News aggregator Indymedia.us recently received a request from the US Department of Justice demanding website visitor information. This would make sense on some level if the DOJ was investigating criminal activity from, say, forum posters or commentors who may be inciting violence or making threats. What makes this particular request interesting, is that the DOJ requested broad user information for everyone that visited a particular website on a specific day. Will requests like these become a daily occurrence in the future, or will the government eventually mandate that all web traffic logs be saved and forwarded to some sort of new internet thought police agency for review? Given how things have been progressing in this country for the last decade, we would not be surprised with either.
In the not so distant future, if something is deemed controversial or inappropriate by a bureaucrat in DC, you may become a suspect or ‘person of interest’ just by choosing to click a link, even if you don’t read what’s on the page.
Justice Dept. Asked For News Site’s Visitor Lists:
In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.
The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us Web site “not to disclose the existence of this request” unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization.
The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded “all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us” on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to “include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information,” including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers’ Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.
I hate to say it, but this is nothing new. Â We’ve been living in a pseudo-police state since at least 9/11. Â There was a great show on PBS called “Spying on the Home Front.” Â I recommend it as a must-watch. Â The full show is available at http://www.PBS.org. Â I won’t get into the general bias on PBS, that’s a whole other discussion, but suffice to say, this show is well worth everyone’s time.
Basically, the US govt has been monitoring ALL web and email since at least 9/11… and I’d guess even longer than that.
I would have made reference to Echelon in this post, but some might label me a conspiracy nut.
Since we’re on the subject, yes, I agree with you. I have not watched the PBS documentary, but will probably pull it up later today. I do believe that every phone, email, and text conversation is monitored, along with all web traffic and electronic purchases, whether the purchase is made online or in a brick and mortar store.
Really, what we are talking about is just computing power and bandwidth, and we have plenty of both. In addition to monitoring by computerized systems, it would not be a stretch to suggest that all of this information is cross-referenced using some sort of associative algorythms, so if an interested party wanted to know, they would literally know more about you than you do. Shopping habits, surfing habits, ideology, religion, friends, family, even the routes we take to and from work.
Everything. We have willingly submitted to the ideas presented in 1984. Big Brother didn’t need to put a TV/Camera monitoring station in our homes — we did it ourselves. Built in cameras on laptops, mics on cell phones, etc etc.
We are certainly living in a world where the police state is around the corner, if not already here.