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EFF Asks How Big Brother Is Watching The Internet

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the hey-little-brother-what's-that-in-your-mind? dept.

Privacy 354

MacDork writes "The EFF filed a FOIA request yesterday with the FBI and other offices of the US DOJ regarding expanded powers granted by the USA PATRIOT Act. The EFF is making the request in an attempt to find out whether or not Section 216 is being used to monitor web browsing without a warrant. The DOJ has already stated they can collect email and IP addresses, but has not been forthcoming on the subject of URL addresses. It seems the EFF is seeking any documentation to confirm such activity is taking place. One can only hope the automated FOIA search doesn't produce any false negatives or cost the EFF $372,999."

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Which is more important? (-1, Flamebait)

user9918277462 (834092) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546202)

The privacy of your porn browsing

or

The lives of thousands or even millions of Americans that could be slaughtered in a terrorist attack.

You decide.

Re:Which is more important? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11546220)

Porn browsing.

Re:Which is more important? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546510)

Porn browsing.

It's +2 Funny, because it's true.

Re:Which is more important? (5, Insightful)

flewp (458359) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546222)

My right to privacy. Seriousely. If the FBI suspects someone of terrorist activity, it shouldn't be hard to get a warrant to monitor their internet traffic.

It's the whole "those who are willingly to sacrifice freedom for security deserve niether" bit.

Re:Which is more important? (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546362)

People are always talking about freedom and they would die for it. So I ask the question, "Wouldn't you rather die than lose your freedoms?" They answer yes, but were just a minute earlier talking about dieing for spreading it.

Hypocrites

Re:Which is more important? (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546380)

Oops, that didn't really make sense. It SHOULD read: People are always talking about freedom and they would die for it. So I ask the question, "Wouldn't you rather die than lose your freedoms?" They answer yes, but were just a minute earlier talking about how we needed to take away freedoms in order to protect ourselves. Hypocrites.

HYPOCRACY ON SLASHDOT? UNPOSSIBAL!!!11ONE!11 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546422)

Except you are just as retarded as the typical Braveheart-type FREEDUM OR DEATHHLOL!!!111 How about you shut your fucking face before I weld your lips to the anus of a cow (not the one slashtard editard Timothy likes to french)??????

Re:Which is more important? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546419)

It's impossible to get a warrant if they *suspect* someone to be involved with "terrorist activity". They have to provide submissible evidence that someone is connected with a particular terrorist activity. The difference is more then semantic, and the Partiot act pen trap rule was to allow pen traps to get submissible evidence (communicating with people involved in terrorist activities)

Re:Which is more important? (3, Funny)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546431)

Don't you love your country son? Do you want our brave soldiers to die? What religon are you?

Don't worry about that last question, we know the answer. We'll be at your house about 10 minutes after you get home from work.

And seriously, you should be getting back to work. You owe it to your employer, and to help the economy, which prevents terrorism!

See you soon flewp.
--The Man

Re:Which is more important? (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546227)

I don't understand how you can correlate the government browsing the sites I go to for porn to saving american lives. But I'm sure in your twisted , confused, and partially delusional state it makes sense... because giving up freedoms is the only way to stop people who incite fear. :/

Re:Which is more important? (2, Interesting)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546346)

I go to the terrorist/arabic sites then use Ajeeb (http://english.ajeeb.com/ [ajeeb.com] ) to learn what they are saying about us. I don't want the government talking this in the wrong light. I should not have to worry at all.

Which is more important?-Using the proper argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11546241)

If spying on everyone was the solution? Then we should all have someone riding shotgun throughout our lives.

Which is more important? (1)

WarMonkey (721558) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546254)

Your illusions of the benevolence of government or The lives of who knows how many innocent Americans that will inevitably be sacrificed to the governments own paranoia as the nation rushes headlong into being a murdrous police state?

Re:Which is more important? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546257)

Porn browsing.

Why should I care about some stupid americans.

