U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

Monday Sep 27th 2010 by Datamation.com Staff
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Next year, the Obama administration will submit to Congress a bill requiring all Web services that enable communications to be technically capable of complying with wiretap orders.

NY Times: As new services like Skype, Facebook, and BlackBerry's encrypted e-mail give people more options for communications, it's also become more difficult for law enforcement and homeland security agencies to get access to criminal communications--even if they have an authorized wiretap order. But next year, that could change.

The Obama administration plans to submit to Congress a bill requiring all communications providers to be able to comply with wiretap orders. “We’re talking about lawfully authorized intercepts,” noted Valerie E. Caproni, general counsel for the FBI. “We’re not talking expanding authority. We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”

However, James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, warns that the move has "huge implications," saying, “They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet. They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

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