Digital Wiretaps Recall Big Brother

By Cindy Waxer September 27, 2010

Don’t count on encryption to keep your BlackBerry messages private. If the Obama administration gets its way, U.S. intelligence services might just be able to eavesdrop on the Internet, including your email exchanges and Facebook ramblings.

That’s according to a recent New York Times article which reported that the federal government is drafting legislation to make it easier for U.S. intelligence services to eavesdrop on the Internet. The White House intends to submit a bill before Congress next year that would require all online services that enable communications to be technically capable of complying with a wiretap order, including being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages, the Times reported.

The services would include encrypted email transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking websites like Facebook and peer-to-peer messaging software like Skype. The administration plans to submit the plan next year, the newspaper said, quoting the FBI's general counsel, Valerie Caproni, as saying that it's not talking about expanding its authority but “about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”

Privacy advocates might accuse federal law enforcement and natural security officials who are seeking these new regulations as acting as Big Brother. But authorities argue that it’s a necessary precaution as more and more terrorists and criminals communicate over the Internet rather than via telephone. “We're talking about lawfully authorized intercepts,” said Caproni. “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.”

The White House plans to submit the proposed legislation to Congress next year. In the meantime, authorities from the White House, Justice Department, National Security Agency, FBI and other agencies have been meeting in recent months to craft the proposals, the Times said.

Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

Related Articles

Is 5G a Spectrum-eating Monster that Destroys Competition?

By: Fred Goldstein    6/15/2018

To hear the current FCC talk about it, 5G mobile service is the be-all and end-all of not only mobile communications, but the answer to most of the co…

Read More

FX Group Makes the Red Carpet Shoppable with Blockchain-Based mCart Marketplace-as-a-Service

By: TMCnet News    6/14/2018

mCart by Mavatar announces the launch of the world's first blockchain-based decentralized mCart marketplace by the FX Group.

Read More

Judge Gives AT&T-Time Warner Deal Green Light

By: Paula Bernier    6/12/2018

Federal judge Richard Leon gave the $85 billion deal the green light today - and without any requirements to sell off any parts of the company. He als…

Read More

A New Foundation for Evolving Blockchain As a Fundamental Network Technology

By: Arti Loftus    6/12/2018

There are now thousands of blockchains, and unless you are a cryptophile, you won't recognize most of them.

Read More