FBI Calls for Backdoor to Snoop Web
February 18, 2011
The FBI is once again calling for the internet to be converted into a Stasi-like spy grid. “Web-based e-mail, social-networking and peer-to-peer services are frustrating law enforcement wiretapping efforts, a lawyer for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation told lawmakers Thursday,” reports PCWorld.
The Obama administration will attempt to bribe, coerce, or intimidate web-based services not covered by traditional wiretap laws into helping the government turn the medium into a sprawling high-tech surveillance platform.
Valerie Caproni, general counsel at the FBI, reminded the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, does not cover the internet. CALEA requires traditional telecom carriers to allow law enforcement agencies real-time access to communications.
Instead of forcing ISPs to adopt CALEA, the government will attempt to convince communication providers to build in so-called back doors allowing law enforcement access to their software. Caproni said she’s optimistic the U.S. government can find “incentives” for companies to “have intercept solutions engineered into their systems.”
“We are not looking for any new authority,” she said. “We are concerned we are losing ground in actually being able to gather the information we are authorized to have.”
Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, said in a statement that the FBI plan “will actually change the structure of the Internet, providing the government with a master key to our online communications.”
Caproni said the FBI is concerned about the internet being used for criminal activity. “That criminal may be a massive drug dealer, they may be an arms trafficker, they may be a child pornographer or a child molester,” she said. “We need the actual ability to conduct the wiretaps so we can keep the streets safe.”