How The Telcos And The Government Are About To Boost The Encryption Market

from the in-case-you-aren't-already dept

There’s lots of news today about the (not particularly surprising) revelations that AT&T may have helped monitor internet traffic for the NSA. It’s interesting to note, with this news, the side story that AT&T also just revamped their privacy policy, allowing them to more freely share whatever data they collect with government officials. However, rather than discuss those two issues (which are being discussed widely), a more interesting question is whether or not this, along with the ongoing debates around net neutrality, will actually lead more people to simply encrypt their internet traffic. It certainly could open up quite the business opportunity for firms providing encrypted VPN systems that basically scramble all your data so your ISP can’t snoop and can’t prioritize (or downgrade) the traffic. Recently, I’ve found myself using a VPN not just for the security purposes, but to get around annoying port 25 blocks that won’t let me send out emails unless I’m using that particular ISP’s mail server. So, with all these efforts to snoop on traffic or “shape” traffic, perhaps all the telcos and the government is doing is encouraging everyone to figure out ways to hide or disguise their traffic to get them to leave us all alone. Already we’re seeing some companies use this as the marketing peg on which to sell their encryption services. Expect to see plenty more.

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Comments on “How The Telcos And The Government Are About To Boost The Encryption Market”

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Mike says:

They're snooping but...

While the information the government gains from snooping internet traffic is a bit of a concern, if it helps prevent future terrorists attacks then I would gladly give up some of my freedoms for a safer place. The terrorists are trying very hard to conduct another attack within our borders and the fact that one hasn’t occurred in a few years shows me that the government is doing something right.

Franssu says:

Re: They're snooping but...

You would GLADLY give up some of your freedoms for a safer place ?

Those who would sacrifice essential liberties for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Ben Franklin.s words, not mine.

If you’re serious about giving away your liberties, why nor move to Iran or China ? Or North Korea ? These countries are quite safe from terra-ist attacks, methinks.

Howard (user link) says:

Re: Re: They're snooping but...

You beat me to it with Ben Franklin’s words…

We live on the thin interface between liquid rock and hard vacuum, and obsess over safety. There is no absolute safety, period.

I live in a state that allows me to carry a gun, which I do wherever it is legal to do so. I’m even a state-certified concealed handgun license instructor. Does that make me safer? Maybe, maybe not. But it makes me a free man, not a subject.

Texas CHL Instruction

DittoBox (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: They're snooping but...

Who are the “bad guys” everyone keeps talking about? What are “terrorists” exactly? Was 9/11 and our reaction to it caused by “Al-Qaeda” or did 9/11 and our reaction to it cause “Al-Qaeda” (or did it just make it a far larger problem than it was before)?

I mean no disrespect to anyone, but these are questions that we need answers to. These answers will hopefully stop the slippery slope were on when it comes to our liberties. I only hope that 95% of America wakes up and stop drinking $PARTY Kool-Aid.

Other phrases worth questioning:
It’s for the kids!
If you aren’t doing anything wrong you’ve nothing to hide or fear

Ben says:

Re: Re: Re:2 They're snooping but...

Actualy, Al-qaeda was around before 9/11 helped plan the attack and supported it completely, planning and comitting more attacks around the world. without a responce from us more people would have died, innocent people who do nothing more than go to work every day and try to raise a family. The Gov’t did the right thing as stepped in where it was designed to and helped to protect the citizens.

Voice of Reason says:

Re: They're snooping but...

A few might disagree with your position:

“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin

“A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both and deserve neither.” – Thomas Jefferson

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” — George Washington

While “the government” may be doing some things right, assuredly you can mean neither this current government nor these illegal “snoops”.

Denny Church says:

Re: They're snooping but...

Here, try reading a bit:

“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

The next two quotes may have you wondering how they are pertinent, but will remind you now that encryption (hence privacy) is considered a munitions (do this search- encryption + munitions) by the US Government.

“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” –PATRICK HENRY

“Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” –TENCHE COXE

I certainly hope this reminds you that you are an American; with all of the responsibilities that the freedoms and liberties entail, which are suppose to be ours, making the taste a bit more desirable- if not, then please take heed of the following words.

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” –SAMUEL ADAMS

jake buck (user link) says:

Re: They're snooping but...

