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Four years and $54 million later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is finally ready to launch a surveillance unit capable of spying on Skype conversations and other Internet communications.

Thoughts?
Four years and $54 million later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is finally ready to launch a surveillance unit capable of spying on Skype conversations and other Internet communications.
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Amanda Johnson's profile photoScott M's profile photoRobert Hanratty Jr's profile photoLinda Farah Dee's profile photo
50 comments
 
As long as 1st and 4th Amendment rights are adhered to, I am all about the people in charge of protecting me and my family having this capability... I feel like there's probably some 16 year old in a garage that would have developed it for a case of Code Red Mountain Dew... but its too late for that now...
 
As if this wasn't already happening thanks to the NDAA and Patriot Act. Not that I am at all shocked by this. Trade liberty for security and you will have neither.
 
Not saying they are in every case in the world... by any means... but the FBI having this tech to use under proper warrants is not a violation of Bill of Rights...
 
+Cody Heitschmidt That kind of talk is why the government keeps pushing. The Patriot Act and strip searches at the airport are "for our protection". The government can't preserve our rights and "keep us safe" from the boogie men.
 
You really think they are going use warrants to monitor conversations? That's funny to me. If you've ever read even some parts of the NDAA you wouldn't be saying, "just don't say anything illegal." Especially, when the term "legal" is being blurred every day by oppressive pieces of legislation. Explain to me how someone who preaches small government should be propagandized as a domestic terrorist? Not to mention the fact that citizens accused of being terrorist can be held without trial, indefinitely. I don't even want to imagine how they will be able to work monitoring skype conversations into this. Here's a link so that you may educate yourselves:http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/do-you-qualify-as-a-domestic-terrorist_04062011
 
Your're right. +Rawb Herb . We probably shouldn't talk about anything our government does on various SOCIAL NETWORKS (aka how we communicate in this day and age). Better yet, let's just bring back the Sedition Act of 1798 and make anything we say about the government illegal. Sound good? OK, cool.
 
... don't say or do anything illegal and then why would it matter that you're being watched?

+Rawb Herb Then I assume you don't object to your employer doing the same as the NSA?
 
I am all for having this discussion... anywhere...

+Chris McDonald so should we strip our law enforcement officers of firearms? I dont think so... I think we should absolutely fry the ones who use those firearms in any way that is deemed criminal... but i don't think we should put the good ones at risk for lack of equipping them. It's kinda like the dumbass agrument that dope should be illegal... "If marijuana is legalized lots more crime and bad shit will happen" so that means we go all protectionist and eliminate the rights of those who can use it like adults???

Eliminating anyone's access to anything because it might be misused is the violation of freedom.

Let them have it and use it properly to protect citizens, the Constitution and peoples rights and then fry the assholes who misuse it.
 
Absolutely the vast majority of the time they use warrants to monitor conversation.... the times they dont they should be fried... Yes, i think it is past time for the Patriot Act to be disbanded...

We cant deny the access to things that might have consequences if they also have a legit use... our only recourse is the punishment of those who abuse that access.
 
It's time for a Skype replacement that utilizes the latest in total
end-to-end encryption using NON nsa or dod blessed cryptology.
One can be sure -- if they bless it, they can crack it somewhere
in-house. It's our internet, but it won't stay ours if we don't fight
to keep it.
 
+Cody Heitschmidt I encourage you to keep thinking that warrantless information monitoring doesn't happen. I could post a million links stating otherwise, but I'll leave that up to you and your optimism. Have a good one, folks. Keep fighting the good fight.
 
Yeah thats the answer Mark... a secret internet society... no.

If it is our internet... then unfortunately we are going to have to rely on "our" government to protect those without the sense to protect themselves... and every so often one of them is gonna power trip and try to break in to one of +Ashley Mooney 's skype convos in hope its a naked pillow fight.... and then we send his ass to prison to for a different kind of pillow fight... Its the only way it will work...
 
sorry Marc... youre name was right there and I still misspelled it... #imadumbass
 
if they really wanna listen in............. let them eat cake
 
This is why Skype was cornered into selling to Microsoft. Skype's structure was peer-2-peer, bypassing any central data centers. Congress cornered Skype into selling to Microsoft so the calls would be routed through Microsoft's data centers... so that millions of calls could be monitored. Smile though, because it's for your safety. ;-)
 
The FBI said in a statement that the organization will “not be responsible for the actual execution of any electronic surveillance court orders and will not have any direct operational or investigative role in investigations.”

If they see that it is necessary to issue a statement, you can bet they will not abide by it.
 
All in the name of security? I don't like it, NOT ONE BIT! >:(
 
Lets see if it's working... "J. Edgar Hoover wears pink underpants."
 
Damn talk about killing the buzz of a great convo...I need a drink...
 
The last time something like this was attempted, PGP became opensource. I have never had the need to use it, but I do like the idea of owning your own encryption key in lieu of a service provider maintaining it.

