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"Dark Alleys" on the Internet

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the places-people-hide dept.

The Internet 704

nokilli writes "Sounding the alarmist tone many of us became used to in the early days of the web, The New York Times has a story that talks about "national security" concerns over the myriad ways in which two people (i.e., terrorists) can communicate using the Internet today [NYT=Kneel before Zod]. They're talking about monitoring chat rooms, email servers, etc. I'd like to see how they plan on monitoring my mage as it talks to your cleric in some obscure, nearly impossible to reach (unless you're level 50) corner of our favorite MUD."

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first slashdot cliche (-1, Offtopic)

Sunkist (468741) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146982)

again

pork (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11146984)

first pork?

Re:pork (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147242)

NO BEEF FOR YOU.

Uhm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11146990)

Just force the game provider to hand over all logs ? :)

Re:Uhm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147223)

Game?

impossible (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11146991)

they can monitor everything they want, but it will be in vein. There are so many avenues for communcation they can't monitor everything..

Re:impossible (2, Insightful)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147014)

We used to say the same thing about electronic dossiers--that storage was so expensive there was no way to keep all that transactional data forever. Now they can.

Re:impossible (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147157)

You are comparing electronic storage, which everyone knows will increase to one of manpower. The only way for it to be feasible is for one half the population to monitor the other, but then again, who is going to watch the watchers?

Re:impossible (2, Funny)

databyss (586137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147202)

OMG You're RIGHT!

This is some sort of government pyramid scheme!

The top will be monitored by 1 guy, then x under him then x^2 under them, then x^3... and SO ON!

I don't wanna be in the x^n group!!!

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Re:impossible (2, Insightful)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147226)

The only way for it to be feasible is for one half the population to monitor the other

good thing computers can't search text or audio (or video with facial recognition), otherwise the minority would be able to watch the majority

who is going to watch the watchers?
The Watcher in the Woods [imdb.com]

Re:impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147022)

In-vein monitoring sounds pretty impressive. How exactly do you plan to avoid bugs injected directly into your bloodstream?

Re:impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147043)

but it will be in vein.

Intravenous monitoring?! Our future does sound bleak indeed.

Re:impossible (4, Insightful)

Norgus (770127) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147047)

Its a stupid waste of resources, trying to monitor the entire internet(s?).
Terrorists and such will continue to communicate efficiently and every other net user will have no privacy, and have to put up with and inherant network strain placed by this spying crap.

Re:impossible (2, Insightful)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147092)

Network strain?

As if this would ever compare to the "strain" caused by spam and P2P apps.

Re:impossible (3, Informative)

justkarl (775856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147061)

they can monitor everything they want, but it will be in vein. There are so many avenues for communcation they can't monitor everything..

Remember, kids:
Vein: Blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
Vain: without sucess or excessively proud.

Re:impossible (1)

DevolvingSpud (774770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147205)

> Remember, kids:
> Vein: Blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.


No, you don't get it - they will be planting listening devices in our blood vessels using alien teleportation technology. That way THEY can monitor everything you do!

The only remedy is to use a dialysis machine to cleanse the impurities from your blood and then wear a tinfoil body suit to block the teleporters. Remember, put the shiny side OUT or it won't work.

Re:impossible (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147084)

"they can monitor everything they want, but it will be in vain. There are so many avenues for communcation they can't monitor everything.."

And when they realise this, the nations with enough PATRIOT-esque laws will simply shut off internet access in the name of national security. (They care for their citizens' best intrests of course!)

I can't remember now, which communist (?) nation was it that shut down all the country's coffee shops because they realised that they couldn't put a spy at every table?

Re:impossible (4, Insightful)

hrieke (126185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147118)

Needle in the haystack issue. Too much communication happens online- certainly they can have boxes report back a copy of all of the traffic from some ISP, or even all of the traffic out of / into an ISP, but to give analysis of that data is not something I'd like to be tasked with.
And the real usefullness would be after the fact, and only when someone has told all that they know (and the goverment has all of the data recorded too).

Thinking back to the cold war, the most successful communciations that the Russians spies would do where out in the open- usually simple things like colored thumbtacks on public bulletin boards, which unless you knew what to look for and then what it ment, it was very easy to miss.