Re:Which is more important? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546259)

If folks like you get killed then I'll take the porn.

Hilarious! (1)

No-op (19111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546263)

you fucking kill me. I blew soda all over my keyboard!

That was a good one!

Re:Hilarious! (2, Interesting)

unixbugs (654234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546376)

That WAS a good one. Posts like his should get a "special" moderation of -2. I can't believe that someone who reads this site, being bombarded by free information on _the_way_things_are_ could actually post like that, unless it was a joke which is almost more believeable.

First and last, I'd just like to say DONT FUCK WITH ME AND MY FAMILY OR MY COUNTRY. This includes everyone brain washed into believing Britney Spears is a diety to the litigous and scanalous entities who push the whole image, along with the lawmakers who enforce this thought policing.

We kicked the rest of the worlds ass for this place and we will do it again all day long if we have to. We dont need paperwork and beauracracy to keep the peace, we need an ugly stick and a good motto ( you feelin' froggy?) hanging on the wall in everyones house.

This just goes to show how few people will stand up for what they believe in anymore, let alone even know what they believe in.

Re:Hilarious! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546513)

First and last, I'd just like to say DONT FUCK WITH ME AND MY FAMILY OR MY COUNTRY.

Hey Mister, this is Vinh Phu from Hanoi. Me and my friends Kim from Corea, Ha from Kampuchea, José from Panama, Mohammed from Iran, Ali from Iraq all said DONT FUCK WITH ME AND MY FAMILY OR MY COUNTRY when you guys came and messed with us.

Funny that the situation should be reversed, eh American? It can go both ways as you can see...

Enjoy the coming years of terror sucker. It's payback time.

Re:Which is more important? (5, Insightful)

comm3c (670264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546281)

The difference between freedom and opression are the rights of privacy afforded to us as citizens. The idea that monitering could POTENTIALLY come up with valuable information in fighting terror is outweighed by the individual's right to maintain one's items private. I mean, if you can't even come close to a hit, is the cost of jeopardizing our freedoms worth it? Remember, under our government, even criminals have rights afforded to them that can not be revoked without due process.

Re:Which is more important? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546282)

If only preventing terrorism is all homeland security was about. The concern is not for the intended use, but the guaranteed misuse of power.

Re:Which is more important? (2, Insightful)

unixbugs (654234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546295)

Good point, but I know of thousands or even millions of Americans who would be better served with a hot meal than a robot watching them suffer at their own expense. You are a NAZI.

Re:Which is more important? (5, Insightful)

SparksMcGee (812424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546316)

Terrorist Attack? Put this in perspective. As a symbol and a demonstration of the relative laxity of certain aspects of the American security net 9/11 was devastating. But statistically 2,000 people is fewer than we lose on a monthly basis to car accidents. If there's one thing that past governments have demonstrated (not to invoke Godwin or anything) it's that if you give them the power, they will take it, and hang responsible use *cough*McCarthy*cough*. The more America lets itself quietly give up civil liberties--particularly on the domain of the internet, where the only parties with a vested interest in covering their activites for the sake of a conspiracy will find relatively easy ways around surveillance, the more this country ceases to be worth living in. Who wants absolute security at the expense of being arrested and helf without charges indefinitely? (which is now legally feasible at the government's discretion. Taking reasonable precautions in the name of security is common sense, but with the best military in the world and more security legislation than is healthy already passed, this is nothing we need, not now, not ever. I'd rather sacrifice the perceived security bonus and instead continue to live in a country worth ilving in with unrestriced access to a venue whose primary purpose is free discourse--exactly what the First Amendment is meant to protect.

Re:Which is more important? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546320)

The privacy of your porn browsing -or-
The lives of thousands or even millions of Americans that could be slaughtered in a terrorist attack.


Could it be that, just perhaps, you deserve everything you get? kind of like retribution for decades of toppling governments, leading to mass murders in the hundred of thousands the world over, and warmonging with total disrespect for international law? Could it be?

