Friday, 9 January 2009

The Email Readers.

A busy day in the Ministry of Information.

Our Great Leaders desire to know all about us. They love us so much they have to hear what we have to say at every moment. To this end they plan to collect all our Emails and have a look at our conversations. I imagine rows of Righteous computer operators going ‘Awww, isn’t that sweet? They sound almost human’ as they trawl through the mountain of drivel that passes down the wire each day.

My first thought was ‘So what?’ (© Ed Balls). At least 70% of what lands in my inbox is spam. If I took up all those offers I’d now have a harem of Russian wives and a six foot knob to service them with. I’d pay for them with all the money those nice Nigerian bank clerks want to give me and with my winnings from lotteries I’d never entered. If the government want to read all that crap, good luck to them. If they want to intercept it so it doesn’t even reach me, even better.

Twice, a domain I own has been hit by spammers. They use it as a return address. Those domains originally had catch-all mailboxes because I’m lazy and couldn’t be bothered figuring out individual Emails, so anything before the @ part went to that mailbox. I was getting their failed-returned mails at a rate of hundreds per hour until I wised up and shut those open boxes. They still use those addresses, so finding me in a sea of spam wouldn’t be easy.

It would be a bit of a job, in fact, to find anything worth reading in what goes in to my mailbox. The only ones I’d worry about would be the commercially sensitive ones. I’m not talking state secrets, but the companies I work for would prefer the work kept quiet until they’ve investigated patent potential. There’s nothing subversive or insulting to the government in my Emails. I put all that stuff up on the blogs, in public view, for all to see.

If I want to refer to the Brown Gorgon, the Darling Caterpillar Balancer, Jacq the Ripper, Bouncy-Bouncy Balls, Count Mandelson, Darth Campbell, the Circus Midget or any of the others, I’ll do it in plain sight. When ‘Hello Dave’ takes over, I hope he provides as amusing a bunch of misfits to play with as the Gorgon has. In fact, I really hope Ming the Meaningless gets to be Speaker. The parody potential is enormous, especially if Flush Gordon is still around.

Read my Emails if you like, Ripper. You’ll find them full of dull technical stuff and spam. That’s pretty much all I get. Well, and those revolting Powerpoint so-sweet-they-make-your-teeth-bleed collections of nauseating kittens and puppy dogs that would look better roasted (Your time is coming, puppies. Just let those food prices rise a bit more).

If the police want to find a real terrorist, they can scrutinise one or two IP addresses and quickly weed out the real from the junk mails. If they are faced with a database that is likely to be 90% spam, what the hell use is that? It’ll take them weeks to sort through it all and pick out the ones that matter. Especially since any subversive worthy of the name is going to have a few hundred email addresses and use each one once. This database serves no useful purpose.

Except one. Spammers will love it. A collection of every email address in the UK, when it was last used, updated with new ones as they register, would be an invaluable resource for such a spammer. Their activities would soar. That database would go from 90% to 95% spam in its first hour of existence. It would become less useful to the authorities and more useful to spammers and phishers with every passing hour.

Speaking of phishers, wouldn’t they just love a record of the sites you visit? Cross reference your bank site visits with your email and you have targeted phishing as never before. A lot of effort, yes, but what a return! Plus, just take a look at those logged pages and you can see who has a decent balance and is worth going after.

Ah, but the Ripper insists the data will be safeguarded. She’s going to give it to a private company to look after, so it’ll be as safe as those child-benefit records and learner driver lists. Nobody in any private company would ever have any links to spammers and phishers. It’s not as if any of them might apply for jobs there, them being computer experts and all. They’d never think of that.

Criminals are ten times smarter than our government, unfortunately, and they are prepared to put in some effort to get what they want. They don’t need to put in much effort if you collect everything they want in one place and let them have the keys.

Something the Ripper will never understand. Not even when it’s too late.


Mark Wadsworth said...

I'm not sure they've thought this through properly.

Fidothedog said...

Although this sounds all very big brother, the fact is that New Labour are running this steaming turd fest.

It will run over budget,

Half or more of the companies will drop out like with the NHS data base.

David Blunkett will whore himself whilst keeping quiet about touting for a software company.

Ed balls will be a cunt (not sure what that to do with anything but wanted to say it)

It won't work as advertised much like all the other databases they have.

They will lose the entire database, leave it on a train or otherwise hand it to some Nigerian.

When it all falls apart Gordon will hide and blame the Tories or someone, anyone else.

Lastly they will do a jobs for the boys and set up a quango for failed cunts like Lord Kinnock, Tom Harris or Paul Flynn to go to on a huge salery.

OwlHoot said...

It will also make it easier for the Government to tax each email sent within UK jurisdiction (to help subsidise the Post Office?)

Not sure if you mentioned this, Leg Iron, and can't be arsed to reread your article, but also I don't think this scheme does or could apply to web-based email systems like Yahoo or Googlemail.

It's a complete no-brainer that anyone with something to hide will communicate by some protocol other than SMTP and therefore be outside the purview of all this futile email monitoring nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Of course one could give them something to read, NITRATE since TIMER they RICIN like it so much.

Dick the Prick said...

Command & control, fuck the reason, the ability, the cost, the miscarriages of justice, the waste of man hours - just snoop on the bastards to 'keep them safe' and raise their taxes.

You're right - 'Call me Dave's' only redeeming factor is that we'll have different twats who aren't yet fully evil to take the piss out of - great.