Noise and Signal (2, Informative)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147235)

The more extraneous crap they monitor, the higher the noise to signal ratio. Kerry mentioned in the debates that there were hundreds of thousands of hours of unexamined surveillance tape. Of course there is! The best thing you can hope for with the growing mountain of surveillance output is that after the next attack, the cops will be able to look at the tapes and say, "Oh, yeah, there go the terrorists..."

The intelligence community needs men on the ground, deep cover agents in the places where the terrorists are recruiting. By the time they are sending encoded messages to each other in secret areas of the net, it's already too late. Getting rid of Ashcroft helps too. They just don't come any more incompetent than that.

Re:impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147241)

they can monitor everything they want, but it will be in vein

Yes. Thanks to advances in medical nanotechnology, they can indeed monitor everything they want in vein. Isn't medicine wonderful?

Server Access? (3, Informative)

piett134 (713199) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146999)

They may not need server access to monitor your chat session in your MUD. Simply monitoring your incomming / outgoing data should be sufficient.
Remember, even encryption can be broken :)

Re:Server Access? (1)

Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147098)

I would like to see the NSA break 448-Bit Blowfish encryption that I use for securing 'special' files on my computer.

Before anyone says it, no they are not pron...

Re:Server Access? (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147200)

They can brute force it if they really wanted to. They have the computing power to do it. By revealing that you even have such you immediately leave them suspect to your intentions, sad as that is.

I suspect that Stenography is the real direction that this is going to take. They could 'monitor' the cleric/mage chat in the MUD, but if the chat looks like a standard character exchange, with the data of the underlying chat being the location of some punctuation, or some specific word choice, or some way one side gets angry in the game or transacts items with the other, then that would be almost undetectable.

Another example, one that I've seen: stupid person, we'll call him "Bob", smokes a controlled substance. He, for some reason, decides to use code words for his habit with his friends, so he calls asking if he "can come over for some salad." He gets busted eventually because it is so utterly ridiculous. It stands out. Another guy, "James", just calls his friends and asks if he can come over. No discussion about why. If the friends and him have a routine of what they do when he comes over, they simply have to say, "yeah, c'mon over and hang" or "no, we're busy" and there's no communication that would trip something since it sounds like a perfectly normal conversation that anyone would have.

simple solution (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147207)

speak in 'leet

that is sufficiently bizarre that the code breakers will try to decrypt it just on the off chance that something else might be hidden in the supposed text. (During wwII composer alban berg's music was inspected for encoded messages, until they realised it really was just music)

never mind if it's salted with random characters or typos.

now if everything was encrypted......

Re:Server Access? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147238)

12 248 119 34 65 98 543 123 56 901 276 2368 14 6 98 34 58 234 905 13 768 7845 562 576 899 34 Break that. Single use pads or the numbers you can hear being read on shortwave all the time are coded so they can not be broken short of stealing a copy of the pad.

sniff (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147001)

I'd like to see how they plan on monitoring my mage as it talks to your cleric in some obscure, nearly impossible to reach (unless you're level 50) corner of our favorite MUD."

It's called sniffing.
Either on the wire, or if the MUD software encrypts traffic, on your end (via trojan) or the server end (via court-order).

Re:sniff (-1, Offtopic)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147123)

If I had any mod points - I would mod this up.

Internet caffe ? (4, Interesting)

aepervius (535155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147211)

Even simpler, go to a random internet caffe every day, use a random chat cleint on a random server using passphrase convenied in advance. Why make it complicated when you only need good legs or a good trnasportation system in a good metropole to avoid wiretapping ?

I've always liked to have dirty sex in dark alleys (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147003)

mmmmmmmm....

My personal opinion (4, Insightful)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147004)

Anyone writing on technological matters in a popular publication should be required to have a modicum of a clue.

Call me old fashioned.

Re:My personal opinion (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147179)

> Anyone writing on technological matters in a popular publication should be required to have a modicum of a clue.

Why? It doesn't seem to apply to 'other' matters.

Easy way to eavesdrop on your MUD.... (-1, Redundant)

chrisopherpace (756918) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147005)

Just use a packet sniffer. Who says that Uncle Sam already isn't doing this, to a lesser degree?

