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Author Topic: Homeland Security opening private mail
Transplant
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Babbler # 9960

posted 07 January 2006 06:06 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Homeland Security opening private mail

MSNBC - In the 50 years that Grant Goodman has known and corresponded with a colleague in the Philippines he never had any reason to suspect that their friendship was anything but spectacularly ordinary.

But now he believes that the relationship has somehow sparked the interest of the Department of Homeland Security and led the agency to place him under surveillance.

Last month Goodman, an 81-year-old retired University of Kansas history professor, received a letter from his friend in the Philippines that had been opened and resealed with a strip of dark green tape bearing the words “by Border Protection” and carrying the official Homeland Security seal.

“I had no idea (Homeland Security) would open personal letters,” Goodman told MSNBC.com in a phone interview. “That’s why I alerted the media. I thought it should be known publicly that this is going on,” he said. Goodman originally showed the letter to his own local newspaper, the Kansas-based Lawrence Journal-World.

“I was shocked and there was a certain degree of disbelief in the beginning,” Goodman said when he noticed the letter had been tampered with, adding that he felt his privacy had been invaded. “I think I must be under some kind of surveillance.” ...


From: Free North America | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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Babbler # 3336

posted 07 January 2006 06:09 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
“I had no idea (Homeland Security) would open personal letters,” Goodman told MSNBC.com in a phone interview.

Fool. Of course they would. Give a government excessive police powers and they will use it. As simple as that. The idea that the government will only spy on the bad guys is naive at best.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 07 January 2006 08:28 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, true. But I didn't know they were doing it like this.

Yet another brick in the wall.

Shit, we might as all well just wear monitoring devices 24-7.


From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4722

posted 07 January 2006 09:38 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hmm Canada opens mail all the time as long as its over the weight limit of 45grams or something like that. Then it gets classified as a package and can be inspected
From: n/a | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 08 January 2006 02:56 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, I've had packages come up saying "Opened by Customs". I don't really bother much with being incensed since it's computer parts and therefore way over 45 grams. The law says Customs can inspect packages to check for evasion of duty and things like that, so it's not a new thing. What WOULD be new is if Customs was opening personal lettermail (and, frankly, such surveillance has happened in the past. The RCMP photocopied the from and to addresses of lettermail going to suspected FLQ members back in the 1970s, and I believe some envelopes were steamed open and then resealed).
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 08 January 2006 03:02 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Drat. And there Tape and I thought we'd be safe if we stopped with the emails and switched to snail mail for the really steamy stuff. What do we do now? Whooping cranes twice a year?
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tehanu
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posted 08 January 2006 03:36 PM      Profile for Tehanu     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How about a heliograph?
From: Desperately trying to stop procrastinating | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7050

posted 08 January 2006 03:37 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
skdadl. Psychic powers is the money maker.
From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 08 January 2006 04:05 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is interesting. I always figured that if the government was snooping through your mail, you'd never know about it because they have ways of making it undetectable. (Did I just make up a new word there?) Looks like they're being pretty brazen about it, though. I guess they figure that if Bush can survive being caught spying on American citizens without a warrant, then they pretty much have carte blanche to do anything they want now.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
$1000 Wedding
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Babbler # 11486

posted 08 January 2006 11:09 PM      Profile for $1000 Wedding        Edit/Delete Post
An attachment sent on my Canadian based hotmail account was blocked for security reasons. I am researching and writing a book about the narcotics scene and an email with charges against a prominent biker was forwarded to me. Nothing confidential as they were covered by a local paper. But, the pdf document was RCMP/DEA coded.

When the email came through, the hotmail message read, "The attachment to this email has been permanently blocked for security reasons."

This is the first time I or any of my friends have seen this. I changed my account assuming my email is being flagged and inspected by authorities."They're out there."


From: Vancouver | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 08 January 2006 11:21 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
$1k wedding:

quote:
But, the pdf document was RCMP/DEA coded.

What does that mean?


From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
$1000 Wedding
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11486

posted 08 January 2006 11:39 PM      Profile for $1000 Wedding        Edit/Delete Post
I mean the document was a charge sheet to the legal counsel of the person under arrest produced by the RCMP in a joint investigation with the DEA.
From: Vancouver | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 08 January 2006 11:47 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by $1000 Wedding:
I mean the document was a charge sheet to the legal counsel of the person under arrest produced by the RCMP in a joint investigation with the DEA.

OK, got it. Do you think that Hotmail can flag documents with that information contained in them? Its seems crazy that this would be sensitive at all. When I covered cops in Illinois, the local police agencies would e-mail me rap sheets and news releases all the time. What if you had official business with the RCMP and an officer sent you a pdf? I know that Hotmail and other commercial webmail servers block .exe file e-mail extensions but this seems a bit extreme.

[ 08 January 2006: Message edited by: Américain Égalitaire ]


From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
No Yards
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posted 08 January 2006 11:56 PM      Profile for No Yards   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've never heard of this before, but I don't see that it would be too difficult to have your email server read some information from documents used by law enforcement agencies looking for a token field that tells the mail server that this attachment (pdf, word, excel, etc) was created by the DEA, RCMP, FBI, etc, and that the classification of the document i such that it should not be sent in unencrypted emails ... the email providers no doubt have certain restrictions put on them to help prevent illegal use of their services, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that the major law enforcement agencies have a code in all their documents that hotmail, yahoo, gmail, etc look for and block when they see this code.

If real DEA, or RCMP were going to send sensitive documents, then they would use encrypted email, which none of these email services would be able to peek into in the first place.

I'm not saying this is the case, but it certainly doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility, or even that far from the realm of the likely either.

In this case, it may be that the information, while unclassified now, could have been classified when this document was created, and it did not get updated with the new unclassified code.

[ 08 January 2006: Message edited by: No Yards ]


From: Defending traditional marriage since June 28, 2005 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
$1000 Wedding
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Babbler # 11486

posted 09 January 2006 12:02 AM      Profile for $1000 Wedding        Edit/Delete Post
Good questions American egalitaire. Hotmail traffic is so large that archiving and sifting through every email must be very cumbersome. However, I'm sure law enforcement can save their documents, pdf or otherwise, in a confidential way such that service providers can block them if their filters are set. So, I don't think it's content filtering as much as a hidden code that restricts circulation. I'm not worried about violating national security or law enforcement confidentiality as these charges were made public soon after the arrest. Service providers like to claim they only provide information in compliance to local laws, but that's a pretty vague and wide open policy. It doesn't necessarily mean service providers demand a court order or warrant.

I am somewhat worried that this block has resulted in my email account being flagged for closer scrutiny. I have nothing to hide, but it's a nagging feeling. One can check if their snail mail has been opened, but not email.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
aRoused
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Babbler # 1962

posted 09 January 2006 05:18 AM      Profile for aRoused     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
At the same time, MS Outlook this morning blocked an MS Access database that had been sent to me as an attachment, simply because of the file extension (.mdb). So your permanent security blocking might just be Micro$oft's attempts to assume you're a dummy that can't operate a computer and generally be helpful getting (surprise surprise) out of hand.
From: The King's Royal Burgh of Eoforwich | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged

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