what doesn't exist.

Re:License to print money (4, Informative)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39650765)

ISP's are required by law to maintain logs.

Re:License to print money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651131)

Maintain logs, encrypt them, 'lose' the key. Make them break AES to recover the logs.

Re:License to print money (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#39651361)

Are they actually? I know there were some bills that wanted something like 18 months of your activity stored (PIPA/SOPA maybe?) but pretty sure those died.

Where is the *legal* requirement that an ISP maintain logs?

Re:License to print money (3, Informative)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39651555)

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:s.01738 [loc.gov] :

NOTE: In the fall of 2008, Congress passed Sen. Biden's PROTECT Our Children Act which has a data retention requirement!

Re:License to print money (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39651599)

Huh when I click on that link above it's broken.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:s.01738 [loc.gov] :

try it from here if it fails for you.
http://www.cybertelecom.org/cda/protect.htm [cybertelecom.org]

Re:License to print money (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651787)

Here is what you want to read.
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/s1738

Sec. 501. Reporting requirements of electronic communication service providers and remote computing service providers.
To
save you time - Nowhere does it claim they HAVE to maintain certain records or monitor etc... in fact they explicitly state that, however once asked for information they do have to provide information they do have and such requests are to handled as a request to preserve records (that do exist at the time of receipt).

Re:License to print money (0)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 2 years ago | (#39650841)

Then he gets arrested for obstruction of justice.

I'd be leery of anyone saying they can offer privacy on the internet. The companies that own the internet, dure to being legally designated as those who would build it, don't want you to have it. Therefore, it doesn't exist.

Anybody who knows enough about the infrastructure to be able to plausibly offer an alternative service knows this, and is therefore in it for the money in a much worse way than usual. They WILL collect data, because they have to, or they will be harrassed outbof business by the government. Somebody promising secrecy in that context is really just inviting the customer to do things the government doesn't like. They're collecting blackmail material.

Re:License to print money (2)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#39650949)

every 30 seconds? that's stupid. might as well not even keep logs and save the cpu cycles. you don't do this kind of thing for a living, do you?

Re:License to print money (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651199)

Posting AC for obvious reasons.

I own a small to mid sized (big enough to have a /21 from arin almost 100% utilized) colo / dedicated server company. If this comes about I will definitely see if I can get a xconnect from him and and advertise the hell out of it. The hard part will be keeping the spammers, malware, and all around bad actors at bay. It only takes 1 of those to completely ruin a companies image even if they have a good track record of curbing abuses.

Re:License to print money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651517)

Most likely a shill for the NSA to easily push over
and implement more draconian legislation.

Nobody's fooled anymore, and we've got
as much data on you as you do on US.

jr

Re:License to print money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651615)

Ah, you mean the dinosaur telcocablopoly that just scarfed up most of the unlicensed interstitial spectrum without so much as a by-your-leave from /. moderators?

Sure, ok, whatever.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652155)

He seems to be doing two things: 1) asking for too much money, 2) not pursuing a peer-to-peer solution that is ISP agnostic. The combination of these problems shows ignorance, and a lack of proper planning or thought. As other comments have mentioned, gathering people that care about privacy into a single honey pot, just makes it cheaper for anyone to get the honey. Especially, if it is subsidized by the naive.

TFS is confusing. (4, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#39650261)

Nicholas Merrill ran a New York based ISP and got tired of federal 'information requests'....maximum technical and legal resistance to information requests.

He's tired of fighting The Man, so he's going to set up a new ISP which will let him fight The Man even more? That doesn't even begin to approach making sense. Is this like Fight Club or something?

Re:TFS is confusing. (4, Insightful)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about 2 years ago | (#39650343)

Nicholas Merrill ran a New York based ISP and got tired of federal 'information requests'....maximum technical and legal resistance to information requests.

He's tired of fighting The Man, so he's going to set up a new ISP which will let him fight The Man even more? That doesn't even begin to approach making sense. Is this like Fight Club or something?