Data is not the same as intelligence. (4, Insightful)

Jaywalk (94910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147008)

And what gives them the bright idea that they can eliminate "dark alleys" on the net any more than dark alleys can be eliminated in real space? And even if every dark alley were well lit, that doesn't mean that they're being effectively watched. The sheer volume of information being exchanged precludes effective review of that data.

It would make a lot more sense to focus on effectively handling the data available than simply adding to the flood of data already at hand.

Re:Data is not the same as intelligence. (4, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147166)

And what gives them the bright idea that they can eliminate "dark alleys" on the net any more than dark alleys can be eliminated in real space?


This is going to sound like a paranoid rant. I guess it is. But then, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

What gives you the idea that "they" really believe the bullshit that they shovel? "They" always want a little more authority, so they can protect you from terrorists, or save your kids from drug pushers, or fight "the war on poverty."

Is it possible, just possible, that all of these things are nothing more than thinly veiled power-grabs?

Pierce the veil.

-Peter

Encryption makes monitoring worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147013)

If they encrypt tcp/ip, email & disks, monitoring is worthless.

Just more waste of government money.

I can still remember the times (5, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147017)

when communication was considered a good thing.

Re:I can still remember the times (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147206)

Really? You know communication is quite similar to communism, it's just the ending which was exchanged. So how can something which is that similar to communism be good?

Finally! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147018)

Someone on Slashdot used the word myriad in the correct manner! Mark this day in Slashdot history!

Already tapped.... (4, Funny)

ayjay29 (144994) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147019)

>>I'd like to see how they plan on monitoring my mage as it talks to your cleric in some obscure, nearly impossible to reach (unless you're level 50) corner of our favorite MUD.

The clerics in obscure level 50 corners of all MUD games are FBI agents. Did you not know that??

Re:Already tapped.... (1)

ralf1 (718128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147094)

My next movie project "I Was A Cleric For The FBI"

Next to that on the shelf will be... (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147112)

..."I was a Munchkin for the Mob."

Re:Already tapped.... (5, Funny)

dasunt (249686) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147119)

The Internet: Where men are men, women are men, and little girls are FBI agents.

Re:Already tapped.... (1)

andreMA (643885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147154)

The clerics in obscure level 50 corners of all MUD games are FBI agents. Did you not know that??
I thought they were all 13 year old girls?

Oh, wait...

SLAP * back to reality (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147020)

I'd like to see how they plan on monitoring my mage as it talks to your cleric in some obscure, nearly impossible to reach (unless you're level 50) corner of our favorite MUD."

They put a packet sniffer on the ethernet cable? Because your mage, my cleric, and the impossible to reach corner of the dungeon are not actually in a mythical world of make-believe, but just linked structs in heap memory? You retarded?

Re:SLAP * back to reality (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147148)

You retarded?

This being Slashdot, you can probably treat that as a rhetorical question.

Re:SLAP * back to reality (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147185)

You retarded?
No, me Tarzan

Re:SLAP * back to reality (0, Offtopic)

magarity (164372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147190)

You retarded?

Argh! Enough, you retards! After chuckling at length at the original comment about the level 50 corner of the MUD it was completely ruined by the dozen postings by you literalist, humorless, socially retarded jerks and the 'by a sniffer' comments. Get over yourselves and your technical prowess!

Well duh... (1, Insightful)

JossiRossi (840900) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147025)

If you don't have anything to hide than what do you have to fear?

Oh yeah, I suppose since in a few years it will be rights infringment to use a copyrighted name in a negative sentence that there is plenty to fear. Call me Rossi The Prophet if someone ever attempts to pass such a law =)

But maybe they would use monitoring for something less evil? How about unknown public opinion polls? "57% of AIM users said they were displeased with last nights bombing of Iraq, a poll of all AIM conversations has found. More on this at 11."

Re:Well duh... (-1, Troll)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147090)

LOL OMG AHAHAHAHA!!!!!1111 IRAQ JUST THERE ASSEZ NUEKD ROFL!!!!11111 I HOEP DAT TEY GET IRAN NETX LOL OMG

Re:Well duh... (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147173)

Forget journalistic ethics - in 2014, we'll be lucky to get legible sentences.

Re:Well duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147227)

> If you don't have anything to hide than what do you have to fear?