I just don't see it happening -- at least not in its entirety. Can you imagine all of the programs that would need to be re-written? What about the applications that are derived from programmers living in countries that do not legally recognize the demands of this proposal?
 
use any kind of encryption protocol, FBI has already the keys ! (just of matter of time to hack it)
 
I'm a little nervous knowing that the cornerstone of it all is pretty much in my backyard. I drive past the new Lehi Utah intelligence station every day. I've got nothing to hide, but that doesn't mean I have to be okay with them invading my privacy.
 
+Salomon Anteneh : Agreed. The general assumption should be that nothing on the Internet is private.

If the government is not accessing the data, it is likely that the provider of the service has some limited immediate access, and can gain full access if desired ( usually to sell and generate revenue ) -- and then there are those bored hackers out there that always find a way just to see/prove that electronic data cannot be adequately protected/encrypted.
 
Actually video-calls can be written to be completely peer-to-peer, so, no, there would not
have to be hoards of applications re-written. Nothing needs to be rewritten. Just a new
program running over the IP protocols that uses asymmetric (public/private keys) encryption
for two entities to negotiate a strong symmetric key using one of the blowfish derivatives
(serpent-fish, i don't know -- I'm not up on the current technologies), and then the two entities
send video and audio symmetrically encrypted to each other. The payload of the tcp or udp
packets is opaque.

Look at how bittorrent evolved to magnet links, completely bypassing even the necessity of a
central tracker.

Necessity is the mother-fuc... of invention. Video calls have no real need for any man-in-the-middle.
It's your choice: the unnecessary frills of Skype, or the privacy we're entitled too. And anyone thinking
this kind of discussion is "whining" can just go follow some other thread...
 
Will it work with IPv6 being launched June 6, 2012?
 
:( even in a unprivate internet world where google and facebook has your life out for display, the goverment still wants to ease drop on your conversation, what's the internet coming to :(
 
Since this "service" is being funded by my tax dollars, could I have an agent pretend to be me listening to my family complain about each other? They can just skip the middle man (me!). Thanks!
 
+Daniel Hathaway The FBI is in the process of trying to get CALEA (the bill that requires telecommunications companies to provide means for wiretapping) expanded to include online communications including things social networking websites, email, instant messaging and VoIP. The problem (for the FBI) is that the software developers and servers for those things aren't necessarily based in the U.S. or subject to U.S. law.

Unlike with telecommunications providers which are geographically tied to their customers, if internet users in the U.S. want privacy and security (and if this amendment passes), we can just chose software and services based in countries that don't have such requirements. If you're concerned about using Skype, use something like Jitsi, which is open-source and uses end-to-end encryption. For email, you don't even have to change providers or clients, since you can just use GPG or some other implementation of OpenPGP to encrypt the message. (Sure, the recipient has to have a public key, but creating a key and registering it with a keyserver takes less than a minute. You can find a link to my public key on my profile page.) For social networks, blogs, discussion boards, and other means of posting content online, we'll soon have Privly, which will let us post anything anywhere, privately and securely. And if you're really concerned about your privacy, there's always Tor.

Basically, any attempt by the government to spy on our online communication is already dead in the water. They'll only be able to spy on people who either don't care about the privacy and security of their communications or don't have the minimal tech skills to make their communications private and secure. Personally, I think this is a good thing. There are plenty of perfectly moral and ethical reasons for wanting your communications to be private and secure, even (or sometimes especially) from the government. Sure, criminals can use these tools as well, but that's always been and always will be true. Outlawing encryption won't stop outlaws from using encryption. And requiring software and services to provide police with backdoors will only cause criminals to use other software and services without them.

Does the existence these technologies mean the criminals win? Of course not. It just means that the police will have to use the tools that have served them best throughout history: the criminals themselves. The easiest way to get someone's password isn't to spend hours using sophisticated software to crack into their computer; but rather to use social engineering, i.e. to get them to give it to you themselves. The same goes for investigating crimes. Why spend the time and effort to try to intercept criminal's communications when you can get one of the criminals to tell you what was said? It's a time-honored tradition for police to use little fish to catch big fish. Technology hasn't changed that. And these same technologies can and do aid the police themselves. Tor, for example, is used by undercover cops and informants to protect their identities.

I think the world would be a much better place if people would just embrace technological progress and adapt to it rather than trying to force it to fit their outdated world views.
 
There is no surprise here... the Americans are experts on crowd controls, and they don't want any sort of subversion going on inside of their borders... It was just a matter of time...
 
Whats the big deal. We have all this money, we have to spend it on something. The story is missing the part that it takes a staff of 35 to operate it with an ongoing forever annual cost of $7.5M,
 
Are all these threats or its real.
 
+Cody Heitschmidt attitudes like that cause more damage to freedom and democracy than any amount of terrorism. Despite your sincere belief otherwise, your attitude is neither patriotic or "American" (though I don't question your intentions at all, I just believe they're misguided by modern propaganda). The entire basis of America's greatness was the unique recognition that the boots of the people belong on the neck of government and not the other way around. Read the declaration of independence if you don't believe me. Failure to hold to that idea will be America's downfall, not failure to spy on citizens.
Note that I mean no personal insult. I respect your enthusiasm and loyalty.
 
