Obama Administration wants Internet Wiretap easier

By on Sep 27, 2010 in Internet, Technology, United States, World Comments

The Obama administration wants Internet wiretap easier, as reported at The New York Times today.

According to the news, US federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to search for a set of new and comprehensive regulations for its Internet users.

US officials argue that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone, the report said.

Once approved, the law will require all Internet-based communication services such as Facebook, Skype, and encrypted BlackBerry e-mail, to conform to federal wiretap orders.

The bill, however, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, immediately encountered fresh questions on how to balance security needs with protecting privacy while embracing the fast-changing technology.

Meanwhile, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, James Dempsey, said that ‘the proposal has “huge implications” and poses a test to the fundamental elements of the Internet revolution.’

Dempsey, as told to The New York Times also said that ‘They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.’

On the other hand, Valerie Caproni, who is the general counsel for FBI was quoted saying, “”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.” He added.

According to the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act in the US, which was mandated in 1994, Internet and phone networks are already required to have wiretapping abilities.

However, the said law is not applicable to to communication service providers like BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion (RIM).

It can be recalled that BlackBerry services were ban recently in some countries like India and United Arab Emirates, as its email encryption may cause a national security risk.

India eventually postponed the ban for at least two months after RIM allowed security officials “lawful access” to access its data.

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