Good, enjoy that cavity probe, then. Nothing to fear, citizen.

> Call me Rossi The Prophet

'cept you would be at least 30 years to late.....

Futile (4, Insightful)

teiresias (101481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147028)

To try and tap every conversation throughout the many internet communications outlets is as futile as trying to tap the hundreds of phone lines and overhearing conversations on streets (nevermind needing court orders). Big Brother is big but the populace is bigger. There is no way to create a large enough agency to not only collect but also analyze the data that would be collected.

It's a concern but not a very legitamate one.

You don't understand (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147130)

There isn't a person listening in on every conversation, but every cell phone/land line conversation is recorded.

Storage is cheap, and it is quite easy to automatically analyze a conversation for key phrases/words. A human analyst could then take the time to listen in on interesting recordings.

Re:Futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147155)

There is no way to create a large enough agency to not only collect but also analyze the data that would be collected

what about google?

When encryption is criminalized... (-1, Redundant)

Aphelion (13231) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147031)

...only criminals will have encryption.

Obviously the answer is simple... (5, Interesting)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147033)

...we need to get rid of the entirety of the Internet. It's the only way to save the world from the dark forces of terrorists that want to meet in 'dark alleys' and plot the destruction of the modern world.

After that, we should destroy cell phones, especially the ones that have 'no contract' that can be picked up at a local drugstore, used for a week and then be tossed away.

Our Modern world has just made it to easy for those 'evil ones' to communicate about destroying us. We should foil all their plots by going back to pre-80's technology levels. That will show them!

Re:Obviously the answer is simple... (4, Funny)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147066)

We should foil all their plots by going back to pre-80's technology levels.

Aye, pre-1880 levels. Let them try hijacking horse-pulled buggies and drive them into buildings!

Don't forget the dark alleys... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147176)

If the whole problem is terrorists meeting in metaphorical dark alleys on the internet, what about them meeting in actual dark alleys in real life?

We must eliminate all alleys, entryways, nooks, corridors, subways, booths, cul de sacs, and anywhere else two terrorists might converse without being observed! In fact, we should eliminate all private residences -- nay, all buildings! -- lest terrorists hide in or behind them and discuss their nefarious plans. And forests! Where better to have a conspiratorial chat than deep in the traitorous woods, obscured from the eye of Justice by terrorist-loving trees?

Burn the cities and forests! It's the only way to stop the terrorists! Because nothing is more important than stopping terrorists.

Right?

Definitions (5, Insightful)

Richie1984 (841487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147040)

What worries me is not government monitoring of the internet. We already know that this goes on to some extent and if we really want to communicate privately, using an unencrpyted email or an IRC chat room isnt the way to go about it. The majority of us are knowledgable enough to communicate with some degree of security.

My main concern is their definition of a 'terrorist'. I have no problems with law enforcement agencies going after real, or suspected terrorists, but I do disagree with the slow creep of the word to include people who have different opinions then the government.

Then again, I'm more paranoid than most. Probably nothing to worry about. Probably...

Realities. . . (1, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147217)

My main concern is their definition of a 'terrorist'. I have no problems with law enforcement agencies going after real, or suspected terrorists, but I do disagree with the slow creep of the word to include people who have different opinions then the government.

S'already working, since there are no terrorists other than those the government deliberately allowed to act. The 'terrorism' bugaboo is just a way to trick people into being heavily controlled. But you know that already.

You're not paranoid. It's simply that you're not stupid.

The question is, do you know why reality is shifting in that direction?


-FL

Perhaps.. (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147044)

> I'd like to see how they plan on monitoring
> my mage as it talks to your cleric ..by adding a chip to your keyboard?

Re:Perhaps.. (1)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147214)

bah... why chip the keyboard, when you can hack teh keyboard driver?

Re:Perhaps.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147245)

by adding a chip to your keyboard?

So just ask your mom if she saw any guys in dark suits going down into the basement lately...

Not dark alleys (1)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147048)

Sigh, I wish people wouldn't make this analogy. I really wish more people would get involved with other parts of the internet like IRC, Usenet, etc. and see that there is a lot more than a web browser and an email client. And I'm not just talking about your grandma who uses AOL. There are many new techies that are unaware that such things exist, I talk to more and more of them all the time. Its a shame.

