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Homeland Security opening private mail

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posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:20 PM
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WASHINGTON - 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


Wow. I really don't understand how personal mail can be subjected to this type of scrutiny. On the other hand we all know that the NSA eavesdrops on just about any communication. Use email instead and encryption, the best you can find. At least make it tough for these scumbag prying eyes.


link: www.msnbc.msn.com...

brill

[edit on 6-1-2006 by brill]




posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:26 PM
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They opened his mail, big deal .....

But i think this 81 year old is being a bit paranoid if he really beleives that he is "under Surveilance", limited resources have much better uses.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:31 PM
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I understand and support personal liberty as much as possible and whenever i can, but it's still hard to dismiss the idea that if you aren't doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:32 PM
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Originally posted by brill
Use email instead and encryption, the best you can find.
[edit on 6-1-2006 by brill]


Heres a thought - "Do you really think that there is any encryption software, anywhwere that is commercially available, that the NSA can't crack?"

Hehe, just to stir the pot a little bit.

Other than that it was na interesting read about Homeland Security's paranoia.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:34 PM
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Originally posted by NumberCruncher
They opened his mail, big deal .....

But i think this 81 year old is being a bit paranoid if he really beleives that he is "under Surveilance", limited resources have much better uses.


Great let them open your private mail and do with it as they please. You may be so insecure as to have others trample your privacy but others might have a real problem with it. You missed the point completely...


brill



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:34 PM
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I was under the impression that PGP isn't crackable yet, but I may be mistaken on this.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:36 PM
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Originally posted by SonOfDaedalus

Originally posted by brill
Use email instead and encryption, the best you can find.
[edit on 6-1-2006 by brill]


Heres a thought - "Do you really think that there is any encryption software, anywhwere that is commercially available, that the NSA can't crack?"

Hehe, just to stir the pot a little bit.

Other than that it was na interesting read about Homeland Security's paranoia.


It's blatantly obvious that current encryption methods could be circumvented by the NSA. It was more of a joke than anything serious.

EDIT: Just to add to SonofDaedalus interesting point, here's a link discussing a bit more of PGP/NSA:

www.strategypage.com...

I agree with one part. Whether or not PGP can be decoded by the NSA is something you or I will probably never know for certain.

EDIT #2: A link form Zimmermann the creator of PGP, a good read:

www.philzimmermann.com...

brill

[edit on 6-1-2006 by brill]

[edit on 6-1-2006 by brill]

[edit on 6-1-2006 by brill]



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:37 PM
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No i think they can crack basically anything, use encryption software if your hiding something from say hackers or a business rivalry or your wife or girlfriend say, but if your trying to hide things from the powers that would be, theyll crack it im sure of it.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:40 PM
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Originally posted by NumberCruncher
They opened his mail, big deal .....


Are you serious? What a totally myopic statement to make.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:52 PM
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Originally posted by Valhall

Originally posted by NumberCruncher
They opened his mail, big deal .....


Are you serious? What a totally myopic statement to make.



Why is it ? We are at war with Terrorism and Islamic radicals, correspondence has always been subject to scrutiny in times of war.

Id rather they opened suspicious mail and the likes than ignored everything in the name of "civil Libertys"



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:57 PM
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Originally posted by NumberCruncher

Why is it ? We are at war with Terrorism and Islamic radicals, correspondence has always been subject to scrutiny in times of war.

Id rather they opened suspicious mail and the likes than ignored everything in the name of "civil Libertys"


So what made it "suspicious"? What do you know that makes you so ready to say this is a "get over it" event?



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 09:59 PM
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Well, for the sake of "terrorism" i guess i could deal with it. My mailman in Arizona was something special. The letters were always opened (no markings) and boxes were always open.
One day he knocked on my door to tell me he had a letter and to please sign. I looked puzzled and he said "Oh, your rent is late, its just from the management" AND THAT LETTER was also opened.

I called and complained about him and didnt see him again.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 10:11 PM
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Originally posted by NumberCruncher

Originally posted by Valhall

Originally posted by NumberCruncher
They opened his mail, big deal .....


Are you serious? What a totally myopic statement to make.



Why is it ? We are at war with Terrorism and Islamic radicals, correspondence has always been subject to scrutiny in times of war.

