Saturday, May 27, 2006

US Government pushing internet data retention

ZDNet reports that:
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller on Friday urged telecommunications officials to record their customers' Internet activities, CNET News.com has learned.

In a private meeting with industry representatives, Gonzales, Mueller and other senior members of the Justice Department said Internet service providers should retain subscriber information and network data for two years, according to two sources familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The closed-door meeting at the Justice Department, which Gonzales had requested, according to the sources, comes as the idea of legally mandated data retention has become popular on Capitol Hill and inside the Bush administration. Supporters of the idea say it will help prosecutions of child pornography because in many cases, logs are deleted during the routine course of business.
The Justice Department appears to be seeking "voluntary" data retention, but there are also proposals to introduce federal legislation:
Two proposals to mandate data retention have surfaced in the U.S. Congress. One, backed by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, says that any Internet service that "enables users to access content" must permanently retain records that would permit police to identify each user. The records could only be discarded at least one year after the user's account was closed.

The other was drafted by aides to Wisconsin Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a close ally of President Bush. Sensenbrenner said through a spokesman last week, though, that his proposal is on hold because "our committee's agenda is tremendously overcrowded already."
If you haven't already thought about protecting your privacy online, now would be a good time to start. At the moment, the best way of ensuring anonymous communication is probably the EFF's Tor system. If you're running Windows, Torpark is a quick and easy way of getting started. From the Torpark FAQ:
Installation Instructions

1. Download and run the exe, it will extract Torpark.
2. Put the Torpark directory where you want it, like on a USB drive.
3. Run Torpark.exe

What is Torpark, exactly?

Torpark is a fully configured combination of Tor (The Onion Router) and Mozilla's browser technologies, enabled by John T. Haller's Portable Firefox. As of v1.5, the whole package is wrapped up in a nice single executable with file directory. No installation, no registry keys, no files left behind.

How can this be used?

Lots of ways! It can be used to circumvent censorship firewalls, like at work or in China. It can be used to bypass paying for internet access at a wifi cafe. It can be used at school computers so you can get full access to the internet. And best of all, if there is no key loggers secretly installed on the machine, nobody is going to know where you went, what you saw, who you spoke to, or what you said. It is all encrypted in a tunnel between your computer, and at least three others somewhere in the world. Only after your data has passed through the encrypted and constantly changing tunnel (a tor circuit) will it reach the internet as unencrypted. The data from surfing the internet goes through the same tunnel as well, passing back to you encrypted, where your computer uses Tor to decrypt it to the Torpark browser. When you need a secret and secure tunnel to surf the internet, Torpark is your mobile solution.

1 comment:

  1. You can protect most of your traffic. The only problem is speed.

    I have written about this before.
    http://tinyurl.com/qd7cs

    rgrds,
    bernard

    ReplyDelete