OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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July 30, 2013

Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords
Declan McCullagh, CNet News.com, July 30, 2013

According to this report, the "secret demands mark escalation in Internet surveillance by the federal government through gaining access to user passwords, which are typically stored in encrypted form." The companies (for example, Microsoft) report that they are not turning over passwords, decryption algorithms, or salts. Of course, they are required by law to say that. "If the government is able to determine a person's password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user.... , 'impersonating someone is legal' for police to do." The lesson: do not store personal student data in cloud services run by companies that would be forced to comply with U.S. authorities.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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