Thursday, October 30, 2008

How private is your email?

Boston Globe correspondent Megan McKee has written this interesting story about a controversy in Rockland. A police lieutenant allegedly revealed the identity of a person who, using an online screen-name, warned about an upcoming police sobriety checkpoint.

Questions raised include whether or not the police had a right to do this, but also whether they might have broken the law in doing it. One comment on the story at, however, suggests that anyone with basic know-how could trace the identity of a posting or e-mail like this.

The method described in that comment at least sounds plausible -- can anyone here confirm whether or not this is really possible?

1 comment:

whatcould said...

Chris, from a cursory look at the forums... very very doubtful that the cops could have gotten the identity of the anonymous poster via technical means, without, of course, cooperation from the forum owners. They would have had to resort to some pretty serious hackery (listening in on home internet connections, or watching the forum itself) -- stuff that would be illegal without a warrant anyway. And way beyond the means of a small-town police force.

My guess is someone ratted him out.