I have heard much about the government using Carnivore to monitor user activity. Is DreamHost planning to, or are now using Carnivore or something like it?
I sent an email to dreamhost that never was replied to on this subject.
Appreciate a response.
Thank you.

Nope. Not as long as I have any say about it (and I do, since I’m the head abuse policy guy).

Good question, though. I’d really like to see the larger ISPs and web hosts make some statement or another regarding their position on Carnivore.

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin

Although to be fair, it’s entirely possible that the FBI would go over our heads and install this type of equipment on our upstream providers’ equipment. From what I understand, Carnivore sniffs packets on the network, rather than requiring any installation on our machines.

Also, it’s possible that the person to whom you are sending mail or an intermediary network would be monitored. Basically, though, email is a very insecure protocol. You should not assume that any email you send is not being monitored. Sending an email is often compared to sending a postcard; and that’s basically how you should think of it.

If you’re concerned about email security, you should look into pgp, GnuPG or some other method of encrypting your email.

With a well chosen passphrase and some common sense, these programs provide a fairly high level of security (provided no one is monitoring your keystrokes, which is much easier than decrypting messages for the most part).

The only problem with this is that very few people care enough to learn how to use these technologies. This means that you will have very few people with whom to exchange encrypted email.

At the end of the day, though; if the FBI wanted to install such a system, there’s nothing much Dreamhost can do about it. Thinking of your upstream provider, and their upstream provider and their network, it would be very very difficult to make sure that this was not a part of the network, somewhere?

It definitely would be a problem. There would be no way we could know, authoritively. In theory any service provider could refuse access to the FBI, but I’m not sure if they could if there’s a certain investigation going on (and the events in this country over the last month and a half provide a lot of leverage to get this kind of stuff installed).

In the end, though, EVERYONE has an ‘upstream’ provider in some sense. That’s the nature of the 'net, that everything is interconnected.

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin


Exactly, and this is the precise reason why it’s absolutely impossible to know if you’re being tacked or not. That is, no way on the public internet.



Thank you for the responses to all this. I guess Big Brother is watching and I don’t like it. I would prefer we had a right to privacy. Perhaps one day in more democratic times it may come to pass.

I think Big Brother would be pretty bored by anything I have to say :slight_smile:

If you’re based in the US, the chances of private internet sessions are slim to none these days. I’m sure a more formal act will be passed as a results of the September 11th attacks.

Or, they will be using this as an excuse to push tighter controls. Either way, I wouldn’t exactly go about plotting a big terror attack on the net if I was you.

If you do have sensitive data however, have you looked at programs such as PGP which will encrypt your communications, mainly email?


The only problem with PGP and GnuPG is that hardly anyone else uses it (and there are so many conflicting standards)… mutt uses PGP/MIME, which is the ‘right’ way to do things, but pretty much no other mailers support this.

I am 100% in agreement with your statements about the current situation of online freedom, although i read an article in the register about some similar legislation in the uk.

i’ve always hated canada (sorry) but i’m getting awefully tempted to move there now.

i’m not really worried about terrorists still, but i’m awefully worried about my own government.

i like the eff’s ( coverage and analysis of issues affecting online freedom, especially in the current climate.

It’s a shame that the EFF have lost a lot of their power and coverage amongst net users.

Remember back in 1996, or 1997(?) when Yahoo turned all the background colour of their pages black for the day to raise awareness for the need of freedom of speech on the Internet?

I am with you on your concerns about what the US Government is doing in light of these attacks. I think you’ll find in a few months, or even years that the Government are illegally eavesdropping and surveying people and organizations right now as we speak. I’m sure they will ride something on the back of this Terrorist attack.

I do urge you to reconsider your move to Canada however :wink:

[quote]i’ve always hated canada (sorry)


I thought only Canadians would hate their neighbo(u)ring country to the South (for their stronger currency, economy, etc.) and not the other way round :slight_smile:

Will is just grumpy. Canada rocks (or at least, it did when I was in Vancouver last year - beautiful land, friendly people, etc).

I can’t say much for their effect on American music though…

(yes, this is definitely a tangent)

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin

well i did say i was thinking of moving there :>

i was mostly joking, but there is something a bit wacky about those canucks, eh?

LOL! I’m not offended at all, Will, but I happen to be one of those wacky guys :smiley:

Jeff, you’re right: Vancouver is actually the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited; I’ll probably move there when I’m retired.

I’ve considered it. It’s the only place in Canada I’ve ever spent any time, though, so I don’t know if it’s representative of the country as a whole.

I’m originally from Washington State, though, so it’s not all that much of a difference. Kind of funny though how only a few miles over the border I got comments about my American accent. :>

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin

. . . WHAT effect on American music?