Feeds

FBI brass ask Google, Facebook to expand wiretaps

Mr. Mueller goes to Silicon Valley

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.