Monday, May 13, 2013

What if the mailman was opening your letters?

In the title, I mention (metaphorically) a mailman because this will later be useful as an analogy for Internet communications being recorded. But for today, I'm only interested in phone conversations.

You may or may not know that Americans are very sensible to what is done to them. They disregard largely whatever can be done (even by themselves) to foreigners as was apparent during the renewal of NDAA by Barack Obama which allows the kidnapping and indefinite detention without charges of anyone anywhere in the world. But they care a lot about what's done to to Americans on American ground.

Glenn Greenwald (one of the rare journalists still doing real journalism), in an article for the Guardian discussed something that happened on CNN. The show host Erin Burnett was interviewing Tim Clemente, a former counter-terrorism FBI agent about the bombings at the Boston Marathon by Tamerlan Tsarnaev. And Clemente revealed that the FBI could access previous phone calls from Tsarnaev to his wife even though they were under surveillance.

What this means, and which Clemente made clearer and repeated in another interview the next day, is that all the phone conversations of everybody in the USA are being recorded and archived.

If you're not in the USA, you might feel safe, but the reality is: more and more countries (even democracies) are putting in place equipment to do the same sort of surveillance of phone calls and Internet communications.

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