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I get a lot of good questions from readers of How To Vanish. Sometimes those questions are very specific and sometimes they apply to a lot of people. I recently got two questions that I think would be helpful to a lot of people.
1. Do I have to provide the list of HowToVanish.com subscribers to the IRS or any other government agencies?
Reverse email lookup is offered by several sites on the internet. They probably all get their data from the same sources. They hope to use as much information as they can gather about that email address to identify the owner. I am not aware of how accurate these services are, but the power to pierce the anonymity of an email could be great.
The US government, on a Quixotic mission to identify and track potential “enemies” and tax evaders, may take interest in who visits certain websites, especially those of troublemakers. I bet a lot of people have hesitated to subscribe to an email list, even if the site is absolutely fantastic and full of clever, yet powerful information, because of a fear of who might have access to that email list.
How To Vanish do not disclose the names or emails of our subscribers to any government agency. The government might make such a request through a subpoena, warrant or National Security LetterThat information may be requested at some point in time through a subpoena, warrant, a national security letter, or some other wolf that threatens to huff and puff, but that day is yet to come.
Subpoena Emails For Reverse Email Lookup
A subpoena is issued in both criminal and civil cases to request records from an entity that has information relevant to the case. Such requests are generally targeted to the specific information in a case, rather than to collect entire databases. It is very unlikely that an entire list of subscribers will even be demanded under subpoena, let alone required to be disclosed. In addition, subpoenas are issued in adversarial proceedings so there will be an opportunity for a good defense attorney to contest the request before a “neutral” judge. Even though this system is not perfect, it will prevent unnecessary disclosure most of the time.
Search Warrant To Perform Reverse Email Lookup
Records may be searched if there is probable cause to believe that they contain evidence of criminal activity. It is very unlikely that a list of subscribers to a website would contain evidence of crime. Even so, the warrant process requires a “neutral” judge to sign off. Again, for the most part this system offers reasonable safeguards to records.
National Security Letter
Agents in most federal agencies, like the FBI, may request records by sending a National Security Letter. These requests can be broad and can demand entire databases. There is no need to suspect any criminal activity, and there is no judicial review or adversarial process. Any federal agent with the authority can request information on a whim. There is a common misconception that recipients of an NSL can’t reveal that they have received an NSL. This was true until the recent Supreme Court decision in Doe v. Ashcroft found such a gag order to violate a whole bunch of constitutional provisions.
The Big Bad Wolf might make any of these requests directly to How To Vanish. That is very unlikely. It is far more likely that any kind of request will be made to the companies that service the technical aspects of this and other websites. Those companies have a lot more than just one list to produce and are probably less inclined to refuse by the hair of their chinny chin chin.
A good way to thwart a reverse email lookup is to use encrypted, anonymous email based outside of the US, like Hushmail, in conjunction with using other encryption and proxy servers to log on and send communications.
2. What economic activity do US citizens living abroad have to report?
Just about everything. As a US citizen, you are taxed on the money you earn all over the world, even if you or your money never comes into America. Although there may be some exceptions to paying the tax, like the foreign earned income exclusion, you will report your income and then exclude it or deduct it in the same filing.
Foreign bank accounts need to be reported too. If all of your foreign bank accounts combined had at least $10,000 at one point in the year, even if it was only for 10 minutes before you spent it on a European shopping spree, you must report that account. This applies to holders of the account and anyone who is a signatory on the account.
Subscribers to email lists get access to special offers and cool stuff that even the casual web surfer does not have access to. There is some slight chance that your email will be disclosed as a subscriber. Reduce this risk by using email services not based in the US or that are encrypted. Also, if you are a US citizen, be sure to report all income and all qualifying bank accounts.