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.
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]