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Obama Wants To ‘Wiretap’ The Internet

From a suddenly un-outraged New York Times:

U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

September 27, 2010

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally

We have nothing against this proposal, per se. But we are amazed at the lack of outrage from the usual suspects, including of course, the New York Times.

Just as a thought experiment, imagine if Mr. Bush has proposed this. You would hear the screaming all the way to Abu Dabi.

Investigators have been concerned for years that changing communications technology could damage their ability to conduct surveillance…

[A]s an example [of the problem], one official said, an investigation into a drug cartel earlier this year was stymied because smugglers used peer-to-peer software, which is difficult to intercept because it is not routed through a central hub. Agents eventually installed surveillance equipment in a suspect’s office, but that tactic was “risky,” the official said, and the delay “prevented the interception of pertinent communications.”

Moreover, according to several other officials, after the failed Times Square bombing in May, investigators discovered that the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, had been communicating with a service that lacked prebuilt interception capacity. If he had aroused suspicion beforehand, there would have been a delay before he could have been wiretapped.

Yet another helpful hint from The Times to drug dealers and would be terrorists – use peer-to-peer software for your communications.

To counter such problems, officials are coalescing around several of the proposal’s likely requirements:

¶ Communications services that encrypt messages must have a way to unscramble them.

¶ Foreign-based providers that do business inside the United States must install a domestic office capable of performing intercepts.

¶ Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must redesign their service to allow interception.

Providers that failed to comply would face fines or some other penalty. But the proposal is likely to direct companies to come up with their own way to meet the mandates. Writing any statute in “technologically neutral” terms would also help prevent it from becoming obsolete, officials said…

Of course, like so many communication security issues, these things could turn out to be quite onerous if they fall into the wrong hands.

Like militant Democrats who want to control the internet.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, September 27th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “Obama Wants To ‘Wiretap’ The Internet”

  1. oldpuppydixie says:

    Perhaps we should just make the leap right into “viewscreens” on our living room walls. All communication MUST be done through these. They can not be turned off, etc. Winston Smith can answer any questions you may have.

    • untrainable says:

      George Orwell was only off by 26 years.

    • hushpuppy says:

      That’s already being done in North Korea. We watched a television program back a few months ago on daily life in NK: they have radios hard-wired into their homes, and you cannot shut them off. We saw that some people would put coats or blankets over the speakers to muffle the propaganda.

  2. bill says:

    So I guess your entire privacy now is your library card … which the liberals will proudly say they saved for you.

  3. hushpuppy says:

    Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

    Where to start on this one…..

    1) If I remember correctly, he was completely against wiretapping or ‘listening’. He thought that the subjects (even muslim terrorists) should be warned that they are currently being listened to, and then to get a warrant to continue listening to communications…

    2) IF this is all about security (which I’m not completely convinced it is) and keeping America safe, then there are already entities ‘out there’ quietly doing their jobs.

    3) I’m more inclined to think this is Obama’s narcissism at work in the disguise of security because:

    a) he said there are no terrorists that want to hurt America

    b) America isn’t at war with islam

    c) with a super-ego such as his where he’s been coddled, spoiled and has been made to believe everybody loves him, he’s figured out that not everyone thinks he’s The One everyone’s been waiting for so it’s stressing the cracks in his brittle mind. He wants to know who ‘they’ are that don’t like him.

    d) and if the reports that he’s starting to exhibit some truly bizarre behavior is true, then this report fits the profile of a sociopath more than than ever:

    http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html Profile of the Sociopath

    4) So if this has zero to do with homeland security but it’s a cover for his damaged persona, then this comes under the heading of paranoia.

    Charles Krauthammer has made some interesting psychiatric observations about The Won. Did you know he is Board Certified psychiatrist?


    And despite all of this, he’s gearing up for running in 2012 – if for no other reason than he wants to spoil Hillary’s run for Prez.

  4. beautyofreason says:

    Big Brother! Nationalism gone awry! A corporate elitist and his assault on American rights! An attack on the very liberties that make our country great!

    Oh, wait. Bush’s not in office.

    Scratch that.

    I was told by an otherwise smart instructor that “if we elect a tea party president then he will take away all of your rights.”

    I didn’t make a peep, but I felt like saying, such as the right to buy an incandescent light bulb? The right to not buy health insurance? The right to say anything without being charged with hate speech?

    Let’s see some recent Dem legislation:

    California considers ban on plasma televisions to lower carbon output. California mandates recycling for businesses. New York considers a ban on salt in restaurant food. (Internationally) The U.K. and Canada prosecute citizens for “hate speech” violations.

  5. Mae says:

    Be concerned, very concerned, whenever the feds under the Obama Administration proposes something like this. S&L has already been harassed. What next?

    • Liberals Demise says:

      “………whenever the feds under the Obama Administration proposes something like this. S&L has already been harassed.”

      “……….S&L has already been attacked.”
      Hope you don’t mind I fixed it for you.

  6. Rick Caird says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but there is nothing the government can do about PGP encryption. It is free and available on almost any platform. So, no matter what the ISP does, they cannot break the code and read the message.

    So, what is the point again and why does this useless administration want to do something useless?

    • hushpuppy says:

      I wonder if it will get to the point where we’ll have to use PGP here. There are quite a number of sites that have been using PGP for the better part of a decade.

  7. Coco Q. Rico says:

    The hypocrisy and double standard in this is so obvious I can’t see how people don’t notice it and want to puke immediately. Ugh.

    Well one of my colleagues who blogs on the same site I do, spotted this little detail early on and name the double standard:


    I hope at some point the double standard will collapse like a house of cards.

  8. hushpuppy says:

    Have you noticed in the picture above that O’balmy is wearing a purple SEIU bracelet? Have you noticed how many times when he’s doing an interview or giving a speech how many times he wears a purple, lavender or mauve tie?

    Now keep track of the green muslim color – for the inauguration, ditto Mooch-hell’s dress, coat and gloves on that day; and how many times you’ve seen shades of green for ties.

    Nothing like advertising….

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