If you willingly give up your rights, you are giving the terrorists what they want. No one is trying to attack the US, its so easy something would have occured by now. Getting a bunch of people to go down the road blowing up gas stations in different cities would result in instant panic. Get a clue. 9/11 was allowed to occur so the government could take away your rights. You are their desired result.

David says:

Re: They're snooping but...

Ok, if it prevents terrorist attacks sure, but what if they find out you’re doing something illegal. What if you’re doing something that isn’t illegal now but is found illegal in the future. What if 10 years from now something you did now you don’t want people knowing about? It’s about more than just terrorists, i’m tired of hearing them be the excuse. If we fixed the other problems in this country terrorists wouldn’t target us. Don’t give me they hate us cause we’re free either.

Rev. Johnathan Mayhew says:

Re: They're snooping but...


I’m not sure if you have any experience in the intelligence business but it widley understood there that AQ spent years planning the 9/11 operation and that the interval to another operation could also be years, even without any significant American response. The public doesn’t know if a significant AQ operation was ever blocked by post-9/11 government actions.

If one looks at the deaths on 9/11 and subsequent AQ-linked attacks from a cold and calcualting perspective it clear that they pose no real threat to Western society (Tont Blair publicly stated as much). Even a very small nuke going off in a western city would probably kill no more people than die from traffic accidents in the U.S. in a year or might die in a California earthquake.

From a personal perspective our chances of death from the next AQ ops, are ‘an acceptable risk’ if you drive an auto. Police work is only simple in a police state and government reduction of liberties is almost always permanent. I’ll take my chances and do everything I can to prevent a reduction in my liberties.


Mike says:

Re: Re: They're snooping but...

All I was trying to get across is that the government has to do things that may violate certain rights, but overall it is protecting the most important one, the right to live. We need to protect ourselves from terrorists within as well as those overseas. Al-Qaida is not the only terrorist group out there. The government has been doing things that are “questionable” for many years, but did those actions really affect the majority of us? I doubt it. It’s when details of what the government does leaks out is when people go all crazy about rights, not realizing it’s been going on for a long time. I’m not saying that I’m willing to give up ALL my rights and live like they do in China or North Korea, but the government needs to do certain things to keep this country safe.

ijakings says:


I think that its amusing how so many americans buy into Bush’s “Hello my fellow american penguins, we must fightamalise the deathly Teirorists. Osma been Looting and his Slightly different coloured friends have been throwing water balloons at our capital for TOO LONG. Therefore im declaring a state of stupidity where all americans must instantly buy the excuse that all the methods we are employing to snoop at your traffic are to stop terrormarlists”

The man is a joke. If you cant work out what he is doing why are you even taking part in the debate? Shouldnt you be sitting in a corner somewhere drooling?

Voice of Reason says:

Re: Re: Americans....

“The govt. has been plugged into communications lines since forever. Its nothing new.”

The “new” part is that they criminally feel they can check up on anyone at any time because of “wartime powers”, relieving them of the mandated court order intended to keep the law enforcement agencies able to conduct their business without tampling all over the rights of citizens to the privacy entitled to them by the Bill of Rights.

Your point is sound, but your context is lacking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Americans....

First off, the Supreme Court has already ruled that the govt. obtaining calling patterns is not a voilation of the law, so I guess my context is not lacking. No rights have been trampled, no one has had their privacy invaded (at least according to the law.)

This “firestorm” is all about bashing GWB, yet it was going on when Kennedy was in office, when Reagan was in office, when Clinton was in office on through today. Its nothing new, its just something that is being used to attack the current administration.

And before the foreign asshats decide to chirp in on how bad America is some more, your govt. does much worse than ours does, so shut the hell up. Take care of your own backyard before you talk about us.

Personally, I am a hell of a lot more concerned about some idiot at the VA taking my data home with him on his laptop and having my personal information (including social security number) stolen. I received a nice letter from the VA warning me about that one, so I guess that some alien will now get a job at Target using my identity. Where is the huge outcry about that one?

GetReal says:

Re: Americans....

I find it amusing that assbags sit back and critize Bush and his policies without having any real tie in to the issue. I am assuming by “throwing water ballons” you mean flying large planes into highly populated buildings. Lets get real here the steps Bush has taken have been severe and are most likely going over the line, but 9/11 opened a lot of eyes on our side of the pond. I’m not suggesting we give up liberties in the name of safety, but no one and I mean NO ONE is going to get it right on the first try. Bush tried his approach and we’ve found it lacking, now lets take steps to move in the right direction instead of pointing fingers.

