Smart arms dealers don’t use Gmail

04 Sep

It’s not often you come across a story that crosses the “dumb criminal” with the “evil corporation,” which is why I found the tale of Belgian arms dealer Jacques Monsieur particularly noteworthy.

Mr. Monsieur (ha!) was arrested last week in New York after he stepped off a flight from France. Known as the “Field Marshal,” Monsieur was trying to sell American F-5 fighter jet engines to Iran. He’s had a long history of arms dealing, going back over 20 years, according to Wired, and he’s escaped prosecution several times.

Authorities nailed him after getting his email records from Google - it seems Monsieur was a big Gmail user. Google was also ordered to keep quiet the fact that they’d turned over the records, so that Monsieur wouldn’t be tipped off that the authorities were on to him.

On the one hand, if you were an international arms dealer (and man of mystery), you might want to use something more secure than Google’s free, public email (especially when it seems to suffer frequent outages). On the other hand, even though Google clearly spells out in its privacy policy that it can turn your over your records if required by law, it seems pretty happy to do so without much resistance.

Oh well, at least Google isn’t asking to be paid for the information (as far as we know), like certain internet service providers are doing.

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Posted by on September 4, 2009 in Google, internet, telecommunications, war, weapons


3 responses to “Smart arms dealers don’t use Gmail

  1. Matt Shepherd

    September 4, 2009 at 8:56 am

    They’re going to Kyrie Mr. Monsieur’s ass to prison, I guess. One hopes he will take his broken wings and learn to fly again.


    September 8, 2009 at 4:13 am

    A couple years a go a friend of mine was growing a little concerned about his privacy as he noticed the ads on gmail becoming more and more focused on items he had mentioned in his emails. He became a little obsessed with it.

    I wanted to wind him up, so I sent him a couple detailed emails confirming his involvement in a fictional terrorist plot.

    No ads appeared in gmail and he bacame paranoid that Google would turn him over to CSIS, and he’d have cops bashing down his door.

    I thought it was hillarious, but I see now that perhaps his paranoid fears weren’t too far from a possible reality.

    Great blog post!


  3. Peter Nowak

    September 9, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Ha, that’s hilarious! I should start doing that to my friends.


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