NSA Interception In Action? Tor Developer's Computer Gets Mysteriously Re-Routed To Virginia

from the a-slight-detour dept

So this one is odd. A core Tor developer, Andrea Shepard, recently ordered a computer from Amazon.com to her home in Seattle. Yet, as she tweeted last night, something odd happened on the way to delivering that package to her house:
If you can't see the image, here's a larger version:
Also, some more details from PrivacySOS. As you can see, rather than go from the Amazon warehouse in Santa Ana, California up the coast to Seattle, instead the package went across the country to Dulles, Virginia to Alexandria (right outside of DC) and was "delivered" there. Upon seeing this, my initial reaction was that it might not be a big deal. With shipping logistics these days, it's not uncommon to see a sort of hub system, where packages travel across the country from one warehouse to a shipping hub, only to be shipped back across the country for actual delivery.

But that does not appear to be what happened here at all. As Kade from PrivacySOS pointed out, the final Alexandria address is the final delivery location, rather than the sign of something in process. Also, the fact that it bounced around and then went "out for delivery" to that address shows that it wasn't just popping in and out of a hub for delivery to Seattle.

There are some possible other explanations, including just a general screw-up on the part of Amazon. But given the revelations of how the NSA's TAO group does very targeted spying, that often involves getting access to computers being shipped to targets, combined with the fact that the NSA has made it clear that breaking Tor is a priority that has mostly stymied them, this certainly should raise multiple eyebrows.

Filed Under: andrea shepard, computers, fbi, interception, nsa, routing, tor
Companies: amazon


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2014 @ 12:06pm

    Solution: Burn the computer and get another from a safe vendor

    The solution to this seems obvious, Amazon can't be trusted. If she ever gets her hand on the computer, she should basically burn it and buy it from a more trustworthy vendor. There's no telling what hidden software the NSA might sneak onto the computer to make it less secure if it ever gets back to her.

    Obviously you can't trust Amazon not to cooperate with unconstitutional searches and seizures.

    I'm very glad now that my new computer I got for Christmas is from NewEgg instead of Amazon.

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