FBI Lobbies to Make Online Services Wiretap-Friendly

Would you feel comfortable with U.S. authorities having more power to snoop in on some of your most used online services including Facebook, Skype and Gmail?

According to a recent report from tech news site CNET, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has been busy lobbying for legislation that would require tech innovators to change their coding, thus making it easier for the bureau to carry out wiretaps.

The FBI’s initiative involves 1994’s Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). That law requires telecommunication providers to adhere to its wiretapping standards. The new push would simply force Internet companies such as Facebook and Google to follow similar protocol.

So why do U.S. authorities need expanded power in the area of online communications? It pertains to a concern the FBI has coined “going dark.” According to an FBI representative who spoke to CNET, U.S. authorities worry about new technology and online services that make it harder for them to intercept information related to illegal online activity.

Meanwhile, the FBI has already discussed the proposal with online companies that would be affected, the White House and members of Congress.

However, don’t expect smooth sailing for the proposed changes. The move could prove fairly unpopular with online activists, companies and privacy rights experts. Earlier this year, widespread opposition to proposed anti-piracy bills including SOPA and PIPA forced U.S. lawmakers to indefinitely shelve such legislation.

The push for expanded wiretapping is part of the bureau’s “National Electronic Surveillance Strategy,” a platform that’s been in the works for quite some time. But it’s not the first time that CALEA has been updated. In 2004, it was changed to apply to broadband providers as well.

Source: The Hosting News