# Internet privacy poll

## How much does the US government monitor internet traffic

7 vote(s)
36.8%

7 vote(s)
36.8%

2 vote(s)
10.5%
4. ### Other

3 vote(s)
15.8%
1. Dec 15, 2007

### pervect

Staff Emeritus
Not sure where exactly this belongs, so I thought I'd try GD. Note that I have no clue as to the actual answer is, but I"m interested in what people's opinions are.

Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
2. Dec 15, 2007

### Cyrus

First option. I know the NSA records and watches everything with their supercomputers.

They have always had the latest TS supercomputers. Im sure the have a large room ful of very very powerful computers reading emails around the world, not just the US.

The NSA is above the law. For years it was 'no such agency'. That should tell you something. Its nothing but black projects. The building is literally a big black box.

Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
3. Dec 15, 2007

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Would "I don't know" fall under "other?" I don't think anyone checks every email, but I suspect (without evidence) that there probably are people who do get a bit more closely monitored (and of course there's no prohibition of monitoring non-citizens without a court order), and I suspect there are certain government sites that will attach a cookie to monitor what you're up to at least for a while. But, there's no way every packet could be monitored (or I don't think so anyway), not even for a keyword search.

Then again, I have friends who have requested their FBI files (they had a reason to need them), and were surprised at the things that appeared in them. One of them had written a letter to Gorbachev as a kid for a school assignment on writing letters, and there was a copy of it in his file! It wasn't a problem, because it was criticizing him, but it was still surprising that a letter written by a kid would wind up in an FBI file.

4. Dec 15, 2007

### out of whack

I was looking for an option between the first and second. I'm sure persons of interest are thoroughly monitored but I doubt they inspect every packet of an audio or video file transmitted peer-to-peer for hidden words, for example. So the "every packet" thing seems unlikely. But I do expect them to sniff everything they reasonably can at the very least on some random sampling basis since it's their job to keep ears and eyes and noses open.

5. Dec 15, 2007

### SticksandStones

Maybe I'm missing something, but why should it matter if he is criticizing him or praising everything he did?

I voted for the second option. I have no doubt that the constitution is ignored quite often, especially when it is so easy to do so with internet traffic.

6. Dec 15, 2007

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Because they were checking their FBI files to make sure they could be escorts in the motorcade for a presidential candidate, and if it was in support of communism, they might have been considered a security threat. I should have been clearer. It might not have been an issue if he had supported him in his letter, but a lot easier to explain his "patriotism" that he didn't.

7. Dec 15, 2007

### SticksandStones

Ah, that makes a lot more sense. :)

Thank you for clarifying.

8. Dec 16, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

I attended a lecture by (can't recall his name now, incredible guy)He is/was in inner White House circles. He's a former technology advisor to Chief Justice Warren Burger, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, The Executive Office of the President of the United States, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He's fascinating, if you go to the wrong places on the internet, for example I learned that if you subscribe to 2600, you will automatically be placed on the FBI's watch list. Don't do it. If you download questionable porn, go to subversive websites, are involved in subversize activities, involved in criminal activity online, yeah it's likely you'll be put on a watch list. The lecture was not for the public, but for us that are inside the Internet backbone business. It was a proprietary look into cyber vulnerability.

If you are an average Joe and use common sense, you will be unknown, there just isn't the time and personnel to evaluate everything.

Of course you will always visit websites that add marketing cookies that track what you do online, so be sure to have software to remove them if you don't want this marketing info tracked.

Last edited: Dec 16, 2007
9. Dec 16, 2007

### rewebster

yep--everything--everything that anybody does on the 'net' is watched by someone---and the more sites and 'words' you use that are 'bad' the higher on the list you become

so---you better watch out, you better not.......

10. Dec 16, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

Not really. If you have a private connection to the internet and depending on what you do online, you may never be subject to anything. A private connection gets you into the internet without the use of an ISP/content provider.

Seriously, no one cares if Aunt Ida is sending pictures of her grandchildren or complaining about her arthritis, or the condition of her peonies. No one is going to waste time on that.

