January 2008
Good NY Times Magazine Article on E-Voting (6 January 2008
A License for Geiger Counters? (9 January 2008
Hacking Trains (11 January 2008
A New Internet Wiretapping Plan? (15 January 2008
The CIA Blames Hackers for Power Outages (18 January 2008
Apple Adds the Missing Applications to the iPod Touch (23 January 2008
The Dangers of the Protect America Act (27 January 2008
Massive Computer-Assisted Fraud (29 January 2008

The Dangers of the Protect America Act

27 January 2008

Fundamentally, a wiretap is an intentional breach of security. It may be a desirable or even a necessary breach, but it is a breach nevertheless. Furthermore, the easier it is for the "good guys" to "break in", the easier it may be for the bad guys. The Greek cellphone tapping scandal is just one case in point.

There's another, more subtle, problem: if your wiretap is done incorrectly, perhaps by relying on incorrect information, you may miss traffic that you're entitled to hear (and should hear, to protect society).

The Protect America Act carries both risks. Matt Blaze, Whit Diffie, Susan Landau, Peter Neumann, Jennifer Rexford, and I have written an analysis of the dangers. It will appear soon in IEEE Security and Privacy; you can download a preprint here.