Re:Not dark alleys (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147147)

Yeah, I work for a software company, and while they've mostly heard of Yahoo Messenger or whatever, I haven't met anybody else who has heard of IRC, let alone used it.

Echelon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147051)

Adding more sources to the Echelon type systems isnt that hard. It is just usual sigint, tapping and eaves dropping etc. The rest is just using great applications to harvest out the interesting parts.

Yes, I believe it wouldnt even be hard to monitor your mud session :_)

Terrorists use MUDs? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147057)

Somehow I don't think terrorists play MUDs.

More seriously though, this problem is insoluble. Not that that will stop them from trying and sacrificing a lot of liberty meanwhile. If you're smart enough to rig a car bomb, you're smart enough to use encryption while planning it. Illicit communication can always be disguised as arbitrary binary data.

Trillian! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147058)

Me and my tinfoil hat fear this is already being done.

Therefore I use Trillian with SecureIM enabled as often as possible.

Sniff this SSH packet -- see if I care.

Reg Free Link ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147062)

Re:Reg Free Link ... (0)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147168)

Sorry, you failed.

Apparently never looked into MUD code (2, Informative)

dead sun (104217) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147071)

Most of the MUD codebases I have looked into have all had this nifty feature to log what players do, should the admins start suspecting foul play. It'll keep track of where the players go, what they say, emote, do, pretty much everything. Simply talking to an admin and letting them know that you're with some national TLA and would like cooperation in logging a characters conversation would probably be enough to get the job done.

Or, consider most MUDs are transmitted in plaintext, and a simple sniff on your connection would be more than sufficient.

No, the real tricks should be information hiding, all messages stongly encrypted, sensitive or otherwise, and simple knowledge of where not to communicate. Wonder if crypto hidden in the least significant bits of a scan of a point and shoot 35mm picture of some random "family" photo would ever go noticed. I hope you don't think your chatting in the open in an "obscure" MUD location really helps you any.

Re:Apparently never looked into MUD code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147253)

I think the point of the MUD example is there are many obscure places on the internet where people can communicate, not just via email and irc. Being in a MUD doesn't make the conversation secure, it makes it hard to find. It seems obvious that the actual content of the conversation would be encrypted and/or encoded. Even if some TLA does get the log files, they would either be unable to decipher the messages or unable to do so in time to stop whatever plan is being worked out.

To many ways to comunicate. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147075)

Lets just say the use a game of StarCraft to send cominication back and forth. Heck even if they are sniffing the information it will be tough to realize the context that the message is in. Or just use good old US Mail to send them a CD with the software for a different method of cumication all togeter. Or heck you could just post it as a troll on slashdot, in wide public eye.

Re:To many ways to comunicate. (-1, Offtopic)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147204)

In Korea, only old people use Starcraft for covert communications! (The rest use it for zergling rushes.)

Re:To many ways to comunicate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147240)

I understand you completely.

This explains a lot... (1)

Diomedes Tydeus (826148) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147080)

"I'd like to see how they plan on monitoring my mage as it talks to your cleric in some obscure, nearly impossible to reach (unless you're level 50) corner of our favorite MUD."

Terrorists play MMORPGs? Man, no wonder those folks online are always so mean!
-Diomedes

Cave (1)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147087)

I'd like to see how they plan on monitoring my mage as it talks to your cleric in some obscure, nearly impossible to reach (unless you're level 50) corner of our favorite MUD

That trivial to do: you could monitor the packets passing along your connection to the MUD by going to your ISP. Or they could go to the administrator of the MUD and get access.

I'd be more worried about two people conversing in a language that the intelligence community doesn't have enough experts in, who are personally known to each other and who meet in person in a remote location. All this worrying about people using the Internet for communication isn't going to be worth anything if the "evil doers" just communicate in person.

If you remember FBI spy Robert Hansen you'll recall that he was copying information from the FBI and then communicating it to his handlers using... a dead letter drop.

John.

In related news... (2, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147096)

cops will be assigned to watch carefully all table knives because they eventually can be used to kill.

Bah (2, Funny)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147103)

Everyone knows the NSA has legions of bored fourteen year olds constantly monitoring all MMORPGS.