I don't know, I kind of like American people, but if they managed to elect gems of presidents ranging from Nixon to G.W., choosing equally shameful gems ranging from Kissinger to Condy Rice, I say they should bear the blame.

There are a lot of people angry against America all over the goddamn planet. The shit has hit the fan, and you're gonna get the falling morsels all over your country for decades to come. I almost pity the fools you are...

WHAT CHOICE DO WE HAVE? (1)

unixbugs (654234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546412)

LOOK AT OUR ELECTIONS! theyre a joke. apathy reigns and we are spoiled and left fighting day to day for food on the table. it could have happened anywhere.

49% (1)

superflytnt (105865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546414)

While I have to agree with you, please remember that there are 49% of us who tried to make a difference in the last election.

Re:49% (1)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546475)

Nope, only 49% of 60%

Not everyone votes remember!

Re:49% (4, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546531)

If 49% had tried to make a difference, who did they vote for?

As has been pointed out multiple times, in the grand scheme of things the difference between R's and D's is miniscule in this country. BOTH parties believe in bigger government, BOTH parties believe in more control over the lives of citizens, BOTH parties are willing to sell you down the river in a heartbeat.

If 49% had tried to make a difference, they would have brought in new voices to the political scene. /frank

Re:Which is more important? --VALID QUESTION (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546582)

A legitimate and valid question--the very asking of which is "Insightful." So, why is the parent modded -1 Flamebait? Seems like a good conversation starter to me.

eeFP (-1, Offtopic)

flewp (458359) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546204)

Yay! Will the FBI be monitoring this attempt at a first post?

CARNIVORE says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11546221)

YUO FUCKING FAIL IT

Be alert (4, Interesting)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546403)

For those of you that missed it the other day, some guy was arrested because of his buying habits at the grocery store - tracked by his frequent flyer card (or whatever they call them - I don't use em) from the same store.

Evidently months ago he bought the same kind of lighter fluid that was used to light his own house on fire with his wife and kids inside. He was pretty much going to 'pound me in the ass prison' until someone else 'fessed up to lighting the fire (the family didn't get hurt in the fire, IIRC.)

If you think for 60 seconds you aren't being watched - ask that guy.

No, the problem there was that the (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546492)

investigation by the police and the courtroom process was fucking flawed. The problem isn't the grocery store databases, the problem is the shitty way laws are applied and how data like that is interpreted in courtrooms.

Privoxy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11546205)

Tor

Quibble... (0)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546206)

URL addresses and IP addresses amount to the same thing. Think about it.

Re:Quibble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11546230)

Heh, no they do not.

Re:Quibble... (4, Insightful)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546261)

Not quite. IP addresses will only give you slashdot.org. URL's can tell which stories you went to/posted to.

Re:Quibble... (4, Informative)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546330)

Not quite. IP addresses will only give you slashdot.org. URL's can tell which stories you went to/posted to.

And a single IP address can resolve to tens of thousands of hostnames/urls by using virtual hosts.

Re:Quibble... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Luddite (808273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546489)

>> And a single IP address can resolve to tens of thousands of hostnames/urls by using virtual hosts.

Let's not forget dynamic DNS entries. One website, many IPs.

Are the waters muddy enough yet?

Michael got fired! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546274)

The moron who called readers "idiots" [slashdot.org] and modbombed threads, all the while cybersquatting Censorware.org, has been removed from Slashdot!

AHAHAHAHAHAAHAAHAAAA! I know you're reading this Michael. Sucks to be you!

Re:Michael got fired! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546334)

Are you sure? Don't toy with my emotions like that. If it's true, then it's a good thing I'm at home, as the amount of semen that will gush from my jeans from pure happiness will require a bit of cleanup. Michael Sims is truly a terrorist.

Re:Michael got fired! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546491)

See for yourself--his name has been removed from the editors page. Compare to the recent Google cache which still lists his name.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! If Michael was still around, this thread would have been modbombed already. Think about that. Free speech just won a victory today.

