Packages to Tehran

Say Uncle has an interesting suggestion:

I think I’m going to start mailing highlighted copies of the fourth amendment to addresses in Tehran.

At GRPC 2000 I hinted at an alternative to this general idea in terms of email instead of snail mail. Now I present this idea with a little more detail.

You can send 1000 encrypted emails a day for less money than one letter to Tehran per week. And you probably don’t need to send it to Tehran to get the attention of the spooks. Just sending encrypted email to Europe with interesting subject lines would probably be sufficient. From your own home here in the states you can set up a computer account in Europe pretty easily. You install program on that computer which automatically accepts email messages and replies back a few random minutes later with another encrypted email. You do the same with a few computers at home and the homes of your friends (or perhaps your enemies). Basically you have a bunch of bots talking about “interesting subjects” to each other with the contents encrypted.

There are some twists on this such as doing it in such a way you can find out if the snoops were successful in decrypting the mail and reading it. Another twist is to make it impossible for them to read it. Yes, there are unbreakable encryption methods–in general you have a terrible key distribution problem but in this case you don’t have to actually open the email on the receiving side. Your bot just replies with another unbreakable email message with an interesting subject line. Hence the decryption key doesn’t have to actually be delivered to the bot that receives it.

Of course this might result in you becoming acquainted with your local FBI agents on a first name basis no matter how innocuous the decrypted messages and no matter how much effort you put into hiding your identity. It just depends on the number of hours of laughter required to compensate you for the hours of laying naked on a concrete floor in the dark with buckets of cold water being thrown at you every few minutes.