Wiretaps and more

Wed, 05 Aug 2009

Well, the Government of Panama is really stepping on it this time. All communications: phone, internet, etc., will be regulated and subject to the scrutiny of the government.

I remember several years ago when Panama declared VOIP illegal and closed 23 commonly used VOIP ports. I laughed at their efforts, but made sure slashdot.org picked it up and ran with it. The nonsense was soon declared illegal by the Supreme Court. I expect nothing less this time.

I am surprised that this is actually moving anywhere. These are measures taken by petty dictators, not democratic governments. I expect if this passes, that I may be writing future articles from the local jail, as I will adamantly refuse to either provide the government copies of e-mail or access to my servers (and ISPs will be required to store e-mails for 18 months as well as provide copies to the government). I may just have to move my mail servers to another country.

But really, if folks would just wake up and start using encryption, the whole thing would die. OTOH, if folks would wake up, they'd stop using MicroSoft, too, but that's unlikely to happen.

Please start using FireGPG in Mozilla Firefox. All my e-mails are digitally signed. So anyone using FireGPG could easily send all correspondence to me encrypted. Then no one but myself could read it. And FireGPG is so easy to use.

If all e-mail is encrypted, it does little good for anyone to have copies of it. Without encryption, anyone can read it anywhere it passes on the wire.

Please start using encryption. It really is easy. And it provides two things: privacy, and proof of identity. Only I can send you e-mails with my signature and encrypted to you. Only you can read e-mails encrypted to you.

I've tried to push the idea of encrypting e-mail for years. All my other data transfers are done using encryption. The idea makes good, plain, sense.

But because governments aren't keen on citizens encrypting communications, companies like MicroSoft make it difficult to impossible to do. You need to find mail programs that have encryption software hooks (so you'll need to look beyond M$). But it isn't difficult. And once you become accustomed to it, you won't even notice.

So come on folks, jump on the encryption bandwagon. It's easier than you think.


Wiretaps and more

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