Its actually quite ingenious... He's going to create an ISP where it is much-more-difficult to compromise a users privacy. They're designing it from the ground up to be PATRIOT-Act proof because it will literally be impossible for them to give the feds the data they want. It is fewer fights, but may amount to one HUGE fight with the biggest gorilla on earth, the U.S. Justice Department.

Another possibility, however, is if he gets anywhere close to a working model where this is possible that he suddenly has an "accident," or his data-center suffers a "mysterious fire." Or maybe the CIA kills his network engineers the way Israel kills mechanical engineers they think can build high-speed centrifuges in Iran.

Re:TFS is confusing. (5, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#39650445)

Far closer to the idea that he has 100 customers but needs 10,000 to fund the operations. Can something like this ever get enough customers to operate? Not if they charge a penny more than a non-privacy protecting ISP - it simply isn't a priority for most people. A few, yes, and that is all the customers something like this would ever have.

Far too few to make a go of it. No reason for anyone to attack it - it will die of lack of interest.

Re:TFS is confusing. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650905)

You are missing the obvious business model where he signs up a bunch of pedos/terrorists/ron paul supporters and then sells the info to the feds.

Re:TFS is confusing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650865)

but may amount to one HUGE fight with the biggest gorilla on earth, the U.S. Justice Department

Wrong. The biggest gorilla is the U.S. D.O.D.

Re:TFS is confusing. (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#39650997)

Its actually quite ingenious... He's going to create an ISP where it is much-more-difficult to compromise a users privacy. They're designing it from the ground up to be PATRIOT-Act proof because it will literally be impossible for them to give the feds the data they want. It is fewer fights, but may amount to one HUGE fight with the biggest gorilla on earth, the U.S. Justice Department.

It is not without precedent. After the PATRIOT Act made it legal to for the feds to confiscate book borrowing records from libraries without even a warrant, most libraries switched over to lending software that deleted all records once a book was returned. So, at worst, the feds could find out what a patron currently had checked out, but no borrowing history was available to anyone.

As far as I know, the DOJ hasn't tried, at least in court, to make a library use a less privacy-preserving system.

Re:TFS is confusing. (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#39651725)

After the PATRIOT Act made it legal to for the feds to confiscate book borrowing records from libraries without even a warrant, most libraries switched over to lending software that deleted all records once a book was returned.

Not buying it - as circulation records are a libraries lifeblood come budget time.

[[Citation Needed]]

Re:TFS is confusing. (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#39651841)

Google it yourself.
But I will point out that your objection is specious. Budgeting doesn't depend on who borrowed a book, only that it was borrowed.

Re:TFS is confusing. (4, Informative)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 2 years ago | (#39651005)

They're designing it from the ground up to be PATRIOT-Act proof because it will literally be impossible for them to give the feds the data they want. It is fewer fights, but may amount to one HUGE fight with the biggest gorilla on earth, the U.S. Justice Department.

Who he already fought. This guy is the same guy who fought (successfully), the national security letter he recieved in 2007.

Re:TFS is confusing. (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#39650355)

He's tired of being unable to beat the man, so he's going to construct his own company in which it will be impossible for him to lose.

Re:TFS is confusing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650655)

If his ISP, by design, does not store any data of value to the spies, they must snoop elsewhere. That's the theory at least.

Re:TFS is confusing. (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#39651003)

no, the way he's fighting The Man (i.e. handling information requests) is making him tired. so like any good engineer he attacked the root of the problem with automation. now he can fight The Man without getting so tired.

Re:TFS is confusing. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#39651111)

He's tired of fighting The Man, so he's going to set up a new ISP which will let him fight The Man even more? That doesn't even begin to approach making sense.

Complying with these sorts of requests is costly, particularly for a little guy.
So by not collecting the data in the first place they save themselves a lot of work.
It is far easier to say flat out, "sorry we don't have that information" than it is to go dig through months or even years of logs.

If more companies would see it as a way to save money, we might actually start to get corporate interests aligned with personal privacy again.

