The US is preparing to face FBI-drafted legislation enabling it to monitor any personal communication activities in the web. It aims to use preset backdoors in social networks, online messaging, internet telephony and even Xbox gaming servers.
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.
The FBI intends surreptitiously to rush a law obliging companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to install government surveillance options into their software on default.
The agency confesses that it faces considerable difficulties in wiretapping suspects since more and more people are shifting their communications from phones to internet.
FBI struggles with the world ‘going dark’
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.
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.
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. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that as early as in 2006 the FBI was already concerned with “going dark” and established a special division developing the “latest and greatest investigative technologies to catch terrorists and criminals.” In 2009 the division employed 107 full-time specialists.
Another battle for human rights and privacy
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. Moreover, clients’ privacy an integral part of IT products and by trading it off, software companies might ruin their business.
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