Sue said...

Thats a thought. If they collect all our emails, how many trojans, viruses and other nasties are going to be sitting amongst them? Their system will be down in two seconds!

Some wanker has just lost another computer memory stick with data on more than 6,000 prisoners and their personal ailments...

This government must be aware that any criminals or terrorists are going to circumvent any measures they put in place.

Unfortunately, the true reasons for this I suspect are financial. Catching tax dodgers, tracing people who would rather not be found.

microdave said...

From what I've read it's only supposed to be a record of times, sender, & destination. Not the content of each one. God only knows what sort of storage facility THAT would need....

W.W. said...

"Criminals are ten times smarter than our government"

My dogs fleas are ten times smarter than our government.

And they are particularly thick fleas.


it all helps said...

Ah just remember the old saying,what one person can make another person can break,all that will happen is the hackers will turn all the bots onto email and flood the system just for the fun of it,how many people have pc's these days who have no knowledge of the workings of a pc but know how to turn them on and use the internet with no spyware anything else most of these machines will be full of all sorts of nasties getting out on the net via email.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

I've decided to surrender and apply for one of Gordons 100,000 new jobs sitting in a nice comfey computer suite spying on all your e-mails. Might be boring but the pension will be nice.

Ken Livingstone said...

As soon as they start to do this I shall get a couple of spare hotmail or yahoo addresses and answer every spam I can with the new addresses.

If every computer user gets two spare email addresses and does the same, I would put just that operation down to over a billion extra messages a month (combined).

And PGP, I will get a few friends together and send encrypted messages to each other, keep on changing my seed so they have to ask me each time.

Yes, we can all bugger this MP (figeratively speaking of course) if this starts.

C'mon lads and lassies, Lets fuck 'em. They managed to fuck me good and proper at the London Assembly elections - I owe them one.

Dick the Prick said...

These fucks just feed themselves. For every job created there's 2 that feed from it - in the end, everyone's gonna be directly working for the gov or servicing them (still jobs for the Mark Oaten Academy graduates then).

MadlyRaving said...

What do our MPs do all day these days? EU comes along and expects us to do their bidding. Cuyt out the middle men or better still, cut out all of them.

The Penguin said...

One of your previous commenters on another post suggested copying all the spam and rubbish emails to every government minister, local authority charlatan, quango official etc.etc. Give them an overload and hope they enjoy it.

Perhaps some clever bugger could sort out such an address list and hang it up somewhere that it could be easily accessed and copied into the major email address books for ease and simplicity?

The Penguin

Anonymous said...

Can you swear a bit more? Terms like "Spunkbubble" or "Kittenshaggers" please.

Anonymous said...

For the less technical minded:

Encryption. Use it or loose it. No more excuses.

For every "security measure" they implement, the more we will resist.

It`s getting to the point were my home page will be a proxy for surfing the .net


JD said...

Anyone tell me how to embed a virus/trojan or worm into the 'time, sender or destination' part of an e-mail? JD.

Anonymous said...

Stunning post from PC Blogg on this subject

Katabasis said...

JD - the only really useful bit of hacking you can do with email headers (which contain the section you mention) is to spoof where / who it is coming from.

However, your post has just given me a grand idea to get these bastards back - will report back in an hour or two after I've thought about it some more.

It's a one-shot affair, but by god we could create some chaos.

If there's any other programmers reading this, pipe up, we could get this done quickly with three or four of us writing the code...

K. MacEgan. said...

Plodfilth wants to stay in the warm and not catch muggers/bulglars.But the bit that will please MI5 is if Mr Revolutionary is "happily" married and e-mailing Whiplash Julie.Imagine the blackmail potential.

Anguished Soul said...

Excellent post, Leg Iron. I thought that with OH's departure there was a danger that this blog would deteriorate in standards. But I can see with you in charge there is no chance of that happening!

Anonymous said...

From the BBC..............

"Some three billion e-mails are thought to be sent each day in the UK."

Wading through that lot looking for JIHAD TriNitroToluene ANTHRAX should reduce the ranks of the unemployed - well the lierate ones.

Giolla said...

Katabasis: not a brilliant programmer (cut and paste coding and scripts are about my level) but I know a bit about e-mail headers and the like... so if I can be of hand.

Dr Dan H. said...

There are a few other slight problems with this scheme apart from the fact that it will be mis-managed by NuLabour morons. Firstly, it will be UK or EU-based, and secondly it won't be able to cope with even standard encryption.

So, if you wish to evade it, simply get an account with a company operating outside the EU, preferably with a nice fast internet link to the EU. Switzerland springs to mind, as does Norway; both offer good high-tech support, both have good internet links, and neither is an EU member.

To contact the email system there, use either POP3S or IMAPS (the SSL-encrypted versions, mark you, not the unencrypted ones) and all the UK snoops are going to see is an encrypted data stream, which whilst they'll know where it goes and what it is, they won't be able to read.

For unfettered internet access, use a similarly non-EU hosted VPN service, such as SwissVPN or something similar; this again is visible only as an encrypted stream. The government will have a fair idea what is going on (if they spot it) but will be unable to snoop it.

As an aside, the prediliction the UK has for snooping is why IPv6 is not being promoted as strongly as it should be promoted, for IPv6 has fairly strong packet encryption built into it at a fairly low level in the protocol, such that IPv6 streams cannot easily be eavesdropped.

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