It was bad enough in 1994 when Congress passed the Wiretap law (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) which forces phone companies to install equipment in their premises that allow the federal government to tap the lines. Now, the law has been extended to universities, libraries and Internet Service Providers (like May First).

According to the NY Times, the universities are not concerned about the threat to our privacy since "the government would have to win court orders before undertaking surveillance." Huh??

Two points of interest for May First Members:

  • May First will never comply with such a law.
  • It's irrelevant whether we do or not. We get our own service from an "upstream" provider who may already be complying with this order and spying on all traffic we send.

The conclusion: assume all Internet traffic is being monitored. If you want privacy use encryption! For more information about encryption:

Instruction for setting up encryption using Windows and the Mozilla Thunderbird email client

If you are using May First webmail - you can use encryption with SquirrelMail (go to the main login page, scroll down to the SquirrelMail link, login, click Option, then click GPG Plugin Options).

More Info about the Wiretap law:

Inside Bay Area NY Times Slash Dot Wired