Good for Snow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650267)

I like Brian Snow because he'll pretty much assure that everyone involved will think they are invulnerable, when in fact the complete opposite is true. This ISP will be as transparent as the wind screen in your car.

persistence of protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650279)

I recently had an idea for a nifty web service, but privacy would be a huge issue. I could do like these people and take a stand on it, but the question that arises then is: how do I convince the customers that the protections will remain in effect if I sell the site someday?

Most potential users probably wouldn't think of that, but if you're approaching it out of principle *you* should think about it.

Is there any legal way to enforce continuation of policies on buyers? Something like the "covenant running with the land" for home sales?

Re:persistence of protection (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#39650367)

You could have an agreement with who you sold it to, but they would be under no obligation to have a similar agreement with whomever they in turn sold it to. I am not a lawyer, but I highly doubt there is any way to enforce something like that on down the line of future sales.

A clause in a sales contract that said all future sales had to include the following terms ... would be unlikely to be enforceable. So sure, you could put it in, but then what? If it isn't enforcible and auditable leave it out and make the agreement simpler. That rule goes for just about everything.

IANAL (1)

OliWarner (1529079) | about 2 years ago | (#39650593)

You need legal advice. Talk to a lawyer.

But to try and stop this you could hamper your terms and conditions so that it has certain immutable clauses. Most services' T&Cs have a ambiguous little clause in them that essentially allows the owner to change any clause in the document without notification or permission. If you excluded certain clauses from this the people who bought the service from you would still have to follow those terms for them to be binding. That is to say they'd either not change them or if they did, they'd have to get people to re-agree to the new terms (allowing them to jump ship).

When you're selling the service, you're as much selling the userbase as the service itself. A user in sale terms is essentially this agreement with the user so that's why the terms matter so much. Much, much more than a promise between you and the buyer, pointedly because your users can see it! If they care, they'll be thankful for you taking this step.

Oh and you'll want to take into account how prospective buyers are going to view this hand-tying. It may lower the saleability of your product.

Re:persistence of protection (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 2 years ago | (#39651745)

Simple. Tell them that you CAN'T guarantee that the service will stay the same if you sell the site. Because you CAN'T.

So, if you choose to sell the site, tell them you've sold it and that though their data was not stored and therefore not transferred to the new owner, you have no control over what the new owner does.

You'll lower the sale price by doing this, but if a high sale price is your goal then you wouldn't be doing this in the first place. You'd spend your time designing some stupid iPhone apps instead.

NSA Director? (4, Insightful)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 2 years ago | (#39650283)

Former or not, still sounds like a 5th column in the making.

Re:NSA Director? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#39650647)

Former or not, still sounds like a 5th column in the making.

Yeah, I have a hard time believing the former director of the NSA is going to be willing to help create an ISP which would allow you to not be spied on by the NSA.

And, as people have pointed out, there's simply no way you could build this to circumvent the Patriot Act and other things without being illegal under those very things.

Governments want more access, not less.

And that is as far as it will ever get (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#39650315)

Will people pay for supposed "privacy"? Sure, a few would but absolutely not everyone. Or even a majority of people.

The fact that the local police or FBI can subpoena records held by your ISP to find out what you have been doing online and that Google will disclose that you have been researching poisons if your spouse suddenly dies of some rare and obscure poison is irrelevent to most people. Most people more or less figure that if you have been researching poisons and your spouse dies from one that you probably did it and deserve what is coming.

The fact that it is possible - maybe a 0.001% chance - that an innocent person might be caught up in something like this is remote enough to most people to completely discount it happening. Not. Important. For. Them.

If you are downloading movies, music, software, ebooks and whatever else you can grab off BitTorrent today and after a huge legal effort you get caught, well, most people's attitude is (a) I wish I knew how to do that... and (b) sucks to be you. Again, the offender is 99% of the time the person getting nailed and while there is a possiblity of the wrong person getting stuck with the bill we have seen through history that it is rare enough that most people discount it ever possibly happening to them. So it isn't important.

So this can be planned and might attract a few geeky investors. But it is extremely unlikely to survive even one year and probably won't ever be launched. The reality is that almost nobody cares will sink in and doom the project.