11. Dec 16, 2007

### rewebster

Aunt Ida would be 'low' on the list---. Not too long ago, Google and other companies were included in some 'government' work of which Google wasn't going to supply all of its records. I don't know what became of it (another cover-over maybe)---from cookies to financial, its all kept track of someplace---it just depends on what you say (on sites and emails, just like the phones) and where you go-----

You don't think that the government is watching the Physics Forum?

12. Dec 16, 2007

### Andre

Just clean up the mess left behind. powerful tool.

13. Dec 16, 2007

### rewebster

14. Dec 16, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

I would assume so.

15. Dec 16, 2007

### Four

Has anyone heard of www.savetheinternet.com

It turns out that packets are monitored for p2p clients and instead of blocking ports some like Comcast inject packets pretending to be someone else and preventing a download.

16. Dec 16, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

That is a crock, people don't understand what premium services are, companies that buy premiuim services will not prevent cheaper websites from being accessed. It will be like it always has been. Large companies that can afford the best services and the larger bandwidths are going to have sites that download faster (one trick is to cache static content at locations nearest the end user all around the network) the better quality services have less latency, less packet loss, and less jitter. Companies that can't afford a Tier One provider, enhanced services, or ample bandwidth will have slower loading sites with more problems. That's just the way it is. The internet is owned by private companies and the better the service, the more it costs.

17. Dec 16, 2007

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
I suspect we've had enough topics with enough of the right keyword combinations to keep someone at the NSA entertained poking their nose in here every once in a while.

Then again, I don't have to guess whether I'm on some watch list. My signature has appeared on enough forms to order things the government restricts since 9/11 to guarantee they're building a nice fat file on me. What's pretty hilarious is the stuff I have purchased is quite harmless, it just sounds bad because of the name and what it's derived from, so it's on the restricted materials list.

18. Dec 16, 2007

### rewebster

I think I've badmouthed bush enough that I'm on his 'private' watch list.

19. Dec 16, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

You really think that was just the "flu" you had, huh?

20. Dec 16, 2007

### Four

Have you seen how they are degrading the services?

Source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,2217866,00.asp
Comcast is peeking & injecting packets to prevent connections to control internet flow.

21. Dec 16, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

This again is due to the public's lack of understanding of network management and the terms and conditions of acceptable use in their service agreements. You get what you pay for. Verizon's cellular internet service claims to offer "unlimited" internet access, but it restricts (doesn't allow) certain types of downloads that use a lot of bandwidth, so does AT&T, you can find the restrictions if you dig through their website.

ISP's have to do traffic shaping and network control, they cannot allow bandwidth hogs to cause network congestion. It's like if I decided to send a fleet of double wide mobile home trailers down a highway at rush hour going 40 MPH, blocking traffic. ISP's see this type of activity and can and will throttle back these hogs so that all subscribers have fair access.

Seriously, how fair do think it would be if guys like this are allowed to hog all the bandwidth and you sit there for 4 hours trying to connect and can't?

Last edited: Dec 16, 2007
22. Dec 16, 2007

### rewebster

I STILL don't feel normal----

----not that I ever really did, but......now there's two options--your mickey and bush's

-------------------------------------------

---there will be more data gathered about everybody more and more in the future

23. Dec 16, 2007

### Four

I think it would be fine if they would slow than a connection purely based on bandwidth usage. However ISP's are favouring some types of connections over another. I almost never use p2p, just the idea of ISP's shaping bandwidth based on the contents of packets rather than purely how much bandwidth is being used I don't want to accept. Also how its being done(packet injection/monitoring) is invasive.

Do you care about ISP's telling you how fast you can go based on what you are sending?

Last edited: Dec 16, 2007
24. Dec 16, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

Not if my contract doesn't have that guaranteed. You cannot expect to pay $30-$50 per month and expect the same level of service as someone paying hundreds per month or more. If you go cheap, you get cheap. Comcast offers cheap service.