P.S. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546518)

I respect the moderators who haven't knocked this thread down yet. I won't post anymore. Just wanted people to know; Michael was much-despised for his anti-free speech tactics, and I know a LOT of people will be extremely pleased at his departure.

Re:Quibble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546331)

No.
  • I have about 30 IP addresses serving the main www.*.com host at work.
  • My personal web hosting site has about 100 domains on the same IP.

Re:Quibble... (5, Informative)

TheOriginalRevdoc (765542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546356)

URLs contain several things.

1. The protocol.
2. The domain name.
3. Port numbers.
4. Page addresses.
5. Data, such as login names, page parameters, and so on.

The last item, in particular, has far greater scope than an IP address. It's much more like content; it can contain data that you provide for, say, addressing an email, or adjusting an account balance. (Just extemporising here. The actual usage varies enormously.)

So no, URLs are very different to IP numbers.

Re:Quibble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546407)

And with poorly designed e-commerce sites, your credit card number, password, etc.

Re:Quibble... (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546494)

And with poorly designed e-commerce sites, your credit card number, password, etc.

LOL, sensitive info sent in a GET. It happens. Still.

Re:Quibble... (1)

mark*workfire (220796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546558)

So, something similar to the Dewey Decimal System or ISBN. The ISBN directs you to the book. The book provides the actual detail.

Always assume (4, Informative)

WarMonkey (721558) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546207)

Always assume that they ARE.

Creepy stuff (5, Insightful)

dj42 (765300) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546208)

I don't like the idea of them monitoring web browsing, URLs, content, etc, without essentially a "warrant". I also think ISPs should not store any sort of historical browsing information. The fact there is no response as to whether or not this occurs is also disconcerting, because not only are they probably doing it, but they don't even care if we know or not.

Re:Creepy stuff (2, Interesting)

stephenisu (580105) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546405)

While I also do not like the idea of being monitored for my internet activity, I think we as a community should develop better tools to secure our own protection if we are afraid of being tracked.

I truly do not like the idea of me being put on a terrorist watch list for reading liberal publications, but I choose to read them anyways.

Alas, I am less of a coder and more of marketer.

Re:Creepy stuff (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546560)

Isn't anonymizer.com still in business? It was a proxy service you could pay to use.

I would check myself, but I hesitate to do so from work. I guess that in itself says something about being one of the few people to use encryption or proxying.

Re:Creepy stuff (5, Insightful)

Seigen (848087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546436)

I agree, but unfortunately since 9/11 the american government is growing more and more corrupt. The very fact that our government goes out of its way to find ways around its own rules like imprisoning people in foreign countries to get around any rights they might have adequately demonstrates this. It seems that right or wrong has almost gone out of fashion. If you can spin your arguments such that the public buys them, even if they are lies, then you win. A warrant should be required. FOIA inquires that are won in court shouldn't be returned without the information content redacted. To a very great extent the workings of our government need to become less secretive lest we lose the freedoms we cherish.

Re:Creepy stuff (3, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546550)

"I don't like the idea of them monitoring web browsing, URLs, content, etc, without essentially a 'warrant."

While I agree with that stance on web browsing...
Requiring a Warrant to monitor URL's and Content would basically put Google and Netcraft out of existence.

Let's step back and think before we get carried away here.
Personally, I think all "in the clear" Internet activity should be considered public. Why should the FBI be required to get a Warrant to do what any 13yr old with a network sniffer be able to do with dubious legality?

Personally, I think a warrant should be required only to intrude upon private networks and encrypted communication protocols.
So, in my mind, the FBI should be able to snoop on my iChat activity, but required to get a a warrant to snoop my local network activity/Hard Drives/Content if it is behind a secured firewall.

It boils down to precident in the physical world. When you walk around in public, do you bring out your kiddie porn collection, break into shops, try to abduct little girls/boys, expose yourself to random men/women, talk about crimes you're about to or have commited in broad daylight while dozens of bystanders mill about? Then why the hell should you think that the magical interweb somehow makes that OK?