Nice idea. Too bad nobody cares. I do not see it affecting mainstream cable companies in the slightest little bit.

Re:And that is as far as it will ever get (1)

demonbug (309515) | about 2 years ago | (#39650645)

The fact that the local police or FBI can subpoena records held by your ISP to find out what you have been doing online and that Google will disclose that you have been researching poisons if your spouse suddenly dies of some rare and obscure poison is irrelevent to most people. Most people more or less figure that if you have been researching poisons and your spouse dies from one that you probably did it and deserve what is coming.

That, or most people will realize the fact that it is circumstantial evidence and it won't get you convicted unless there is abundant additional evidence that ties you to the crime (or you base your defense on ignorance of poisons and your search history proves you are lying).

But I agree with the larger point, that people mostly don't care if the authorities can get access to their search histories and that it is unlikely this company would find more than a niche market.

Re:And that is as far as it will ever get (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650875)

0.001%

99%

Why are you making up percentages on the spot, here? Or were you trying to say, "This is how the average person thinks."?

Re:And that is as far as it will ever get (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#39650883)

I would pay double for my ISP if I got everything encrypted, no server logs, and a great big "fuck you, you warrantless fuck" attitude.

And I live in Canada, where our ISP rates are, "you got a purty wallet..."*
.

.

.

.
*Does not include $5.95 government assraping fee which is not a government fee.**

**This is an actual disclaimer on Roger's agreements.

I think you miss the point of privacy. (2)

dpqb (2608183) | about 2 years ago | (#39651239)

It's something to be preserved for it's own sake. It a way, it enables freedom and preserves the sanctity of the individual.

"Most people more or less figure that if you have been researching poisons and your spouse dies from one that you probably did it and deserve what is coming"

What you're saying that it's ok to have no privacy because someone who is researching *blank* and *blank* happened. probably did *blank* ... it isn't even an argument.

Re:And that is as far as it will ever get (1)

jdogalt (961241) | about 2 years ago | (#39651323)

"The fact that it is possible - maybe a 0.001% chance - that an innocent person might be caught up in something like this is remote enough to most people to completely discount it happening. Not. Important. For. Them."

This is the thing. It'll happen. It took royalty getting caught up in the Murdoch phone hacking thing, but now that cat is starting to come out of the bag. I think it's safe to say that the U.K. has a more evolved, through experience, and more enlightened view of the dangers of digital network communications security these days than they did in the ugly post-9/11 big brother (cities blanketed with 24/7 video surveillance, etc...) phase. Before the Murdoch thing, the govt could hammer away the company line (that you quote above, i.e. the threats will never hit those you know or care about, any more than lightning and car crashes do). But now after seeing the top eschelon of the paragons of terrorist-fighting elite professional police, succumb to simple bribery for tabloid exploitation purposes to further enrich the owner of FOX news??

Things evolve, technology, perceptions. People learn. They aren't as stupid, both now and in the future, as the above sentiment suggests you believe.

Re:And that is as far as it will ever get (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#39651345)

Will people pay for supposed "privacy"? Sure, a few would but absolutely not everyone.

Some businesses may be willing to pay for this kind of privacy.

After all, if the system is better at protecting the privacy of a customer from the US government, it may also be better at protecting such information from hackers, disgruntled employees, and/or corporate espionage.

Now, I'm not saying this kind of service will have many customers, but I could certainly envision a number of businesses be willing to pay a very high premium for this kind of added security layer (assuming this new ISP does a good job of it of course, which still remains to be seen).

Trust us! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650323)

If you're the government wanting to spy on all the tin foil hat crazies, wouldn't the best way be to run the privacy/security/encryption/anonymizer yourself. How do you know this ISP is trustworthy?

Re:Trust us! (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#39650383)

Given the rate at which prosecutions are happening, it would become obvious pretty immediately if this ISP were not doing what it promised.