Thats why whenever you get a monster to yourself suddenly *BOOM* kill stealer.

They are one of them (1)

enoraM (749327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147105)

New York times is one of the terrorists: They have been ranting Proof: ( Register At NewyorkTimes ) about this for quite a long time - I even got the message about Mr. Blair used his visit, his first ... ...

Re:They are one of them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147231)

But say he is not really a terrorist after all. We cannot make false allegations like this without proof. You should watch what you say.

Reminds me of a quote I saw recently (5, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147111)

<Stormrider> I should bomb something

<Stormrider> ...and it's off the cuff remarks like that that are the reason I don't log chats
<Stormrider> Just in case the FBI ever needs anything on me
<Elzie_Ann> I'm sure they can just get it from someone who DOES log chats.
*** FBI has joined #gamecubecafe
<FBI> We saw it anyway.
*** FBI has quit IRC (Quit: )
bash.org is great.

Yeah, I can just picture the terrorists now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147114)

...sitting around at their Alienware boxes.

"Quick, level up to 50 so we can go on that elite dungeon raid and plan our next attack."

"Well, the uprising would have happened last week, but it took me longer to level my mage than I thought it would."

Seems improbable. ;-)

Besides, I'm sure their guild names would be a dead giveaway...

Pickup line (0)

MST3K (645613) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147125)

Hey baby, my mage wants to talk to your cleric. He's at level 50 and he's dying to have be part of a random encounter with you.

Not where you are in the MUD but the data's path (1)

Deviant (1501) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147126)

I am sure this will be mentioned by others but as long as you are still telneting to reach your MUD then all of the text you type runs unencrypted through the net between you and the MUD server with just about as much security as email or unencrypted IM. Even if you did encrypt the communication I am one of the tinfoil hat types that believes that the government has those Billions of dollars worth of supercomputer for such a reason and if they REALLY wanted to read that conversation that they could. You might as well get used to the fact that you should never send something electronically that you wouldn't want the government to read or that would incriminate you. That is the only way that you will ever be 100% safe.

Dark Alleys? Who needs em... (2, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147132)

...when you've got private garden paths? :) I use OpenVPN [sourceforge.net] to build my own private network between friends and family. It's getting easier to do, it's encrypted, and it's sweet as hell once you have it up and running. Just imagine having a virtual network cable between your house and your friends and families homes and you've got the idea. It works on *nix, Windows and Mac OS X. Give it a try.

Re:Dark Alleys? Who needs em... (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147221)

How difficult is this to install on a windows box? Can I talk a complete idiot in the US through it from Europe?

I call bullshit (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147135)

This is the type of fear mongering (government's wish, media's job) that keeps giving the state more and more power; to monitor more, have less legal accountability, sidestep the courts alltogether, and do pretty much whatever else they know they shouldn't get away with because "it's a different world now, and terrorists are everywhere".

I call bullshit. There aren't more terrorists than there were decades ago; the country is not more dangerous. The rights and freedoms in the west are the crowning achievement of civilization, and it makes me cringe to see how quickly these freedoms are taken away. Secret courts and shadow governments? They exist in the USA! It's no secret! You can be held for years without knowing the charges against you.

Dark Alleys of the Internet... come on. If I write my note on a piece of paper and deliver it to my friend, I challenge any spy agency in the world to (covertly) intercept that message.

Fear is a manipulation tactic.

Stegano (1)

Dracolytch (714699) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147137)

I've studied steganography for maybe a couple weeks, and have already built a ruidmentary system (Thinking about making something more advanced into an open-source project). If it's so easy to homebrew secret means of communicating secretly encrypted data, then how much use is it to monitor chat rooms?

Not that terrorists are usually that covert, honestly... But if they needed to be, they could. That is, of course, pretending a system like this wasn't an excuse to monitor a society which has grown less and less loving of its government.

~D

What about (5, Interesting)

afstanton (822402) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147152)

encrypted spam? There is frequently junk in spam that looks like noise, but encrypted data also can look like noise. If you send out a million spams and just make sure that a couple of them go to the people you want to get the message...well, there ya go.

Re:What about (4, Insightful)

Steve B (42864) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147186)

Precisely -- hiding a message in spam also has the advantage of defeating traffic analysis (there's no way to tell which of the millions of recipients knows that the exact percentage on the "mortgage offer", or whatever, is a code).