Re:Creepy stuff (5, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546625)

A 13yr old with a camcorder can also set it up in the bushes to look inside your home and watch what you're doing. This doesn't mean the FBI shouldn't be required to get a warrant to do the same.

In the same realm, just because they can sniff the network traffic doesn't mean that they should. They have to get a warrant to tap your phone, and they should have to do the same to tap your IM conversations, e-mail correspondence, and web history.

Just because they can do something doesn't mean they should be able to without restrictions.

A Family Affair. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11546212)

"EFF Asks How Big Brother is Watching the Internet"

By getting his little sister to do it.

Re:A Family Affair. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546321)

oh come on guys, please mod this as funny. you know it's funny. it deserves moding up!

Coz' Microsoft is doing the watching? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11546214)

heh... [slashdot.org]

Wouldn't it be something... (4, Interesting)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546218)

...if all our monitors turned out to be "telescreens"?

Re:Wouldn't it be something... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11546251)

you're a flaming shitbag of diarreah.

Re:Wouldn't it be something... (2, Insightful)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546288)

If they are, I would sue the government for distributing child porn. I'm pretty sure I did some things in front of my computer that would qualify as porn before I was 18.

Pretty damn sure.

Re:Wouldn't it be something... (2, Insightful)

Trespass (225077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546306)

There would be a lot of government employees watching nerds masturbating, for one.

The ideas in '1984' always seemed a little simplistic and naive to me. In a society that values fame and media exposure so highly, wouldn't it be easier to get us all to spy on each other? Informant meets reality TV, all in the name of state security and voyeurism.

Re:Wouldn't it be something... (2, Interesting)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546364)

oh, give Orwell a break, he was writing in the 40's. Nobody bitches about Phillip K. Dick for having the most powerful computers in his stories be the size of the Empire State Building.

Re:Wouldn't it be something... (1)

Trespass (225077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546611)

I'm not bitching about Orwell, and I'm sorry if I gave that impression. It just strikes me that there are more applicable scenarios (and metaphors) available. The Panopticon and Brave New World come to mind.

Re:Wouldn't it be something... (1)

spac3manspiff (839454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546401)

Well since they're using beowulf clusters to process the data, it isn't too hard to spy on all of us.

Re:Wouldn't it be something... (1)

spac3manspiff (839454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546361)

Move along now, nothing to see here.

/.ID 314817 never posted thread #11546218.

In other news, the newspeak dictionary has replaced monitors with telescreens.

80% redaction (4, Interesting)

MMHere (145618) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546229)

Whatever they get will likely be 80% redacted. How is that useful? How is that freedom of information? You ask for info and they black out much of the useful stuff.

NPR's On The Media program (aired yesterday in these parts), talked about ACLU requests in 2003 regarding Iraqi prisoner abuse (well before Abu Graib broke), and the docs they did receive -- after lengthy expensive lawsuits -- was mostly (80%) blacked out.

Re:80% redaction (2, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546258)

> Whatever they get will likely be 80% redacted. How is that useful? How is that freedom of information? You ask for info and they black out much of the useful stuff.

Well, if they did the redaction digitally in a PDF, the information could be pretty damned useful after all [securityfocus.com] , as long as you render the PDF on a sufficiently slow PC.

Re:80% redaction (1)

kaustik (574490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546314)

Did you post that simply because you felt like being tricky and throwing up a link? Do you really think they are that stupid?

Re:80% redaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546341)

Well, they were stupid enough the first time.

Re:80% redaction (1)

kaustik (574490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546439)

In year 2000, which was made public...
I am confident that our government would not make the same mistake tw... (sigh, nevermind)

Re:80% redaction (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546464)

Yes they can be (that stupid).
Never underestimate the collective stupidity of a large bureaucracy.
-nB

Re:80% redaction (1)

phaetonic (621542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546262)

The meaning of life is [REDACTED]

Funny, the EFF got the reply already! (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546242)

The EFF filed a FOIA request yesterday with the FBI and other offices of the US DOJ regarding expanded powers granted by the USA PATRIOT Act.

