a story from The Guardian about FBI interest in connectivity between its own database resources and those abroad. It’s spearheading a program labeled ‘Server in the Sky’, meant to coordinate the police forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to better fight international crime/terrorist groups. The group is calling itself the International Information Consortium.
“Britain’s National Policing Improvement Agency has been the lead body for the FBI project because it is responsible for IDENT1, the UK database holding 7m sets of fingerprints and other biometric details used by police forces to search for matches from scenes of crimes. Many of the prints are either from a person with no criminal record, or have yet to be matched to a named individual. IDENT1 was built by the computer technology arm of the US defence company Northrop Grumman. In future it is expected to hold palm prints, facial images and video sequences.”
Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, a deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguards people’s private communications and financial information. “Protecting anonymity isn’t a fight that can be won. Anyone that’s typed in their name on Google understands that,” said Kerr. Kurt Opsahl of the EFF said Kerr ignores the distinction between sacrificing protection from an intrusive government and voluntarily disclosing information in exchange for a service. “There is something fundamentally different from the government having information about you than private parties. We shouldn’t have to give people the choice between taking advantage of modern communication tools and sacrificing their privacy.” Kerr’s comments come as Congress is taking a second look at the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act, requiring a court order for surveillance on U.S. soil. The White House argued that the law was obstructing intelligence gathering.
“The MPAA is applauding top Democratic politicians for introducing an anti-piracy bill that threatens the nation’s colleges with the loss of a $100B a year in federal financial aid should they fail to have a technology plan to combat illegal file sharing. The proposal, which is embedded in a 747-page bill, has alarmed university officials. ‘Such an extraordinarily inappropriate and punitive outcome would result in all students on that campus losing their federal financial aid — including Pell grants and student loans that are essential to their ability to attend college, advance their education, and acquire the skills necessary to compete in the 21st-century economy,’ said university officials in a letter to Congress. ‘Lower-income students, those most in need of federal financial aid, would be harmed most under the entertainment industry’s proposal.'”
Creapy Creapy from Slashdot:
The US government is seeking unprecedented access to private communications between citizens. ‘On October 8, 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati granted the government’s request for a full-panel hearing in United States v. Warshak case centering on the right of privacy for stored electronic communications. … the position that the United States government is taking if accepted, may mean that the government can read anybody’s email at any time without a warrant.
On the ‘up side’ from the Washington Post:
The AT&T whistle blower Mark Klein is
in Washington this week to share his story in the hope that it will persuade lawmakers not to grant legal immunity to telecommunications firms that helped the government in its anti-terrorism efforts.
“If they’ve done something massively illegal and unconstitutional — well, they should suffer the consequences,” Klein said. “It’s not my place to feel bad for them. They made their bed, they have to lie in it. The ones who did [anything wrong], you can be sure, are high up in the company. Not the average Joes, who I enjoyed working with.”
The job entailed building a “secret room” in an AT&T office 10 blocks away, he said. By coincidence, in October 2003, Klein was transferred to that office and assigned to the Internet room. He asked a technician there about the secret room on the 6th floor, and the technician told him it was connected to the Internet room a floor above. The technician, who was about to retire, handed him some wiring diagrams.
“That was my ‘aha!’ moment,” Klein said. “They’re sending the entire Internet to the secret room.”
The diagram showed splitters, glass prisms that split signals from each network into two identical copies. One fed into the secret room, the other proceeded to its destination, he said.
“This splitter was sweeping up everything, vacuum-cleaner-style,” he said. “The NSA is getting everything. These are major pipes that carry not just AT&T’s customers but everybody’s.”
One of Klein’s documents listed links to 16 entities, including Global Crossing, a large provider of voice and data services in the United States and abroad; UUNet, a large Internet provider in Northern Virginia now owned by Verizon; Level 3 Communications, which provides local, long-distance and data transmission in the United States and overseas; and more familiar names such as Sprint and Qwest. It also included data exchanges MAE-West and PAIX, or Palo Alto Internet Exchange, facilities where telecom carriers hand off Internet traffic to each other.
“I flipped out,” he said. “They’re copying the whole Internet. There’s no selection going on here. Maybe they select out later, but at the point of handoff to the government, they get everything.”
Qwest has not been sued because of media reports last year that said the company declined to participate in an NSA program to build a database of domestic phone-call records out of concern about its legality. What the documents show, Klein contends, is that the NSA apparently was collecting several carriers’ communications, probably without their consent.
Another document showed that the NSA installed in the room a semantic traffic analyzer made by Narus, which Klein said indicated that the NSA was doing content analysis.
This is an hour long presentation by Violet Blue. It is quite interesting covering a range of issues about sex and privacy online. The most interesting one directly related to identity was 2257 laws. Go to 32:30 in the video to see her discussion of this topic.
It mandates producers of pornography document the ages of those who perform in their films and that this documentation regularly is a photo of the performer with their ‘government issued ID and Social Security Card’ thus revealing basically all the information you need to steal their identities.
The 2257 legal requirements have the potential to become a business opportunity for some enterprising identity company to meet these requirements in a privacy protecting manner.
Majority on partially divided three-judge Sixth Circuit panel strikes down as facially unconstitutional the recordkeeping requirements federal criminal law places on producers of images of “actual sexually explicit conduct” to verify the ages of those depicted in the images: Describing the federal statute at issue, the majority opinion explains, “The plain text, the purpose, and the legislative history of the statute make clear that Congress was concerned with all child pornography and considered recordkeeping important in battling all of it, without respect to the creator’s motivation.” The majority proceeds to hold the statute facially overbroad and then strikes down the law as unconstitutional.