Attaboy!! (1)

DontForgetYourPants (2497406) | about 2 years ago | (#39650325)

Nothing particular poignant/pertinent to add... however I just want to stand up, clap and be joined in a resounding "ATTABOY"!! This sounds absolutely fantastic!

massive flood of bogus DMCA takedowns in 3.. 2... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#39650341)

Seriously, while I love the idea, and really do wish them well, they are effectively just stinging a squad of ogres armed with flamethrowers.

The RSA, CIA, FBI, and DHS all have strongly vested interests in destroying private correspondence for anyone but themselves.

The MPAA, RIAA, and associated gaggle of goons act like they used a hornet's nest suppository at the mere mention that they are anything but "helpless victims" of intellectual property theft, and that the bad, bad, ISPs just wont beweeve dem! (While simultaneously arming a thermonuclear court case)

I don't see this startup ending well, for all the good it would bring to the world if they were.

I see them either being legally raped and blackballed by every major nation and media group, or becoming the victim of something akin to regulatory capture via last minute legislation if they somehow survive.

privacy is not for the last mile to provide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650359)

If you want complete privacy, you need a Twitter-like service where everyone must subscribe and regularly download the WHOLE feed and everyone must one post some number of encrypted communications to the feed each day. Then nothing can be inferred from routing.

A chain is only as strong as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650369)

Sorry, but even if this somehow gets past all the TLA organizations, you're going to have to visit a website eventually. And they aren't going to encrypt their logs or refuse subpoenas for your information. So unless you're going to start some sort of Internet2 clique on this guy's wires, I don't see how this is going to accomplish anything.

Re:A chain is only as strong as... (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#39650741)

Right, because I'm sure subversiveantigovernmenttypes.com is going to just hand over their records to the FBI and CIA.

hello idiots (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650411)

Stop being so USA centric- there is a whole world to put your server- and not just in a dictatorship like america.

It will not work unfortunately for these reasons:

1. he is an american, everywhere you go now the US can get you
2. it is located in America
3. The us government owns the root name servers, hence the internet.

Not sure HOW he'll pull this off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650427)

...how can he rebuff perfectly legal - even if you don't AGREE with them, but legal nonetheless - subpoenas?

I don't see how this business will work. Even if you charge a premium - let's say $2000/mo, which would be pocket change for the drug dealers and criminals who would be the target market for this service - eventually the government will be able to stop you at some point. Even if you run the entire thing in a data center and pay for your own cross-connects to the major tier-1 backbone ISPs, they would all eventually pull the plug on you under court order. Doesn't matter whether you peer or pay for Internet transit, eventually they'll just stop routing your packets.

To scale this even to regional size - say New England or the Atlantic coast or the Southwest or whatever - and provide "premium" broadband (assume DSL) will be cost-prohibitive and again put you under the thumb of the telcos who can decide to pull the plug at any time. I could see a potential for this working as a kind of rogue wireless broadband network, run from the data center. But even with as little dependence on a third-party as possible; e.g., your OWN building for the data center, with your OWN wireless infrastructure with your OWN towers with your own fiber run to data centers where you can cross-connect and stand less risk of some ISP or telco simply turning off an OC12 you run into your little bitty data center - this is hugely risky, hugely litigious, and hugely susceptible to all sorts of government intervention.

With all the government regulations and tarriffs associated with the telecom industry it seems like this guy is jumping out of the frying pan and right into the fire.

Honey Pot (2)

walkerp1 (523460) | about 2 years ago | (#39650497)

This sounds like the makings of a target-rich nailing list for the Feds. Sure, let them build it. We want to see who comes! Now we can concentrate our not inconsiderable assets on cracking this who's who list of the criminal underworld. Why, it's almost as if they had something to hide...

Re:Honey Pot (2)

isaac (2852) | about 2 years ago | (#39651165)

The only way this makes sense is as a honeypot, intentional or not.

First, government surveillance of the internet is a solved problem - it's already comprehensive and embedded in the infrastructure of every major carrier and exchange. What good is a theoretically surveillance-free ISP if you can only talk to other customers of the same ISP? The ISP would not be surveillance-free much longer if it ever build any kind of user base.