Dear EFF,

With regard to your surv^H^H^H^Hcustomer service (ref: EFF-KEYLGGR-SECRTRY), we're happy to preempt your request.

The automated reply to your inquiry is:

NO MATCH FOUND

We sincerely hope your request has been fulfilled. We stay at your disposition for further inquiry.

Regards,

Joe Snoop, Dept. of Homeland Security.

Considerations (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 8 years ago | (#11546250)

Regarding the "false negatives" bit in the summary:

The story is that an individual made an FOIA request to the FBI for some specific information.

The FBI claimed that no such information was available.

The claimant found out in the meantime that such information WAS available and had been previously provided by the FBI as the result of another FOIA request, and, as such, requested a court order the FBI to provide it again.

The FBI is arguing that its search was reasonable within department regulations and guidelines, and that it cannot and should not be expected to always undercover every single possible document in response to every request. And documents being indexed electronically doesn't make it as easy as one might think: it's precisely because documents are indexed electronically that is creating the difficulty: the FBI is claiming, essentially, that it can't predict every possibly keyword it should associate with a document for search purposes, and therefore shouldn't be held accountable if it misses documents during a good-faith search.

Whether or not the FBI was intentionally hiding OKBOMB memos, etc., is another story altogether.

Additionally, the article summary is awfully pessimistic: we don't yet know how DOJ will respond to this request. Perhaps it itself hasn't determined whether or not it considers "URLs" to be subject to pen-trap regulations. Additionally, for those who didn't RTFA:

At issue is PATRIOT Section 216, which expanded the government's authority to conduct surveillance in criminal investigations using pen registers or trap and trace devices ( "pen-traps" ). Pen-traps collect information about the numbers dialed on a telephone but do not record the actual content of phone conversations. Because of this limitation, court orders authorizing pen-trap surveillance are easy to get -- instead of having to show probable cause, the government need only certify relevance to its investigation. Also, the government never has to inform people that they are or were the subjects of pen-trap surveillance.

Remember, pen-traps were already allowed before PATRIOT. At issue is what exactly PATRIOT's expansion to these provisions further allows. It clearly has been determined to allow email addresses and IP addresses. However, whose IP addresses? The suspect, or a host the suspect is visiting? It would seem clear to me that, virtual hosting aside, if the a target host's IP may be logged, and since DNS names, embodied here as "URLs" and IP are very obviously interrelated, again, virtual hosts aside, it seems this argument is somewhat of a smokescreen to force debate on whether or not pen-traps in general should be allowed.

And since they were allowed before PATRIOT, the answer seems clear: if PATRIOT's expansions to the existing statues to accommodate new communications technologies were appropriate, all that's left is determining what exactly is included. And if "IP addresses" are included, which would logically include target hosts, it would seem that DNS names used to arrive at said IP addresses are intrinsic to the nature of their usage. So disagree with pen-traps if you want, but don't rant and rave about PATRIOT, because it's not about that (though many would desperately want you to think so).

Re:Considerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546546)

The FBI is arguing that its search was reasonable within department regulations and guidelines, and that it cannot and should not be expected to always undercover every single possible document in response to every request. And documents being indexed electronically doesn't make it as easy as one might think: it's precisely because documents are indexed electronically that is creating the difficulty: the FBI is claiming, essentially, that it can't predict every possibly keyword it should associate with a document for search purposes, and therefore shouldn't be held accountable if it misses documents during a good-faith search.

The requestor specifically gave the keyword which was (eventually) used to find the record. As you point out, the FBI could not be expected to go through "every single possible keyword." Take a look again at the request as posted. Pick three keywords per request (that's a bit thin but we'll give the FBI the benefit of the doubt). If any keyword you picked was the case reference: Congratulations, you just found the record and outperformed the most expensive investigative agency in the world in their own backyard.

