Declan McCullagh reports on another case of the CIA eavesdropping on the Internet. I am always a bit surprised by the surprise or "newsworthiness" of these stories. Of course the CIA is interested in this type of research. [ I'll also confess that the thing that really sticks in my craw is how often the same people that complain about this activity show up as the hypocrites who, in complete hindsight, "complete the maze from finish to start" after any terrorist incident by describing a clear path through the many false starts and dead ends of intelligence gathering.]
If there is one thing we should be aware of by now, it is that clear text is clear text and the Internet is accessible by hundreds of millions of users, so you should be operating as if you are being monitored anyway. You certainly could be.
Anyway, if there are terrorists out there using chat rooms, I sure hope we are trying to identify them. If there aren’t, this won’t go anywhere. I don’t know why anyone believes the CIA has enough time on their hands to do this kind of thing for sport. [Okay, maybe if they find a politician out there, they might stick around a bit ].
What I really hope is being monitored are the IRC sites that are preparing and controlling botnets in mass attacks across the Internet. Monitoring chat sites would be a great way to do this, in the same vein as Steve Gibson’s past personal research.