Second, essentially everyone on the internet leaves - even if they take pains to avoid doing so - a rich data trail with private companies. Facebook, Google, Omniture, CDNs, etc. etc. Data aggregated by these entities render wiretapping at your ISP unnecessary in a lot of cases, and as a bonus may be used against you by private entities for non-criminal matters.

(It's also reasonable to assume that small, mostly-disconnected graphs - i.e. users that successfully manage to communicate only with each other - are inherently of interest from an intelligence or law enforcement perspective. Think of a set of pre-paid phones that only ever call other pre-paid phones, or IPs that only ever communicate peer-to-peer or only visit a single third-party site. Who would ever use the network that way?)

I mean, it's a neat idea and all, but the horse is already out of the barn as far as gov't surveillance goes, and does nothing to address the private data aggregators that are the more real threat to people's lives and livelihoods.

-Isaac

Re:Honey Pot (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#39651381)

my bet is that they would just end up with a bunch of cat pictures from regular people sick of government snooping.

Stored encrypted email...how exactly? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650525)

FTFA:
"The next products on the roadmap include hosted email and cloud storage/sync systems that utilize public key cryptography so that only the user possesses the key required to decrypt their email or files."

This means that the ISP will need a public key from you and encrypt every email they receive and unless you want spam, that encryption has to happen after it is filtered through spam filters, etc. Next, supposing that your email is stored encrypted, how is an IMAP or POP server going to work? How do they index the file and send you headers, etc? Or is it just the body that will be stored encrypted on their server(s)? At the very least there is a requirement here for custom software at both the email server/client and raising $1,000,000 doesn't buy a whole lot of programmer time once you take out management and all of the other overheads.

There are technical details and questions about the broad plans thus far proposed which make me question whether they've had someone truely proficient in these matters analyse and critique the business and technical plan.

Re:Stored encrypted email...how exactly? (1)

nullchar (446050) | about 2 years ago | (#39651063)

Who cares about encrypted email when it all passes through (gets copied to) Utah [wired.com] as most MTAs don't use TLS by default. So your mail goes in or out in plaintext. Assuming both clients are end-to-end encrypted, emailing another user of the same ISP should be secure.

It's a good point about breaking IMAPS or other protocols that expect the contents to be unencrypted (at least in memory / ramdisk) on the server. They could provide a webmail client where local javascript performs the decryption with your private key. (Sorting and searching would still be a bitch unless like you suggested, they keep headers unencrypted.)

Won't work (2)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 2 years ago | (#39650531)

The service will probably be ridiculously expensive to cover staff and equipment costs, not to mention the federal, state, and local governments are going to give him a rough time at any chance possible.....but I wish him luck regardless. I just hope this doesn't result in more draconian measures taken by Congress if it does happen to be a success.

Spam (2)

erice (13380) | about 2 years ago | (#39650569)

So are they going to keep enough logging to track down spammers and other abusers on their network?

sign me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650607)

up, baby! i can now create my hate-speech, racist, white-power Internet system!

This may be a bad thing (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39650797)

We may wind up getting laws against encryption and obfuscation techniques (TOR, ETC) because of this, congress is nothing if not petulant.
Congress: "Oh that's how you want to play it?" *blam* new laws.

Re:This may be a bad thing (1)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39651057)

Maybe then people will wake up to how absurd the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" attitude is when they learn just how important encryption can be.

Oh, who am I kidding?

When the laws change (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#39650879)

He will be obligated to comply with all the frivolous data requests, or he goes to prison.

Presumably even now, if a judge demands it, his choices are either comply or get jailed. The court takes a dim view on refusal of warrants.

Re:When the laws change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650995)

He can't give them information if he doesn't keep logs/constantly erases the logs.

Private sector as it should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650947)

It may take years or decades but the private sector can fix itself in time. If this is needed and there's an audience such as the fortune 500-companies then by all means, go for it. Just don't try to push the feds to pass laws or illegally tap into people's privacy to please their "heavy investors". This is further proof that without government intervention, we can take care of ourselves.

