FBI Pushes for Surveillance Backdoors in Web 2.0 Tools

Friday Feb 18th 2011 by Datamation.com Staff

However, the feds have dropped their earlier arguments that companies like RIM need to provide a way for law enforcement to eavesdrop on encrypted communications.

Wired: Speaking before Congress, FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni clarified the agency's position on the need for surveillance techniques for modern communication methods. On the one hand, she said, “As the gap between authority and capability widens, the government is increasingly unable to collect valuable evidence in cases ranging from child exploitation and pornography to organized crime and drug trafficking to terrorism and espionage –- evidence that a court has authorized the government to collect. This gap poses a growing threat to public safety.”

However, she added that “requiring that internet applications with communications systems — [which] means anything from speak-to-tweet to Second Life to software supporting music-jam sessions — be vetted first will put American innovation at a global disadvantage,” Landau said. “For American competitiveness it is critical that we preserve the ease and speed with which innovative new communications technologies can be developed.”

Landau made it clear that the FBI is dropping its earlier arguments that companies (like RIM) should be forced to provide law enforcement with a way to access encrypted communications.

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