Saturday, 15 February 2014

First Alcohol Now Email!!

FBI Seized All TorMail Mailboxes

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has seized the entire email database of a well-known anonymous webmail service TorMail. This means that all of your secret mails now can be read by the agents. The service was seized while investigating a hosting company accused for sheltering kids porn in 2013. Now the US government claims that it has uncovered lots of emails that can be used in unrelated investigations.

Seized from Freedom Hosting, the email database emerged in court papers in the end of January when prosecutors indicted a Florida individual for trading counterfeit credit cards on the Internet. The FBI executed a search warrant on a Gmail account the alleged counterfeiters used, and discovered that orders for fake cards were sent to a TorMail e-mail account. Then the agents obtained a search warrant for that account and accessed it from the FBI’s own copy of “data and information from the TorMail email server, including the content of TorMail email accounts”.

It means that the FBI collects data into a virtual lock box and leaves it there until it manages to obtain specific authority to tap it later. So far the agency doesn’t search the trove for incriminating evidence before receiving a warrant. However, now the FBI has a copy of the TorMail’s servers and is able to execute endless search warrants.

The problem for TorMail users is that the mail service once claimed that it was absolutely immune to spying. This move gives the FBI the second major victory over so-called anonymous communication. Back in 2013, the agency won a court order demanding secure email provider Lavabit to turn over the master encryption keys for its site. This court decision would have given agents the technical ability to spy on all 400,000 users of the service. Instead of complying, Lavabit preferred to voluntarily close down and is currently appealing the surveillance order.

As for TorMail, this service was known as the webmail provider of the Darknet of anonymous and encrypted sites and services, which makes the cache of the US authorities very valuable.

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