It seems indicative of a much larger problem when a government agency can't even look stuff up using their own filing system. It kind of makes you wonder how much we need to pay an investigative agency that literally can't keep track of it's own tail.

Heh (3, Funny)

vbdrummer0 (736163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546260)

There's probably something in the USA PATRIOT ACT keeping them from disclosing stuff about itself in FOIA requests.

"The first rule about USA PATRIOT ACT is you do not talk about USA PATRIOT ACT," if you will.

Why does the title... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546272)

... Have to say "Big Brother"? That just sounds like typical /. paranoia. Before you mod me, consider this: By its very nature the internet is insecure. Any email you send passes through and is temporarily stored on at least several computers before reaching its destination. It's not just "Big Brother" who's watching, it could be anyone with an interest in you, really. I'd say it's more likely that a corrupt server admin, or a large corporation is more likely to read your email than the goverment. In the end the answer is simple: Use any of the myriads of free encryption programs!

Re:Why does the title... (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546480)

Because the EFF can't file a FOIA request to find out what your server admin is doing. Unless, of course, the government is snooping on your admin, too.

Whether it's fair to call the government "Big Brother" is another argument altogether, but if they are snooping on us in the way EFF is asking about, it sounds fair to me.

Not to nitpick (3, Informative)

Arbac (775768) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546276)

But that wasn't exactly filed yesterday. According to the EFF website it was filed on Jan. 14th [eff.org]

Dear Diary (2, Funny)

Thunderstruck (210399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546285)

I wrote my uncle a letter yesterday. I used some nice stationary and envelopes from a shop in Bismarck. I asked him what he thought about the current administration, and if he could lend me his copy of a certain antisocial treatise. Unfortunately, the envelope did not have enough space for me to write a return address on the outside.

(Attention Carnivore, this post is intended as a joke, for the recipient only.)

stationary v. stationery (1)

de1orean (851146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546477)

i wasn't the intended recipient, but i was still amused by your homophonia.

Re:stationary v. stationery (2, Funny)

rco3 (198978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546509)

"i wasn't the intended recipient, but i was still amused by your homophonia."

I didn't see anything in his post about not liking gay people; are you sure?

homoPHONIA. from homophone. look it up. (1)

de1orean (851146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546520)

yes. i'm sure.

Good! (3, Insightful)

ktulu1115 (567549) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546286)

I think this is excellent. Even if they get nothing, I still think it's a step in the right direction. Let the people be aware of what's going on.

What you don't realize (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546292)

Is that nearly every single packet that flows on the internet is routed through a facility in Virginia. At that facility, the print out each packet and examine it for illegal activity. They then copy the packet in triplicate, fax one copy to a vault in Colorado, and file the rest in the file of whoever originated the packet. Interesting or suspicious packets are emailed to the CIA and occasionally to the Mosad for further examination.

Re:What you don't realize (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546610)

Please be available at your place of residence (already known to us) at 0700GMT February 2 for questioning and possible detainment. You have been invited to assist the Ministry of Information with certain enquiries, the nature of which may be ascertained on completion of application form BZ/ST/486/C fourteen days within this date.

signed,
the Ministry of Information, c.o. the CIA

It seems odd to want privacy on the 'net. (4, Insightful)

game kid (805301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546304)

Its servers and clients are connected to others around the world. How people decided to do credit-card commerce there is still beyond me, however revolutionary or secure it is now. While there are fair uses of information and rights to privacy, "Internet privacy" still feels like an oxymoron, and technology like quantum computers may soon crack encryption like SSL, so I'm doubting we can stay private for very long. (Please correct me if SSL/other forms of "https" can never be cracked.)

Let me correct myself. (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546387)

It seems like the EFF wants to make sure the FBI is not snooping on our 'net use. Again, the Internet seems like a very public place, though--it feels like a big, open sidewalk that you shouldn't give your credit card/perform crimes/do anything else that should be private in the middle of. I'm sure if the FBI's not snooping sans warrant to scare us to submission, many others deep in Europe/Asia/the Bronx would anyhow.