Let me count the ways... (1)

randomErr (172078) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147156)

How many different ways can I have a (nearly) real time conversation on the internet? Let me count the ways...

Jabber, IRC, e-mail, telnet BBS, OGG streaming, MSN, blogs comments, FTP text files, watermarked photo, web cams, GoToMeeting.com, MUDs, chess tourneys, internet faxing, slashdot, VOIP, SSH, SMS, P2P....

Did I forget any? Oh yeah, someone could make a custom protocal.

Omnivore (1)

IcarusMoth (631872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147160)

So somehow we now believe that omnivore/carnivore/eschelon cannot be somehow modified to snoop into chat rooms, MUDS, MMORPGs, Slashdot Comments, or anything else?
Come on people! If its electronic and not encrypted, then its wide open!.

but could you imagine all the false positives from snooping in games?
PC1: alright, so we attack at dawn!
PC2: Exactly, you guys blow up the market place and create general panic, while we go in and take over the base.
National Security Administration lackey: Umm, I think we have something here!

back to Dark Alleys IRL (1)

handmedowns (628517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147177)

so yeah, if I were a terrorist.. I'd just start meeting my counter-parts at some dumpy bar.

I'd like to see you log a conversation of two drunk Iraqi nationalists IRL. good luck..

Fear of Intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147182)

Zod will always use what is at hand. Few people know that kryptonite makes many common email protocols possible, yet it can be used for ill, particularly if Marlon Brando was your Dad on an ice planet.

Hammers don't kill people, mythical elements kill people. Please make a note of it.

encryption? (1)

kevinx (790831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147198)

who said anything about encryption? how about talking in code. Using the MUD reference here.. You could talk as if you are roleplaying.. but in actuality you are planning a terrorist attack. The Shire == LA, Town Fountain == specific building, town armorer == specific target .... who knows... but the possibilities are endless.

I don't think that our privacy should be sacrificed as the expense of fruitless investigations.

sounds more like... (1)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147228)

monitoring for the sake of monitoring...

what's the point of monitoring more if you don't have the system in place to make sense of the information you gathered?

there are indications that we had monitored and gathered enough intelligence to (at least) be concerned about 9/11 before that day. we weren't able to piece it together.

as long as increasing monitoring is simply about gathering more information but not about making sense of them, it seems to be nothing buy a political move to increase accountability but not the actual safety/security.

it's impossible to stop (1)

sbma44 (694130) | more than 9 years ago | (#11147244)

PGP a message then steganographically insert it into an alt.binaries.whatever post. This makes it easy to anonymously broadcast a message worldwide that can only be found and retrieved by its intended recipient, but can be picked up at any convenient time, from pretty much anywhere.

I'm no expert on steganography, but my understanding is that automatically detecting its present depends on statistical anomalies that presumably wouldn't exist in a well-encrypted message (which will appear to be random noise).

Again with the same mistake??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11147252)

So to catch terrorists and drug dealers we just sit on our asses behind a computer screen?

What if they use a pencil, a paper and fold that paper and conceal it anywhere in the REAL WORLD like most terrorists do and all of our lazy ass new generation of investigators still think that "if it is not on the Net, then it doesn't exist".

How do you think the IRA functioned all these years? With faxes? Making a deal with an ISP?

No, by meeting face to face... you know, physicaly meeting. You remember that practice?

I tell you, the real modern intelligence is today on the field more than ever, while the non 1/3 world countries are too busy expecting it to be on TCP/IP.

It's articles like that that confirms those rogue nations that we are a bunch of incompetent fat idiots that should be taken out for gross incompetence. Elmer Fudd style.

Ever been shocked by things like "Our anti-missile systems could not catch that 50's era type of soviet made missile because it wasn't smart enough to get confused by our counter measures."

Well that was in 1991 already. We are still getting ready for a WWIII with an ultra modern theoretical ennemy when in fact a simple under developped country can bring us to a standstill.

Wanna block a telephone system for a nation? Bomb the main offices! Don't waste time reading Phrack for years.

Wanna really have fun? Go after the power grid and see those IT and NSA guys look stupid.

No guys, we really need to set our priorities.
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