FBI brass ask Google, Facebook to expand wiretaps
Mr. Mueller goes to Silicon Valley
Top officials from the FBI traveled to Silicon Valley on Tuesday to persuade Facebook and Google executives to support a proposal that would make it easier for law enforcement to wiretap the companies' users.
FBI Director Robert Mueller III and General Counsel Valerie Caproni were scheduled to meet with “managers of several major companies” including Facebook and Google, according to The New York Times. It wasn't clear how the companies responded.
The proposal first came to light in September, when the FBI warned that much of its information-gathering ability was under threat by the move to VoIP and other encrypted communications. Legislation under consideration would require cellphone carriers, websites, and other types of service providers to have a way to unscramble encrypted communications traveling over their networks, according to the NYT.
The Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act requires phone and broadband providers to have the means to make sure they can immediately comply with court wiretap orders. The FBI wants to extend that requirement to communication service providers, including those that offer strong end-to-end encryption services that make it infeasible to intercept and read traffic as it travels over their networks. The proposed legislation mentions Skype and Research in Motion by name.
Under the proposal, developers of email, instant-messaging and voice-over-internet-protocol applications would be forced to redesign their services so their contents can be intercepted by law enforcement agents. The Commerce Department and State Department have questioned whether such a requirement would stifle innovation and put US companies at a disadvantage. They have also have concerns that the capabilities could be abused by rogue regimes to spy on US citizens.
A Google official declined to comment to the NYT, while a Facebook spokesman said it would be premature for executives of the social network to take a position. ®
@"have a way to unscramble encrypted communications"
Unscramble encrypted communications? ... Oh great, how long before the law mandates access to all our data?! ... leave our passwords with the (Police) State ... If this wasn't so serious it would be surreal, like watching a scifi film of a growing global Police State?!
Privacy? ... it seems that was a pre-21st century concept, simply due to the lack of a technical way to systematically violate everyone privacy. Now we have the technology, they increasingly move to want the ability to spy on us all without end.
Well at least the Police State builders in the US won't have any problems pushing this through over here, as our MP's would be more than happy to roll over and force the law changes through regardless of which party is in power at the time. (As they unfortunately keep showing). After all our MP's in all parties appear to be desperate to be leading the world in the creation of a Police State.
Interesting how its the countries that keep reminding us we are all free, which are actually the fastest growing Police States. In hindsight, it makes sense they have to keep reminding us, otherwise we may see the truth. :(
Great idea! Let's kill the encryption industry! I can see the future ads now ... "PGP: Pretty Good Privacy, but not likely to get any better than that, because there are cracking keys all over the place!"
Ahhh. I love the smell of totalitarianism in the morning.
So they want a backdoor built into everything, and give the FBI the key? No doubt they will say they can't tell anyone that there is a backdoor, and they will be able to keep the key secret and no one will be able to find the backdoor...
Are they going to make Cisco backdoor their VPN products? Who outside of the US will use it them?
Open source software might be a bit difficult to backdoor.
If the FBI have a key, everyone is going to want one too.