January 18th, 2008 by Adam
The Raw Story reports that the US are currently drafting a law that will allow them full access to examine any email, file or web search at any time. Currently the plans are at the draft stage, but if passed, this could essentially mean the end to any form of privacy on the internet. Consider that the largest email providers such as Gmail, Hotmail (Live Mail – run by Microsoft), AOL and many others are based in the US but they have international users on a massive scale. This is a frightening plan that has global consequences, and will really pave the way for essential cryptographic systems on email.
From the article:
National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is drawing up plans for cyberspace spying that would make the current debate on warrantless wiretaps look like a “walk in the park,” according to an interview published in the New Yorker’s print edition today.
McConnell is developing a Cyber-Security Policy, still in the draft stage, which will closely police Internet activity.
“Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the autority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search,” author Lawrence Wright pens.
“Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation, he said,” Wright adds. “Giorgio warned me, ‘We have a saying in this business: ‘Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.’”
A zero-sum game is one in which gains by one side come at the expense of the other. In other words — McConnell’s aide believes greater security can only come at privacy’s expense.
Please read the whole article on the Raw Story website and some user’s comments about the story on Slashdot to see how this may affect you. Personally, I find this frightening – the laws of the United States shouldn’t affect me directly, but if the US administration decides that privacy is no longer important and their “crime prevention” methods of monitoring every email they wish go though, you, me and virtually everyone globally will be affected directly with little we can do.
Perhaps it’s time you thought about encryption…