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NSA reads email to & from US

In the first part of the last decade I spent some time overseas and kept in touch with friends and family via email. So apparently the simple fact that I was overseas makes me a “suspect”? After my email was repeatedly “lost” and then “found” I started to notice that there was often several days between when the email was sent and when it suddenly showed in in the email reader. Also I notice that often photos were stripped from my email. Others where I was living also noticed email suddenly appearing after a long delay — this was common enough that no one was surprised.

The veil of secrecy

The veil of secrecy

Since I was living in a third world country the assumption would be that their internet system was somehow defective.

But then there were reports of how the “bad guys” could slip messages into graphic files — things like innocent looking image files could hide something more sinister. Here’s quote from a twelve year old article from cnet.com dated November of 2001.

But as Provos went on to describe the ins and outs of detecting steganography — the practice of hiding secret messages in graphic and sound files posted on the Internet — it became clear that the comfort was illusory. If someone hides a message well enough, detecting it amid the swirl of other Internet traffic is a maddeningly slow and difficult process — and it might even be impossible.

Provos has been working on steganography since June, ever since USA Today printed a sensationalistic report, which called encryption one of bin Laden’s favorite tools.

Can we take bets that the NSA still considers photos as potential threats? One of the most common image files sent over the internet are jpeg files.

There is a high probability that the extreme lag (from time sent to time received) during the early zero hundreds (or post 9/11) was due to NSA (and UK) intercepts of email. The reason that image files were stripped from email was probably due to the over reaction and over reach of the USG. The stripping of image photos from email got so bad that when I wanted to send photos I’d burn them to a CD and mail them back home.

When did “we the people” become the enemy — because certainly my experience wasn’t unique. Other expats living abroad also have commented on the time lag in sending and receiving email and the stripping of image files.

Either the NSA has stopped tagging all image files as suspicious or their high speed vacuuming of all internet data can rapidly assess, tag and file image files.

None of USG spying on Americans should come as a surprise to any of us — from the very early days of the internet we have been warned by computer engineers and computer geeks that it was very easy to route all Internet traffic through a collection point and then after copying the traffic is sent on it’s way. Or at least I was warned by the computer engineers etc. that this was probably happening. GW Bush was most likely also aware of the USG spying because he avoided using email. No link — just the memory of Bush’s remarks about email — which may have been prophetic based on how his email was indeed hacked just recently.



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