Report: FBI Seeking More Wiretap-Friendly Internet Code

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The FBI wants legislation that would require Internet companies to build backdoors into their communication technologies that would allow government surveillance, CNET reports.

White House, Senate and FBI representatives held a meeting discussing technological shifts in communication that make it difficult for investigators to conduct wiretapping and other “going dark” surveillance practices.

Proposed legislation would require social networking sites, instant messaging, voice-over Internet Protocol and email services to redesign their code in order to be more wiretap-friendly, the report said.

An amended Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act would include Web companies in addition to broadband networks and telecommunications providers, which are already included under CALEA.

According to CNET, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the agency is not asking for industry support but is looking for ways to minimize the impacts that would result from adding Internet companies under CALEA.

The Federal Communications Commission, which handles CALEA inquiries and enforcement proceedings, has not granted the FBI authority to rewrite CALEA to include peer-to-peer programs such as Apple’s Facetime or Xbox Live chats.

Roszel Thomsen, Thomsen and Burke partner and a member of an FBI study group, told CNET industry would like to see a CALEA rewrite that includes protections against disclosure of trade secrets or confidential information.

Such measures would ensure law enforcement officials would not disclose this information during a court proceeding, which could potentially make it easier for industry and police to respond to new technologies, Thomsen added.

TechAmerica officials told CNET in an email that expanding CALEA would be a change in government surveillance law that would impose significant cost on communications companies.

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