And on a side note to this assbag – before too much criticizing of “Americans” gets underway, lets not forget that the world is a far better place than it would have been if not for our support in the World Wars. Most of the freedoms available outside of our country wouldn’t be around if not for us, and now when we need support the most everyone prefers to snub their noses at us. The is a reason all of Europe isn’t speaking German – lets not forget that.

Searcher619 (profile) says:

Re: Americans....

LOL!!! Come on man just come out and say it. It’s a huge conspiracy!!! But then again just cuz you are paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you so who knows? We aren’t a free country. We never were. We have what’s called Freedom with limitations. Which makes sense. Complete freedom is also Anrachy. To be honest why do you care if the gov listens in on our convo or reads your email? They’d be pretty bored if they peeped in on my communications. Since I am not plotting the next great american take over nor am I doing anything else questionable I couldn’t care less. Listen away!!! If our gov is as ciorrupt and many people like to think then why even bother voting? Why bother taking part in the process at all? I mean come on… To effect any real change we need a populace that gives a damn. Today’s America isn’t the same one that fought WWII. It isn’t even close to the one the founding fathers knew. Today people are lazy and only give a damn if they can’t get their toys. They don’t care much about obvious violations of the constitution the men and women they vote for go ahead and pass. Shoot most don’t even know what’s in the constitution. Until we have a public that actually has a back bone things will stay as they are. Plain and simple.

blargh... says:

Re: Americans....

Right. Water balloons. Water balloons don’t bring down buildings and kill lots of people. Instead of yelling at people “buying into” the Bush thing, you should probably be yelling at yourself to buying into the “BUSH SUCKS” thing. Frankly, our last few presidents haven’t been all that great. However, GWB decided to take a stand and, believe it or not, he is making a sacrifice: his popularity. You know, the thing that politicians thrive on. Why don’t you digest that in your little corner where everyone plays nice and tosses water baloons around.

Andy says:

port 25

If you want to send email using a server other than the local smtp server that listens on port 25 (often times with transparent redirects sending all outbound traffic to port 25 to the local smtp daemon), you should be using the submission port, port 587. port 25 is for smtp daemon to smtp daemon mail TRANSFER for mail in transit between hosts/domains. port 587 is for originating email. it’s a side effect that you can submit mail to port 25. the submission service on port 587 should support starttls (for encryption) and should require some kind of authenciation and authorization checks (so only users local to that server, even if they are connecting remotely, can submit mail to it).

No ISP should be blocking or redirecting port 587 (there’s no incentive for them to, other than lock in) because it’s meant to allow you to connect to your email account’s “home system” to inject email into the internet.

A better explaination is in the rfcs, 4409, which obseletes 2476.

But using VPNs and tunneling is good though too.

scott says:

wow this is deffinatly right to privacy…. now if only there was a way to set a trap for it.

but its more messed up than that. since the telco is giving up the information freely. you would have to sue the telco for it, and you wouldn’t be able to stop the govt setting up future deals like that(from the lawsuit) just discourage companies from doing so.

Searcher619 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“but its more messed up than that. since the telco is giving up the information freely. you would have to sue the telco for it, and you wouldn’t be able to stop the govt setting up future deals like that(from the lawsuit) just discourage companies from doing so.”

It’s been tried. The Supreme Court already ruled on this long ago. The telcos own the info not you. They only provide YOU with the info to show you how your bill breaks down. They don’t have to show you what numbers were called from your location and at what time. So they did nothing wrong. The only reason people are making a big deal about it yet again is the fact that the media is making it a big deal AND we have very short memories.

Louis says:

Americans.... by GetReal

Oh for christ sake. Every friggin time somebody brings up the bush topic some american has to start the “we saved your asses at normandy during world war II”.

You know what? All that happened nearly 70 years ago. My GRANDFATHER was 16 years old when Germany annexed Arnhem. And he`s moved on since then. Time for you to do the same.

Oh, and by the way, a large part of Europe does speak German. You just don`t know it.

Dennis says:

Re: Americans.... by GetReal

Louis, you’re right.

And way back when, France saved the US, so what.