+Jared A.J. Chiddix Yes, and according to standard netiquette established sometime in the early 90s, typing in all capital letters means the person is screaming and possibly jumping on a sofa. G+ provides several accepted methods of placing emphasis on words or phrases including underlining using underscores, bold using asterisks, and strikethrough using hyphens.

As for being an expert, I'm just a guy on the Internet. I could cite my education or work experience or any number of other things in an attempt to establish myself as some sort of expert, but I'd still be just some guy on the Internet. I let my ideas stand for themselves, and let people judge me based on my words, not on some presumption of authority.

And as for the NSA "spy center"... I don't think the government "needs" a lot of things they say they do. Given the NSA's stated mission, their new "data center" makes sense. Do I think it will be used to monitor the communications of private citizens in the U.S. and around the world in violation of our privacy? Youbetcha. But I really couldn't care less. Given the vast amount of data being transmitted over the Internet every second, the strength of common encryption methods currently in use such as PGP and AES, and that if someone figured out a way to easily break those forms of encryption that someone else would simply come up with a better form of encryption, I don't really care what kind of hardware or software the NSA is planning to use in their data center.

I am one of approximately 7 billion people on this planet, of which about 35% use the Internet, and that number is growing. Using current computer technology, it would take longer than the lifespan of the universe to crack a message encrypted with 256-bit PGP or AES using brute force, and even then only that particular message would be decrypted. While more sophisticated forms of cracking encryption would significantly reduce that time, it would not do so sufficiently that I feel concerned that anyone is cracking my encrypted communications, even if any of my communications were singled out of the countless messages being sent by all of the billions of people on the Internet. The odds of that happening are so many magnitudes lower than that of the person at the other end of the line revealing the content of that communication that it's simply a non-issue.
 
That's why I have a personal PC (custom OS, custom software) for doing things I don't want others to know. See, the problem is, you can trust that the company (ex. Google) won't give out your info, but you *can't* trust that someone won't break in and steal it. The OS I have encrypts all data it sends with 256-bit AES built-in to the OS itself. I use that one for banking, checking email, etc. and boot into Windows when I want to do something else.
 
I'm really surprised that there hasn't been any kind of surveillance all this time. Good for them. That's a ridiculous amount of traffic for them to sort out.
 
+Yancy Eaton Yes, we do have something to hide. It's called our private lives. I personally don't want some pencil-pusher in Washington getting his rocks off by reading my private emails to my girlfriend, or profiling me (regardless of the reason) based on what websites I visit and ebooks I buy. My private life is simply none of the government's (or any corporation's) business.

If you don't think this kind of information won't be abused, you're either extremely naive or don't pay attention to the world around you. You don't think that this information won't be funneled to PACs and lobbyists as weapons in furthering their agendas and getting their pet politicians (re-)elected? And that's a fairly benign example.

We are increasingly putting our entire lives on the Internet. Having the government or corporations monitoring our online activity is little different than having them place spy cameras in our homes.

Further, the government has proven time and again that it's not necessarily that great at protecting its own information, much less the public's. Identity theft is rampant, and I personally know several people whose credit has been ruined because someone stole their identities. With the government monitoring and collecting all of our personal data and communications, it becomes a one-stop-shop for identity thieves and various other bad guys. And remember that the government is people, not all of which are entirely benevolent. It doesn't have to be some super-skilled hacker cracking into the government's network to steal your data. It could be a janitor who sees an opportunity to pop in a flash drive and copy some files.

And all of this is assuming we're living in a nominally free and democratic society. What about political dissidents living under more oppressive regimes? A lack of privacy and security can get those people killed.

Some people may not care about their privacy, but in my experience it's because those people don't fully understand what a complete lack of privacy and information security really means. I'm not being paranoid; I'm being realistic. But like I said previously, I'm personally not that concerned about the government's attempts at monitoring my online communications for the simple reason that I take steps to make sure any information and communications I want to keep private are encrypted. In the information age, encrypting your data is little different than locking your door behind you when you leave your home.
 
Personally I'm just amazed that they only managed to spend $54 million on this project in four years. Seems like some serious government under-achievement to me.
 
+Jason White Did you actually read any of my comment other than the first couple of sentences?

It's not that I'm bothered that someone might read my emails specifically (and I even pointed out later in the comment how incredibly unlikely this would be). It's that this is a possibility at all that's the problem. We are assured that our physical mail is private. Sure, packages go through all sorts of scanners to check that they don't contain bombs and such, but the actual contents remain private, and opening someone's mail of a crime. Even the authorities need to obtain a warrant.

But unless people take some (in many cases rather simple) steps to encrypt their online communications, it's the equivalent of sending all of your physical correspondence using post cards. And there aren't the same sort of laws protecting online communication as there are for regular mail.

Imagine now that the government were setting up a large data center to intercept and copy all mail. People wouldn't stand for it. But that's exactly what they're doing for our online communications.

But I still say the simple solution to privacy is for individuals to take responsibility for their own privacy and encrypt everything. The tools are readily available. It's merely a matter of people educating themselves on the issues and using those tools.
 
someone watched too many James Bond movies :)
 
nope nor facebook or myspace or any other life intruding web shite
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