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NEWS: FBI Seeks To Expand Wiretapping Powers To All Internet Communication

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posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 08:54 PM
The FBI has proposed new wiretapping abilities to the FCC Friday. The FBI wants easy access to any form of Internet based communication, and they want Internet service providers to rewire their networks to make wiretapping easier. The first thing that comes to mind is voice over IP companies such as Vonage, but legal experts say the wording of the new proposal could require MSN Messenger, Xbox Live, or online games such as Quake to supply a back door to the FBI. The cost involved in supporting the measure would be passed on to the consumer.

A far-reaching proposal from the FBI, made public Friday, would require all broadband Internet providers, including cable modem and DSL companies, to rewire their networks to support easy wiretapping by police.

The FBI's request to the Federal Communications Commission aims to give police ready access to any form of Internet-based communications. If approved as drafted, the proposal could dramatically expand the scope of the agency's wiretap powers, raise costs for cable broadband companies and complicate Internet product development.

The introduction of new services that did not support a back door for police would be outlawed, and companies would be given 15 months to make sure that existing services comply.

Currently the FBI finds it very difficult to listen in on voice over IP communications, because the voice is broken up into packets, and the packets do not always take the same path to the destination. The FBI is worried that terrorist could use this to defeat their abilities to listen in on conversations. The main surprise is that they have now included any form of Internet communication in the proposal. In their mind, a chat window in an online game of chess could have communications that they would want to listen in on.

What are the consequences to this proposal? The cost of services and applications will rise as companies put in extra time and resources to comply with the FCC. Then the FCC would have to approve all new software and hardware to ensure it complies with their regulations. Time to market would increase and get bogged down in paperwork and regulations. Other concerns include hackers being able to break the backdoor code and listen in on communications. Privacy advocates worry that combined with the Patriot Act, this would give the FBI extensive powers.

Further Reading:
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Bush wants Patriot Act Renewed

Related ATS Discussions:
Government Recording Cell Phone Calls?
FCC starts rewriting Internet rules

[Edited on 13-3-2004 by dbates]

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 11:48 PM
All im asking for is some privacy.

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 02:59 AM
hmmm.... echelon?

this is probably already happening. US policy makers have that whole do first ask later thing going on.

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 03:25 AM
and their purpose? civil rights and public morale are at an all-time low, things don't look too appealing in the U.S.

i dont have a problem with their tapping cable/dsl in the U.S, but it stays in the U.S, your gvrnmnt could be deciding when you take a leak next, and your average hill billy wont really care, keep it up americanos, show the world what you're really good at


posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 06:28 AM
old news, FBI has been listening to all that for the past few years

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 11:42 AM
Exactly SniperEye, Yahoo Voice is another program format that has been already used for third party listening. The third party listening seems to keep the connection going even if one of the two voice parties accidentally disconnects. So funny

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 07:43 PM
I think this is just the beginning of a brave new Orwellian world.
Assuming Bush retains the presidency, and the Patriot Act widens its scope, everything we say or do could be monitored very soon...

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