Wednesday, October 6, 2010

FBI wants revision in telecom law to aid terror probes

Pete Yost
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert Mueller is calling for changes in federal law to help his agents with surveillance of communications in anti-terrorism and other criminal investigations.

At a conference of intelligence experts, Mueller said that in some instances communications companies are unable to provide electronic communications the FBI seeks in response to court orders.

His comments come as the Obama administration considers proposals that would require service providers to make the plain text of encrypted conversations – over the phone, computer or e-mail – readily available to law enforcement.

The FBI's general counsel has said proposed changes would not expand law enforcement authority, but privacy advocates disagree.

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Anonymous said...

If Mueller is "calling" for changes in federal law, that means the federales are already doing what they're asking for. At least he's calling for changes. The KGB just did it with no thought. You say potato, I say potatoe.

Telecom Towers said...

This could really go either way. How easy is it going to be for authorities to access all this information? If they have to have an on-going investigation and a court order to get access then this might not be the worst idea in the world. But if it's going to be as easy as a LEO saying, "Hey, I think this guy is a terrorist. Get his phone records, emails, a list of every website he's visited in the past 3 years, and tap his phone while you're at it." Then there are some huge issues with that. As much as I respect our men and women who protect all of us here at home, there are those few bad apples that abuse their power so I think it should be up to a higher authority to decide whether or not they should be able to access the sort of information Robert Mueller seems to be pushing for.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Mueller produced a single result of non-stop escalation of surveillance for the last 10 years, like a single prevented terrorist plot (and not the one set up by FBI itself), or maybe one stopped terrorist (by the FBI, not by citizens) - which single success would surely balance off innumerable thousands of the citizens abused, arrested, and some even killed as collateral damage of the need to protect the vulnerable homeland, that would be a good start.

Thebes said...

And how exactly do they plan to impliment this?

Ban the use of non-ISP provided encryption?
Require all sites capable of transferring a message (ie BLOG COMMENTS, etc) to retain all transactions?

Technically speaking it would have to be something along those lines. Basically the government will be outlawing the passing of all speech it can not listen in upon.

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