Feeds

US electronic surveillance bill trapped in political limbo

The fight turns to Google

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A controversial bill to expand the government's electronic surveillance authority has once again been delayed from coming to the floor of the House of Representatives as politicians wrangle over the granting immunity to AT&T and other telecommunications companies.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he hoped to finish work to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, by the end of this week or the beginning of next, according to news reports. He said disagreements among Democratic lawmakers remain about whether retroactive immunity should be given to telecom companies that acquiesced to wiretapping demands even though they weren't accompanied by a court order.

According to news reports, moderate and conservative democrats have backed a plan already passed by the Senate to grant the after-the-fact immunity provision, but more liberal representatives are pushing to strip the bill of those provisions.

President Bush and other Republicans have repeatedly castigated the House for failing to take up the Bill more than three weeks after it was passed by the Senate. They argue the delay is compromising national security by preventing investigators from carrying out surveillance on potential terrorists.

Meanwhile, bloggers have jumped on comments made earlier this week by a top Department of Justice official to argue that the real intent of FISA supporters is to obtain the ability to intercept email.

During a breakfast on Capitol Hill earlier this week, according to this article in The Washington Post, Assistant Attorney General for National Security Kenneth Wainstein complained that under current rules many emails and other electronic communications are off limits because "you don't know where the recipient is going to be."

Up until then, the FISA debate centered generally around the legality of eavesdropping on telephone calls between foreigners and specifically whether a warrant was necessary when the cables connecting the parties happened to pass through the US.

Wainstein seemed to be arguing that the real concern among FISA supporters is the ability to legally intercept foreign-to-foreign emails if one of the parties happens to pick up one of the messages while in US territory.

"What this means, of course, is that while the public outcry has been focused on AT&T, it should have included a few other firms, including perhaps Microsoft, Yahoo and Google," CNET blogger Chris Soghoian argued here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire
Welcome to GOV.UK - digital by de ... FAULT
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.