[tor-project] Teaching lawmakers about Tor for rule 41 amendment

Paul Syverson paul.syverson at nrl.navy.mil
Thu May 5 01:55:38 UTC 2016

On Wed, May 04, 2016 at 05:32:24AM -0400, Roger Dingledine wrote:
> Hi Alison, Kate,
> Check out
> https://theintercept.com/2016/04/28/supreme-court-gives-fbi-more-hacking-power/
> I think this is a really important outreach topic.
> A) We should reach out to the senators who are planning to fight
> the changes, to offer to teach them more about Tor and more about the
> Internet, see if they have any questions or concerns, etc.  I bet there
> are some staffers somewhere who are working on exactly this topic, and
> everything they know about Tor they learned from one scary video about
> the dark web. We should teach them how Tor works, why people need it,
> and why a diversity of types of users is key to its security.
> B) At the same time, we should learn what their talking points are, so
> we can be better at educating people about the issue. In particular, one
> of the quotes in the article says it's "possibly the broadest expansion
> of extraterritorial surveillance power since the FBI's inception",
> but at the same time, I can totally picture people saying "Oh come on,
> it's just Tor, how can that be such a big change?" We would be smart
> to have concrete non-Tor examples of what these new powers would allow,
> so everybody can understand that these changes aren't just about Tor.

I am so totally not a lawyer, but 

Suppose I post a comment somewhere, say a news site or blog that
accepts comments, and I don't identify my location (district) in that
comment. Suppose the site allows unauthenticated comments
(alternatively, the site has a posted privacy policy to protect my
facebook/gmail/ whatever-they-use login credentials except for that
use and permits me to choose any available username, ---alternatively
alternatively, I use my regular longstanding gmail address overtly as
identifier for the post, but don't announce my district in any way and
I have never authorized Google to use or reveal my location to others.)

If I say anything in that comment that any magistrate judge anywhere
in the country can be convinced indicates there is on my computer
evidence of any crime whatsoever in his district (or a crime
such that activites related to it have occurred in his district),
then is it the case that that judge can issue a warrant to seize my
computer? (And in the alternative scenarios above, could they
then issue a warrant (subpoena?) for Google to turn over
records of where I logged into my gmail from?)


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