Move over, NSA, the FBI, having obtained the entire Tormail email database is the newest organization to be revealed to have engaged in massive breaches of email privacy.
It all started when the FBI sent a request under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to a site in France for a case on which they were working. That led to the production of the entire Tormail database, which the FBI kept.
Then, last year, FBI was working on busting Sean Roberson, who ran a site through which you could obtain fake credit cards, FakePlastics.net. Vincio Gonzalez and Hugo Rebaza were Roberson’s co-conspiritors in the service.
During the investigtion, the FBI learned that Roberson’s Gmail account, through which he ran his service, also forwarded to the Tormail address “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Of course, the FBI conveniently already had the entire Tormail email database in its possession, so they simply requested a search warrant to allow them to search the database.
Here are some excerpts from the court documents:
Now, do we give the FBI credit for getting a warrant first, rather than just surreptitiously searching the database? Sure.
But the fact that they kept that database after no longer needing it for the case for which it was produced, not so much.
Tormail, for their part, now sports this disclaimer on the Tormail site:
None of Tor Mail’s mail systems are hosted on this server, or on any server that you can find the IP address.
Siezing or shutting down this web site will have no effect on Tor Mail’s services.
We have no information to give you or to respond to any subpeona’s or court orders.
Do not bother contacting us for information on, or to view the contents of a Tor Mail user inbox, you will be ignored.
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