If everyone wants to keep dwelling on what happened decades and centuries ago, you’ll use up plenty of energy for no damn good reason and in the meantime we’ll see more and more of our Constitutional rights eroded in the name of a “security” that was false in the first place. And all the while, more and more power and authority will be placed in the hands of big corporations until our situation makes Mussolini and his friends look like total rank amateurs. For Pete’s sake, shouldn’t we be looking hard at what is happening NOW?

And here is the US

Ich spreche Deutsch auch

et je parle un peux de Francais

e parlo l”italinio

and even some Russian and Irish Gaelic

and I don’t recall being conquered by any of the respective countries.

GetReal says:

Re: Americans.... by GetReal

Let’s clear some misunderstandings about my post up. My post wasn’t a pro-Bush speech. If you took it that way you only read the parts you wanted to read. My post was a two part response. One part being a response to the people that sit back and state that we’ve only had “water balloons” thrown at us. It’s easy to be on the outside and say what we’re doing wrong when you have no emotional tie to the events.

You’re right though Louis. WW2 happened nearly 70 years ago, so let’s forget that it happened. I mean history doesn’t mean anything right? It’s not like it builds a foundation for the future. You’re right – let’s forget about it. Let’s turn our backs on those that have stood up for us in the past. Let’s instead condemn and citizen them when our support is need most.

The second part of my post (which ties in more to the actual blog) is about the workings of the government. You’ll hear no arguments from me about the corruption evident in our government. To argue against this point would be pure ignorance. You’ll hear no arguments from me about Bush’s poor leadership. The fact is he should have been out of office last election, had we had a better choice of options than him or Kerry. However like mentioned in so many posts before, the corruption didn’t start with him and unless something is done it won’t end with him either. So let’s stop pointing fingers and instead take steps required to fix it. Until we stop letting people buy their way to the presidency things will not change, and corporations will continue to dictate policy via political maneuvering and bribery. America needs to stand up and wrestle itself free of this blanket of corruption and injustice, and the rest of the world needs to understand that the American government isn’t America.

History Lesson by Those With Short Term Memory Los says:

Jeez people

The only reason we got involved in WWII is Japan kicked our ass at Pearl Harbor. Even then we reluctantly went into Europe. Since then we have done nothing but “f” up every other place we have been – Korea, Vietnam, South America, Middle East nothing to crow about.

Terrorist attacks – can you say OKLAHOMA? 700+ people died there at the hands of our own home grown military boy (first Iraq war) Timothy McVeigh with fertilizer no less.

9/11 was the SECOND time they hit the WTC. Forgetting the attempted to do it backwards by putting bombs in cars in the parking garage?

Al-qaeda – term created because we were going to use the RICO act against Osama if we can find him.

Where oh where is darwinism when you need it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“my question is would 9/11 happened if BUSH was not in power?

And would all these ‘security’ measures be needed.

May be he is the problem”

Pull your head out of your ass. The president can’t go to war just cuz he wants to. LOL He needs to get the OK. Get real. Since your memory is failing you let me refesh it for you. Damn near erveyone in Congress was behind the war. They OK’d it by over 90%. So please don’t kid yourself. We would be in Iraq under ANY president. The President doesn’t have absolute power. The founding fathers made sure of it. I just don’t get people that make claims like this. Is there something in the water?

WirelessGUy says:

Ok people, lets be real

The first trade center attack happened before bush, planning for 9/11 was ongoing for two years, he was in office for only 8 months when it happened.

This is simply Mike’s opinion, and an opinion designed to do one thing…piss everyone off. Great job Mike.

Once you start talking anywhere, why do we all assume we have security as a right, priveledge, or any other silly ideal? Taxes pay for the lines, or at least for the discounts and USF money to fund the project, and anyone with a simple understanding can listen in. The radio spectrum is run by the government, so we only have a license to use it. DARPA (Not Al Gore) invented the internet. Even the US Mail can be opened at any time they want to read the contents (have since beginning of USPO). If you want to say something illegal, be worried. If you are not saying anything illegal WHO CARES!!!!! Get over it

Typo says:

Re: Ok people, lets be real

One correction: Al Gore stated “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” Naturally the Media twisted his words, but he didn’t claim he invented the Internet, did he? (You’d think reporters would be intelligent enough to report accurately.) And it’s true that Al Gore was one of the first political leaders to realize the importance of networking and without his promotion of it, the Internet wouldn’t be where it is today.

