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Email Encryption: What Are You Waiting For?
By: Michael Lowry
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    2007-11-14

    Table of Contents:
  • Email Encryption: What Are You Waiting For?
  • The Basics
  • You Want More?
  • Conclusion

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    Email Encryption: What Are You Waiting For?


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    It's funny how even the smallest things are all connected to the big scheme of things. I mean just the other day I stubbed my pinkie toe and couldn't walk for a week. Well actually that never happened, but you can imagine how horrific it could have been. But how would you feel if your individual emails were being read by the federal government? That's quite a leap, I know, but if you're interested in learning more about this extremely relevant topic, then please keep reading.

    Unless you've been living in a cave or just plain refuse to listen to, read, or watch the news, then you've probably heard a lot about the U.S. government's spying program (in fact, you're probably sick of it). New information arose this week (11/7/07) from former AT&T employee Mark Klein regarding new ways in which the government has been spying on Americans. Klein was in Capitol Hill testifying to Congress concerning a bill that would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that disclosed private information about their customers to the government.

    As someone who apparently wants the terrorists to win (as least, if you believe some of the rhetoric out there), Klein's sole purpose was convincing lawmakers not to pass this legislation. He cited specific evidence about a "secret room" in AT&T's San Fransisco offices where private information between individuals flows, readily available to prying government officials. Klein's conversations with his colleagues led him to believe that there are somewhere around fifteen to twenty other sites scattered across the country. And this is just AT&T. So far, Qwest is the only major telecommunications company "known" to have rejected the government's request for access to data.

    The main concern, of course, is with how the information is gathered. Because the government doesn't have to obtain a warrant, they are free to sift through all the data and select whatever they want pertaining to who they're trying to implicate. After all, that's how a warrant works. And this "secret room" provides a convenient place where all the data is stored in a nice little package. It's a good thing we're a democracy, right? Right?

    Despite all of this, it's hard to say exactly who or what information is being looked at, whether it's phone calls, text messages, or email. The chances are low in fact, that you personally have been "spied" on. But still, even the notion of Big Brother watching over you is enough to give some people nightmares. That is why, for the remainder of this article I will be discussing one of our only safe havens, email encryption, and how it benefits the user.

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