Id rather they opened suspicious mail and the likes than ignored everything in the name of "civil Libertys"


The article did state that the contact was a 'devout Catholic', not that this implies any wrongdoing in either case. What angers me is the arrogance from the CBP spokesperson:


However, Mohan declined to outline what criteria are used to determine when a piece of personal correspondence should be opened, but said, “obviously it’s a security-related criteria.”


brill



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 10:12 PM
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Originally posted by brill
Use email instead and encryption, the best you can find
[edit on 6-1-2006 by brill]


Interesting article, brill.

One the note of encryption, do you really think that the NSA, Australia's Defence Signals Directorate, etc. would actually let commercial encryption software enter the market if they could not thoroughly break the key?

Very unlikely, I say.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 10:28 PM
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Originally posted by Valhall

Originally posted by NumberCruncher

Why is it ? We are at war with Terrorism and Islamic radicals, correspondence has always been subject to scrutiny in times of war.

Id rather they opened suspicious mail and the likes than ignored everything in the name of "civil Libertys"


So what made it "suspicious"? What do you know that makes you so ready to say this is a "get over it" event?


There could be so many reasons let me give you a hypthetical ....

The man who wrote the Letter before posting it unwittingly touched a door handle that some criminal had touched, the criminal left residues of explosives on the handle.

When the poster sent the letter he left residue of explosives on it, when the envelope arrived in the USA a beagle started barking at the envelope, they opened it and rightly so ....

National security is there to protect you!



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 10:34 PM
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So we have the resources to open mail between individuals, private mail which is illegal for any of us to do.

But we still are allowing cargo ships to bring huge containers into the country and we don't check those. Now if I was going to send a NUKE or chemical weapon into America I seriously doubt I would send it in a white envelope. But hey if someone does, homeland security has us covered.

Stupid things like this will be why after the next attack, public lynching of this administration will be called for. Stupidity and waste will be responsible for the attack as much as the psychopaths that plant the bomb.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 11:07 PM
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What if I was to tell you that if you have ever taken an over the counter medication or behind the counter medication, eaten any major american food product, you now have nanobots in you that put you under surveillance 24/7

Would you believe me?



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 12:22 AM
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Originally posted by NumberCruncher
National security is there to protect you!


I have no beef with that statement....but only to the extent that there is accountability in the process.

If you accept that the government can open your mail with nothing more than a mere suspicion and no meaningful process to prevent potential abuses, how certain would you be that such power would NEVER be abused?

I remain dumbfounded that so many are prepared in the name of the War on Terror to dispense with such safe-guards in the system. While the government is protecting us from terrorism, who is protecting us from the government?

Think abuses wont happen? Try to identify a single example in human history where unfettered power was not abused. Why is now so different?



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 12:46 AM
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Originally posted by loam

Originally posted by NumberCruncher
National security is there to protect you!


I have no beef with that statement....but only to the extent that there is accountability in the process.

If you accept that the government can open your mail with nothing more than a mere suspicion and no meaningful process to prevent potential abuses, how certain would you be that such power would NEVER be abused?

I remain dumbfounded that so many are prepared in the name of the War on Terror to dispense with such safe-guards in the system. While the government is protecting us from terrorism, who is protecting us from the government?

Think abuses wont happen? Try to identify a single example in human history where unfettered power was not abused. Why is now so different?




I agree with what you have to say ...

But accountability is already tying up to many resources and restricting effectiveness in the time of War.

The powers of Evil are now enmasse to destroy not only your privacy but your entire existence and the world as you know it.

I say save accountabilty for when we are again free.

And no where are no longer as free as we used to be, but there is plenty of room to lose even more freedom, thats why we have so much at stake.

Freedom is perhaps the defining charactoristic of being a Westerner, and that is in essence what we are fighting for. So much to lose and so many wanting to help us lose it.



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 12:51 AM
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Originally posted by SonOfDaedalus
One the note of encryption, do you really think that the NSA, Australia's Defence Signals Directorate, etc. would actually let commercial encryption software enter the market if they could not thoroughly break the key?

Very unlikely, I say.


Actually, with the success of open source and availability to get code or executable programs from any place in the world makes me think that it is very possible that an encryption routine would / could / has come out (possible PGP?) that isn't crackable by the NSA (yet).



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