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Government Wants Greater Ease in Internet Wiretaps

Government Wants Greater Ease in Internet Wiretaps

Arguing that the Internet has allowed wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects to “go dark” by communicating online rather than by telephone, The New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration plans to submit a proposal that would create sweeping new Internet regulations.  The goal of these new regulations would be to require any services that enable communications, including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking sites like Facebook, and peer to peer messaging software like Skype to be technically capable of complying with a wiretap order.  The regulations would also include allowing the federal government to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The proposal has already raised the concerns of privacy and technology advocates who argue that the administration is essentially trying to re-tool the architecture of the Internet to make it function the way that the telephone system used to function.  Beyond the standard concerns of big brother intercepting citizen communications, many worry that the regulations would stifle innovation and growth.

Law enforcement officials see it differently and argue that the regulations are in no way expanding powers that the FBI already has.  Instead, the regulations would simply modernize that power to include technologies and communications previously unimagined.

The proposals are in the earliest stages of development but advocates pushing for the measures say they want to make sure it has a few key components.  Among those are requirements that:

- Communications services that encrypt messages have a way to unscramble them;
- Foreign-based providers that do business inside the United States must install a domestic office capable of performing intercepts;
- Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must redesign their service to allow interception

It is unclear what would happen to providers who failed to comply, should these proposals ultimately become law.

The earliest anyone expects to see a proposal to Congress is next year, though given the sweeping authority granted to the executive branch in the previous decade, there’s little reason to think that if Congress sees such a proposal it won’t give law enforcement the powers it’s after.

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photo courtesy of oneras via Flickr

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9:15PM PST on Nov 26, 2010

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10:11PM PST on Nov 25, 2010

Top anti-virus, games,free software, social networking, windows, Linux and all the web apps available for free download.

9:01PM PDT on Oct 9, 2010

Where is my right to privacy? Absolute power corrupts.....

7:20AM PDT on Sep 30, 2010

Everyone who thinks they have nothing to hide: I suggest You read

Internet wiretaps can be used for all sorts of unethical purposes, for instance a president could hinder other candidates for presidential elections, to stay in power.

Internet wiretaps is the end of free speech, at least through the Internet. Journalists will no longer be able to keep their sources confidential (if they use the Internet).

Some people seem to trust the government blindly, but government officials are people too, and some people tend to do bad things. That's why we have a system of laws (especially the Constitution) to limit the damage they can do.

"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson

"Our country was founded on a distrust of government. Our founding fathers gave power to the people to keep an eye on government. So when politicians say, “Trust me,” they’re actually being very un-American." - David Duchovny

7:07PM PDT on Sep 29, 2010

Si ca continue de cette façon ont devrait aller vivre dans le bois
avec les indigènes pour avoir la pais de toutes ces nouvelles
technologies qui nous rendent malades«««/

1:11PM PDT on Sep 29, 2010


10:44AM PDT on Sep 29, 2010

Don't fool yourself. We are already being monitored... I truly believe that this is why TV had to go digital, because the government wanted to use those waves for spying...

10:26AM PDT on Sep 29, 2010

Leave my Constitutional rights alone!!

9:56AM PDT on Sep 29, 2010

Don't fool yourself. We are already being monitored... I truly believe that this is why TV had to go digital, because the government wanted to use those waves for spying...

9:40AM PDT on Sep 29, 2010

Don't fool yourself. We are already being monitored... I truly believe that this is why TV had to go digital, because the government wanted to use those waves for spying...

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