Friday, August 25, 2006

When Kobi Alexander made a 1 minute Skype "call" he made a very big mistake. Not unlike Will Smith's character, Robert Clayton Dean, in "Enemy of the State" the call cost him his freedom. I am not here to speak to the relative legitimacy of Kobi's freedom but rather the nature of the incident.

In all the world the law enforcement/ information analysts (LE/IA) somebody knew either to monitor Kobi's Skype account _or_ they had the ability to monitor the account(s) of possible call recipients.

Because there are no clear international standards for personal privacy on the Internet then LE/IA is not prevented from eavesdropping on any Internet communication. So I am sure it was a simple matter to single out his Skype account and then just sit back and listen. IF on the other hand Kobi established a unique, anonymous account then the matter becomes a bit sticky-er.

Not knowing where a possible call would be coming from or who might be placing such a call then suggests a completely different scenario. Possibly LE/IA was ingaged in listening to Internet traffic directed to individuals known to Mr. Alexander. Instead of targeting a known or suspected/alledged criminal LE/IA quite possibly is listening to the incoming traffic of innocent folks in the remote hopes of catching a possiblel bad guy.

Here in the USA we have well crafted laws that are designed to protect individuals from unlawful searches. These types of laws have been extended to protect individuals from illegal monitoring of telephone communication, wiretapping. It is unclear to me the subtle distinction between voice communication carried by TPC (The Phone Company) and other electronic forms of communication carried by... in my case, my telephone service provider.

Bottom line: DON"T SKYPE! Somebody or everybody is listening to calls made and received. Or, don't be an internationally wanted fugitive and make the Robert Clayton Dean mistake.

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