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Hushmail – Email Privacy and the Government

By Internet Lawyer

If you think that your Hushmail emails are secure, think again. Despite the PGP encryption, Hushmail, a Canadian company, is apparently cooperating with U.S. law enforcement authorities who want to look at emails.

This raises many interesting legal issues but reinforces the fact that you should never put in email anything that you don’t want third parties to read. Assume the worst will happen. “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead,” quipped Benjamin Franklin. Consider this when writing your next e-mail. Even if the recipient doesn’t share what you wrote with someone else (and chances are that he will), your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or email provider may be gutting your privacy rights behind your back by giving copies to the government or even someone interested in suing you.

What’s the lesson for your online business?

If you make representations about your products or services, you better stand by those representations. And if your website’s privacy policy states X is true, you should make sure that it is in fact true.

As for Hushmail, it will be interesting to see if the company gets sued.

Hat tip to Iaian Thomson at ITNews for this email privacy story.

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Is Your ISP a Snitch for the MPAA?

By Internet Lawyer

The MPAA wants your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to fight piracy on its behalf. That’s like the auto dealership where you got your car selling you out to the police for speeding. Yes, you the paying client are supposed to go along like a dumb sheep by paying for the privilege of having your ISP work against you.

The point isn’t whether you should be infringing upon a movie copyright or two. That’s a debate for another day.

Instead, the issue is how long will you continue to elect politicians that let groups such as RIAA and MPAA run roughshod over your privacy rights simply because they’ve got the money to bribe Congress, coerce ISPs, sue the average person into oblivion, and even set up fake video sites to entrap you.

People just don’t have the right to take (copyrighted works) at their pleasure.” – Dan Glickman


Wonder how many piracy hypocrites there are in the entertainment industry? Want to bet Hollywood is filled with industry insiders who will never be sued for pirating a movie or music?

How about a new law that lets you search the homes of celebrities, entertainment industry executives, lobbyists, and politicians who pass stupid laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to see how many of them and their families are engaging in piracy?

Never happen. Instead, you’ll just get to wait to see if your ISP becomes your Big Brother who spies upon you for the MPAA’s Glickman and the cretins he represents.

Hat tip to Anne Broache at CNet

Does Your Web Host Support Killing You?

By Internet Lawyer

Is it true that a capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him?

That question now hits cyberspace with a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute. According to MEMRI, RealWebHost is hosting on servers in Texas an Islamist site, Alhesbah Forum, which has apparently posted a report titled “The Excellent Summary of the Rules of the Art of Kidnapping Americans.”
MEMRI states that if negotiations fail, the guide recommends hanging or poisoning the hostages in order to (a) prevent an honorable death and (b) avoid those messy bloodstains. Who knew there was terrorist etiquette? Perhaps they’re trying to save money on carpet cleaning.

According to the Free Muslims Coalition, Alhesbah posted a Muslim loyalty oath two years ago to Al-Qaeda leaders that included Osama bin Laden.
Before some idiot starts screaming “First Amendment,” let me point out that I’m not trying to censor speech.

However, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.
There are many businesses online who refuse to share server space with pornography sites.

How many of these same Internet marketers would object to sharing space with a jihadist site that advocates kidnapping and killing Americans?

Have you forgotten 9/11?

Government Wants to Replace Internet with The Matrix

By Internet Lawyer

The federal government is promoting university research into using a “clean slate” to build a new Internet to replace what we’re using today. Although being touted as the pursuit of something more efficient, the underlying concept is more government control and monitoring.

Welcome to The Matrix.

As a practical matter, this was inevitable. The Chinese and Russian governments are making vain attempts to wall off and control parts of the Internet. During the last U.S. presidential debates, President Bush referred to the “Internets” (plural) in response to a question. For Department of Defense (DoD) purposes, there is likely an Internet Two (I2)…with more to follow for civilian purposes.

If government can replace the existing Internet infrastructure with something that it can completely control, then individual rights are jeopardized. What little privacy remains online will disappear. Taxation and regulation will stifle economic opportunity.

While I wish our government the best of luck in developing tech for national security purposes, I truly hope that any attempts to reach beyond that scope to regulate private use of the Internet fail miserably.

Hat tip to Anick Desdanun at the Associated Press.