Ordinator says:

Port 25 Block

As for the port 25 restriction, it’s supposed to be protection against mail type viruses that spam mail out and send out using a different smtp server than the ISP’s.

To get that filter removed, it’s as simple as calling up tech support and asking that your port 25 filter be removed. After they do so, wait about 5 minutes, sequentially power-cycle your modem and routers and such and voilla, send away.

Or… as “Andy” said, using VPN’s and tunneling works too…

I, for one says:

Legitimate surveillance vs psychopathic freaks

It’s clear from all these comments that being spied on creates a lot of stress and anger.

You need to consider “What is spying?” and “What does it say about the person who does it?”

There are two kinds, legitimate and pathological. Although the first class is a bit fuzzy it accounts for serious and legitimate law enforcement or military activity where a properly identified suspect is observed following good intelligence. Nobody argues that this is a bad thing. We have been doing it for millenia. Infiltration and observation are vital tools of any police or military outfit.

Then there is “spying”, the pathological flip-side, which we are seeing more and more of. It is a dangerous disease. What sets spying apart from justified observation is that it’s premptive, speculative and driven by mistrust rather than knowledge. It breeds upon itself creating ever higher levels of mistrust, intrusion and paranoia. Spying is the preserve of the coward. It is exercised from a position of weakness, not strength. A strong and secure individual or organism does not live in fear of its own environment. If it wants to know something it just walks right up and asks. Clandestine spying is really a peverted and disturbed pyschological position. People who spy on others are freaks. They are insecure, often paranoid, of low self esteem and feel alienated from the greater society. Often they suffer malignant narcissism, a psychopathic belief that they are ‘above’ others, special, or carry some burden of unique responsibility. Engaging in grubby, dirty activities like covert surveillance, hiding in bushes or evesdropping private correspondence is an act of self empowerment. It also an act of self hatred. The only way they can be *loved* is to in control of others, create fear in others then offer protection, and they constantly monitor everyone to see who is ‘on side’ or ‘against’ them. Their world is black and white since they are incapable of forming complex emotional values.

Enough psychology. Just ask yourself these questions.

“Do I understand the difference between those who are genuinely looking out for my safety and those in the ever growing ‘paranoia industry’ ?”

“Am I afraid of such sad weaklings?”

“Who do I really need protection from, their imagined bogeymen or the spies themselves?”

Anonymous Coward says:

“wartime powers”? Didn’t the war “end” like three years ago? They’d be stretching that out a bit…

And I don’t know why any of you are getting pissed at Mike, HE didn’t bring up the whole 9/11 thing or Bush going to war…or WWII for that matter.

Everyone is crazy, me thinks. This has nothing to do with war,or terrorists, this has to do with the govt. being psycotic.

And, for the record, if any other country had done what Bush did, they would be labeled terrorists….

charlie potatoes (profile) says:

i wrote out a tirade then deleted it…its all pissing in the wind. we dick around and rant while the village idiot runs us into ruin..patrick henry said, ‘is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slaver?’ and i didn’t have to google for it… FUCK YOU TOWEL HEADS. If you’re not fucking outraged you are a god damned moron.

kushman says:


Many engineers disagree that airplanes flown into the world trade center would not bring them down. After all, they were designed to withstand multiple hits by Boeing 707s. And they fell straight down, instead of toppling. Look deeper into things rather than accepting what is given. I recommend going here and watch some videos.

Mike Mixer says:


I always knew that any spying the government did in our online lives was for it’s own benefit.They just want to shut out detractors and oponents because any terrorist with a lick of sense would be transmitting

encrypted material anyway. This whole charade will be the end of freedom in this country or it will be the beginning of some redneck paradise, who can tell

but the country isn’t ever going to be the same again. Too many affronts to the constitution have already been allowed and too much power is available

to way too few people with secret agendas and masters of their own to appease. Remember, the ones we see are only shils. The real power is held by people we will never know.

Brian (user link) says:

A powerful, inexpensive, and reliable VPN service

To get back on topic…It’s best to maintain your privacy no matter what. Both parties have their issues and the govt is not the only entity that wants to look at your data. 🙂

$39.99 a year Mac, Windows, and Linux

Also swaps out your IP address for one of WiTopia’s (company who offers personalVPN™). Gets around any “ISP Issues” and encrypts any and all data from your computer over any local network to the Internet.

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