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Monday, May 7, 2012

FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites - now | Security & Privacy - CNET News

FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites - now

CNET learns the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those backdoors mandatory.


The FBI is asking Internet companies not to oppose a controversial proposal that would require firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google, to build in backdoors for government surveillance.

In meetings with industry representatives, the White House, and U.S. senators, senior FBI officials argue the dramatic shift in communication from the telephone system to the Internet has made it far more difficult for agents to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities, CNET has learned.

The FBI general counsel's office has drafted a proposed law that the bureau claims is the best solution: requiring that social-networking Web sites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly.

"If you create a service, product, or app that allows a user to communicate, you get the privilege of adding that extra coding," an industry representative who has reviewed the FBI's draft legislation told CNET. The requirements apply only if a threshold of a certain number of users is exceeded, according to a second industry representative briefed on it.

The FBI's proposal would amend a 1994 law, called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, that currently applies only to telecommunications providers, not Web companies. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2004 to apply to broadband networks.

Here's an Interesting Comment from the Article Page...

Trying to force the Internet to enable wiretap by United States government ignores the fact that the world wide web isn't limited to the United States. The 'bad' guys will just use software from other countries that don't have to comply with U.S. law. So will anyone who values their privacy or harbors suspicions that individuals within our government might not always respect the rights of citizens. Any backdoor into private communications could also be exploited by the 'bad' guys for purposes like corporate espionage. If you regulate the Internet too much you'll probably force all innovation out of the United States.
Posted by GreggN (32 comments )

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