White House Seeks Broad Powers to Wiretap Internet

Bill Would Demand Every Online Service to Be Capable of Wiretapping

by Jason Ditz, September 27, 2010

Though the administration is also on the verge of getting broad powers to destroy the entire Internet on national security grounds, President Obama is also seeking Congressional approval for a bill that would grant him virtually limitless power to wiretap online communications as well.

The bill would require every single online service with even a peripheral capability of allowing for communication to provide technology to allow the federal government to intercept messages and unscramble any encryption.

The emphasis for many analysts is the impact of allowing the government broad wiretap powers over websites like Facebook, but the ability of sites to comply with the decryption requirement might be even more interesting than the former.

Indeed virtually any form of Internet communication can have virtually unbreakable encryption shoehorned onto it after the fact, and depending on the wording of this pending legislation it might have the effect of forcing service providers to ban all direct communication and scan all messages for even the theoretical appearance of encrypted data.

Also at issue is the Obama Administration’s ability to force foreign companies to comply with these new regulations. which would likely have to come with the threat of blocking American users from accessing foreign services whose communication is too free and too secure to comply with the new laws.

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