Making The ‘Net More Wiretap Friendly

The Obama administration wants to make the Internet wiretap-ready. The justification for the planned expansive legislation is that law enforcement just needs to be able to keep up with technology. The impact of the legislation, if passed, would give the government back-door access to electronic communications such as e-mails, messages on social media sites such as Facebook, and even encrypted messages.

“Mandating that all communications software be accessible to the government is a huge privacy invasion,” says Chris Calabrese, ACLU legislative counsel. “Under the guise of a technical fix, the government looks to be taking one more step toward conducting easy dragnet collection of Americans’ most private communications.”

The New York Times broke the story on Monday. A storm of criticism followed. Besides the privacy concerns, critics said making the Internet wire-tap ready would be a huge technological challenge, requiring changes to the basic architecture of the Internet. It could also provide not only government, but hackers and crooks as well, with access to communications flowing over the ‘Net.

The changes could, in other words, weaken security rather than strengthening it.

More information at the national ACLU’s Web site.

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