There should be a separate, private network, aside from the "Internets" as Bush once called it, for such business, I think. I am no expert, though.

Re:It seems odd to want privacy on the 'net. (3, Informative)

kaustik (574490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546467)

So, this brings up a good question - What (if any) means to you use to protect your web browsing from prying eyes?
The Metropipe Tunneler [metropipe.net] is pretty cool. Cross platform client software to encrypt all of your Internet traffic out to a server that keeps no logs. Kind of steep at $99 a year
Also cool is the free Metropipe VPM [metropipe.net] which is a complete linux system that fits on a USB drive, and somehow includes their tunneling service for free...

Re:It seems odd to want privacy on the 'net. (1)

eddiegee (236525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546618)

You have seen this article [timesdaily.com] which came out last week summarizing a study that found most identity theft is still occuring offline, right? By your assertion no one should feel safe anywhere, as I might get all my credit card numbers stolen by the underpaid cashier at Walmart.

As for an expectation of privacy on the 'Net, the only real privacy you have in anonimity by sheer numbers. Someone has to dig into a log or monitor you specifically to gather any information on you. There has to be at least some effort to monitor someone. For the US government to do that, we have this old, musty dead-tree document called the Constitution that talks about warrants. The EFF should be trying to find out what Law Enforcement is up to, especially with these "warantless searches".

It's not paranoia... (1, Informative)

RM6f9 (825298) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546328)

if they truly *are* out to get you.
Wanna keep a secret? Create a cheesy one-page website and offer something for sale that nobody wants for more than anyone would willingly spend - nobody will read it, and you're safe.
Seriously, anyone who believes privacy, secrecy or security exist anywhere on a network-connected computer is in for a deep disillusionment.
But, most people already knew *that*.

***ACRONYM OVERLOAD*** (1)

munboy (732717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546347)

Wow, my brain hurts.

Re:***ACRONYM OVERLOAD*** (1)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546400)

stfu.

Remember Theo Van Gogh and the Armanious Famliy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546416)

of New Jersey. Still think terrorism is a bogeyman?

Doesn't Matter (5, Insightful)

Tony (765) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546603)

Terrorism is a real threat.

You still stand a greater chance of dieing in a car crash or being shot by someone you know than getting killed in a terrorist attack.

Terrorism does *NOT* justify the abridgement of civil rights. *NOTHING* justifies the abridgement of civil rights.

nothing to hide? (1)

Total Immortal (828356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546432)

the problem with the internet is that the old conservative line of thought about having nothing to fear if you've got nothing to hide doesnt work, every bodys got something they want to hide on the internet!

but seriously its fair enough if your stopping peodophiles and the like, but how long until we start see warrented or unwarrented browsing habbits start to appear in trials? mr x is accused of rape, and as we can see he was a frequent visitor to many a porn sites..... or similar examples or habits being used to descibe character

How's this for evidence (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546481)

We can see you through your monitors. You have mussed up hair, thick glasses, and no girlfriend. You are currently picking your nose thinking that nobody can see you.

You self gratify in front of your computer at least 3 times per week.

And now you are looking at the back of your monitor to see how we did it....

FBI watching (4, Funny)

Ostie (851551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11546542)

Someone at FBI watching ...

Joe#23153445 : URL http://www.*censored*.com
FBI guy : Great p0rn!
Joe#23153445 : URL http://www.*censored*.com
FBI guy : Damn, that user got tastes!
Joe#23153445 : URL http://www.*censored*.com

FBI guy to others FBI agents : I will keep watching user Joe#23153445 for a while, his activities seem suspecious. I will need extreme concentration, you can dismiss now.

ECHELON (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11546589)

Well, What about the (almost) famous Echelon system? It supposedly feed all the worlds communications(phone, internet, sat, etc...) into databases and sifts through them to find "useful" intelligence....oops don't tell anyone I've said this....
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