CNET learns the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those back doors mandatory. The FBI have drafted a proposed law which would extend the abilities of the 1994 CALEA act which established their ability to tap phones across the USA. This law would work with communications companies across the states to establish a threshold for number of users which, once met, would require said communications company to activate surveillance-friendly functions on their network for use by the FBI.
Currently the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act covers telecommunications providers and allows the FBI to tap your phone if they have good cause. That’s all you need to know – it’s a law, it exists, and it’s very real. This most current legislation asks that the government add communications providers beyond what they’ve got covered now – chatting on your computer in any way at all may soon be covered, for example.
The FBI is getting impatient and wants a backdoor to Facebook, Skype, Google Hangouts and other services now to catch evildoers.
It’s no big secret that the FBI wants a backdoor to every American website planted on the Internet. However the government agency now wants the secret entrance unlocked as soon as possible — like right this minute – because the drastic shift from using telephones to using the Internet has made it nearly impossible for agents to wiretap Americans suspected of foul play. The bureau calls it a “Going Dark” problem, as its surveillance capabilities may diminish as technology advances if things don’t change.
Going Dark has reportedly been an issue in Washington since 2006, and the bureau eventually hired on 107 full-time workers in 2009 to work on the issue. The FBI has supposedly even sought input from the its secretive Operational Technology Division in Quantico, Va., a division that claims to be working on the “latest and greatest investigative technologies to catch terrorists and criminals.”
In February 2011 the FBI acknowledged the agency’s inability to keep up its surveillance capabilities with communications technological development calling it the “going dark” problem. Having admitted the bitter fact of technological incompliance, the agency initiated this new comprehensive web surveillance program.
Tech media website Cnet.com has obtained information that the FBI is already in talks with internet giants on an unprecedented surveillance program, having the legislation approved by the Department of Justice.
An unnamed FBI representative told Cnet.com that there are “significant challenges posed to the FBI” in the accomplishment of its “diverse mission”, and the rapidly changing technology influences that result a lot.
“A growing gap exists between the statutory authority of law enforcement to intercept electronic communications pursuant to court order and our practical ability to intercept those communications. The FBI believes that if this gap continues to grow, there is a very real risk of the government ‘going dark,’ resulting in an increased risk to national security and public safety,” the source told Cnet.com.
An obvious solution to the problem was adopting legislation to the needs of the government which the FBI is busy realizing right now. The FBI calls the program the National Electronic Surveillance Strategy.
Internet companies might be not happy with the new legislation at all, righteously considering that the law will most probably spark a public revolt similar to unsuccessful attempts to push through notorious SOPA, PIPA and ACTA anti-pirate legislation.
Internet giants utilize lobbyist resources to try to protect their businesses interests in Washington, but the issue of mass control might be too hot for them to handle.
The situation strikingly resembles the one with the music and web content industry, which fails to adapt to new realities of free access to almost anything, including goodies that fall under the . The entertainment industry, too, is using its lobbyists to push through punitive legislation to guarantee high profits without evolutionary changes to itself.
In the case with the web backdoor surveillance though, the FBI intends to violate basic human rights on such a high mass-involvement level that a 1984-scenario might appear almost no exaggeration.