Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thought Police Unite!

No surprise here:
A United Nations agency is quietly drafting technical standards, proposed by the Chinese government, to define methods of tracing the original source of Internet communications and potentially curbing the ability of users to remain anonymous.
But who's teaming up with China?
The U.S. National Security Agency is also participating in the "IP Traceback" drafting group, named Q6/17, which is meeting next week in Geneva to work on the traceback proposal. Members of Q6/17 have declined to release key documents, and meetings are closed to the public.
Don't get me wrong, as there are legitimate national security interests involved in being able to track Internet activity back to its source, not just communication between criminals, but also attacks on computer systems and networks. But does anybody here think that China's primary focus is on fighting terrorism or DDOS attacks, as opposed to dissident thought? And who believes that even U.S. law enforcement will use this for "fighting terror" - the excuse used to get the camel's nose under the tent for an wide range of law enforcement tools since used primarily to target "ordinary" crime. Also, just as stolen or disposable cell phones are used by criminals who expect to be targeted through those technologies, criminals who wish to use the Internet will find ways to continue.

I don't personally try to erase my Internet tracks, so nobody would have to work very hard to track me down from my activity. Anonymous proxies are a bane to my Internet activities, as they contribute significantly to spamming. But regrettably I don't expect either Chinese or U.S. legal authorities to focus their energy on that particular form of Internet abuse. But people who have legitimate reasons to try to shield their identity - dissident thinkers - can thank the NSA for teaming up with China to help ensure that the Internet is not a safe place for freedom of thought.

No comments:

Post a Comment