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Ashcroft wins Internet wiretap system


U.S. regulators on Wednesday ruled tentatively in favor of an FBI and Justice Department proposal that would compel Internet broadband and VoIP providers to open their networks up to easy surveillance by law enforcement agencies.

At issue is the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), a federal law that mandates surveillance backdoors in U.S. telephone networks, allowing the FBI to start listening in on a target's phone calls within minutes of receiving court approval. Last March, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration jointly petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a ruling that cable modem companies and other broadband providers are also covered by the law.

Though the ruling was unanimous, two commissioners expressed concern that the FCC's interpretation of the 1994 law was precarious, and might later be overturned in the courts. "There are better was to build a system that will encourage judicial approval," said commissioner Michael Copps." As it is, the ruling is "too flush with tentative conclusions that stretch the statutory framework almost to tear," Copps said.

Yep, it's now official. All new technologies must include designed-in surveilance capability. It's time to get serious about encryption, folks -- the only way to stop the government from listening in is to make it impossible for them to listen in.

In theory, there's a public comment period on the implementation details, like how much time the providers are allowed to rework their networks. In practice, why comment? The decision's been made, the only thing left to debate is how much effort the government will require without any form of compensation. (Funny, they used to call that slavery).

In the meantime, surely we can generate some useful energy by harnessing the Founders as they spin in their graves.


This entry was published 2005-09-24 10:43:35.0 by matthew@triggerfinger.org and last updated 2005-09-24 10:43:35.0. [Tweet]

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