* * * Imagine a World With No Privacy * * *
- Imagine a World With No PrivacyBy Ron Branson
National JAIL4Judges Commander-In-Chief
There are two types of privacy in this world - i.e., "Close the bathroom door, please, I need privacy!" and the other, "May I please converse in private!" Although there are rumors of designs already on the drawing board of equipping modern-made televisions with two-way capability of visually recording in your bedroom, if placed therein. But it is this later type of privacy of which we focus.
Privacy is an right essential to life of which our Founding Fathers realized, and made provision for within our Constitution. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Fourth Amendment. Such right is now being sought to undermine. Even the Son of God exercised this right, "Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself." John 8:59. Privacy is a mark of prudent men, "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself:" Proverbs 22:3 & 27:12, and "A prudent man concealeth knowledge:" 12:23. People with nothing to hide, are indeed fools!
Yesterday, I was in the doctor's office watching CNN. Thereon it was reported that the government now records every key stroke everyone now makes on their computer. If this is true, them everyone's confidential password is recorded in the government's collected information.
What's more, we are informed that access to such confidential information is not only accessible by the government, but is also made available to thousands of outside government contractors with authorized access to your information, who are also engaged in the competitive enterprise of making profit. Indeed, it is reasonable to suspect that the most confidential of your personal information has been breached, and within the hands of those just waiting to see how they may exploit this information. In fact, such people and companies are being entrusted with private information that may allow them to impersonate you. Foreign governments are now using spying and hacking abilities to gain access to your private information. Notwithstanding, President Obama says those seeking to be private "have something to hide," http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGfEzLlcO_s
Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords
Secret demands mark escalation in Internet surveillance by the federal government through gaining access to user passwords, which are typically stored in encrypted form.
The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users' stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.
If the government is able to determine a person's password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.
"I've certainly seen them ask for passwords," said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We push back."
A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies "really heavily scrutinize" these requests, the person said. "There's a lot of 'over my dead body.'"
Some of the government orders demand not only a user's password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts. ....Some details remain unclear, including when the requests began and whether the government demands are always targeted at individuals or seek entire password database dumps. The Patriot Act has been used to demand entire database dumps of phone call logs, and critics have suggested its use is broader. "The authority of the government is essentially limitless" under that law, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Senate Intelligence committee, said at a Washington event this week. ....
Questions of law
Whether the National Security Agency or FBI has the legal authority to demand that an Internet company divulge a hashed password, salt, and algorithm remains murky.
"This is one of those unanswered legal questions: Is there any circumstance under which they could get password information?" said Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society. "I don't know." ....If the government can subsequently determine the password, "there's a concern that the provider is enabling unauthorized access to the user's account if they do that," Granick said. That could, she said, raise legal issues under the Stored Communications Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University and a former federal prosecutor, disagrees. First, he said, "impersonating someone is legal" for police to do as long as they do so under under court supervision through the Wiretap Act.
Second, Kerr said, the possibility that passwords could be used to log into users' accounts is not sufficient legal grounds for a Web provider to refuse to divulge them. "I don't know how it would violate the Wiretap Act to get information lawfully only on the ground that the information might be used to commit a Wiretap violation," he said.
The Justice Department has argued in court proceedings before that it has broad legal authority to obtain passwords. In 2011, for instance, federal prosecutors sent a grand jury subpoena demanding the password that would unlock files encrypted with the TrueCrypt utility.
The Florida man who received the subpoena claimed the Fifth Amendment, which protects his right to avoid self-incrimination, allowed him to refuse the prosecutors' demand. In February 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit agreed, saying that because prosecutors could bring a criminal prosecution against him based on the contents of the decrypted files, the man "could not be compelled to decrypt the drives."
In January 2012, a federal district judge in Colorado reached the opposite conclusion, ruling that a criminal defendant could be compelled under the All Writs Act to type in the password that would unlock a Toshiba Satellite laptop. ....
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RB: - The above article abounds with many technical and difficult words and terms. For this reason, the above article is purposely pared down. The entire text is available to those wishing to wade through these technical terms by executing the above URL.