Greece launched draft bill on ensuring the secrecy of telephone communications for public consultation
24 July 2007
The wiretapping scandal that was revealed a couple of years ago in Greece (also covered in IEEE Spectrum) has lead to the drafting of a bill on ensuring the secrecy of telephone communication that was presented in the beginning of July and was launched for public consultation. In the explanatory memo of the bill it is explicitly mentioned that the wiretapping scandal has revealed that there is a clear need for additional measures ensuring the secrecy of communication, a right that is constitutionally protected under Article 19 of the Greek Constitution. However the new measures will cover only fixed and mobile telephony, leaving out the rest of the electronic communications. This was a deliberate choice, given that there are still a lot of discussions regarding them at European level and their regulation at national level at this point was considered as premature.
9 July 2007
Interesting article in the SF Chronicle (linked from slashdot):
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of pen registers in 1979, saying callers have no right to conceal from the government the numbers they communicate electronically to the phone companies that carry their calls.
Federal law requires court approval for a pen register. But because it is not considered a search, authorities do not need a search warrant, which would require them to show that the surveillance is likely to produce evidence of a crime.
Full article by Bob Egelko, Judges OK warrantless monitoring of Web use.
Two issues spring to mind after reading this article. First the qualitative difference between the traffic data extracted from phone records, versus urls or emails. The latter can contain search terms, as well as data. Second the dangers of allowing material that it would be illegal to intercept on the wire, to be seized as a result of a search.
8 July 2007
For many years the canonical reference for research in anonymity and anonymous communications has been the Freehaven anonymity bibliography. Claudia Diaz and George Danezis have now written a short introduction to this research field called “A survey of anonymous communication channels“.
The survey includes a discussion of definitions, metrics for anonymity, and then describes systems in order of strength. Th focus is on mixing mechanisms and onion routing, but remailers, as well as provable shuffles are explained.