Why do you need an ISP to do this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650999)

First, the claim that they will be protected from govt. subpoena is an advertising thing. Don't believe it! If the govt. comes in with a warrant or subpoena, and they'll roll over like a good dog, or get raided and shut down. It's as simple as that. Unless they put their servers somewhere beyond the physical and legal reach of the govt. (good luck with that!) and manage to make it feasible for customers to access it, and do both these feats at the same time, their claim to protecting you is a joke, or a lie.

Also, furthermore, why would anyone need an ISP to do this? If you're trying to protect your privacy, just use DuckDuckGo (SSL) instead of Google, and that's a good start right there. THEN, if you're really paranoid, use HTTPS Everywhere, (make sure when you surf the net that you're always looking at an encrypted site,) and use TOR.

I don't worry about eavesdropping by govt. or others on my electronic communications because I fully expect it. If I ever had something I wanted to say to someone and didn't want ANYONE else to overhear, I simply wouldn't use electronic communications.

If I were REALLY paranoid, I would get to some place where no one else can see what's going on, inside a Faraday cage, with the person I want to communicate with, in a sound-proofed booth, completely naked to ensure neither of us is bugged, etc., and communicate by drawing the messages in a box of sand. No words. No trace of the messages left behind after. Actually, that might still not be enough, since your govt. might have the ability to see through walls, etc.

(Of course, I am at least a little paranoid, which is why I stopped using my slashdot account, (I do have one) but would rather post anonymously instead, even though I know it means most likely no one will read it, since it will be score 0 at best, and most people are surfing at like +2 or +3. Oh well.)

To ensure messages are absolutely private, a method of tactile communication would have to be developed, a form of sign-language, but one in which the people would communicate purely by touch, with their hands wrapped in something that has the same thermal signature as the hands inside...

I guess we've passed into the realm of the über-paranoid... sorry. I do that sometimes.

Re:Why do you need an ISP to do this? (3, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39651985)

If I were REALLY paranoid, I would get to some place where no one else can see what's going on, inside a Faraday cage, with the person I want to communicate with, in a sound-proofed booth

Ooh, sounds good! Then maybe if the feds come after you, you can detonate pre-installed C4 and blow up the factory that was your hideout because Will Smith made a phone call. Then Will Smith says "AW HELL NAW" and shoots a dude with a shotgun, and you drive away over some train tracks.

Useless (1)

arobatino (46791) | about 2 years ago | (#39651009)

Nothing to stop the government from coercing them into violating their own promises and then giving them immunity for it.

How do you deal with... (1)

phorwich (909601) | about 2 years ago | (#39651039)

A) The first web site that decides to block traffic from this site. I can almost see the msg, "You have tried to access this content from an anonymous internet address." Please resubmit your request from a trackable source." Or something. B) The fact that, being the first of its kind, this ISP is a pretty juicy target for those who oppose such activity. I suspect the only way to deal with A & B is that multiple such ISP would have to both form and sign-up subscribers en mass. Without such, both A & B seem like barriers to success.

Here the reason why: preemptive strike (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651403)

Considering the people who are involved - this ISP's intention is to create environment where they can create new laws before other ISPs start doing that as alternative to Comcast/ATT/VZ/etc who agreed to spy on customers to the benefit or RIAA.

ISP that uses NAT? (3, Insightful)

crow (16139) | about 2 years ago | (#39651507)

If the ISP uses NAT instead of real IP addresses for each customer, that would cover the vast majority of issues that currently impact customers. If IP addresses are shared, they can't trace back an IP address to a single account holder.

Short of that, you could set up a localized TOR network that only consists of local users on the same broadband connection, so that it has nearly the speed of a native connection while providing a good deal of privacy. If you had a broadband provider that included that by default in a provided router, that would be great.

Already exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651629)

There are numerous "anonymous" VPN services in existence today, which provide anonymity by scrubbing logs. I'm not sure what this ISP will provide that is substantially better than that.

CAN YOU SAY HONEYPOT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39651689)

Yes, come one, come all who hope to hide their activities, we won't divulge we are really an FBI Honeypot

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