There is a rumor going around (from “sources wishing to remain anonymous”) that claims that US Law Enforcement and the NSA have been asking internet companies for user passwords. The article originally posted by cNet has made the rounds this morning across a few sites; all of them pointing back at the single cNet source. Now on top of everything else that is going on many people are ready to jump on board with this and further denounce the NSA, the FBI, DHS, IRS, and anyone else in the US government with initials. But outside of the claims from a single blogger at cNet are there any other indications that this is a common practice?
An important step for privacy on the internet and actually people’s general right to privacy happened yesterday. Most of us have heard the rumblings of the CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) and also the Executive Order signed by the US president that allows law enforcement to simply ask for user information. These laws also remove the right to privacy and in some cases the right to anonymity from the public on the internet. What many might not know is that a limited form of these acts has been in effect for some time inside the infamous Patriot Act.