Smartphone security

A backdoor in all Internet products and services?

Why does your government want a backdoor in all popular Internet products and services? That’s like asking why a prostitute wants you to pay for her services, or why a politician wants a bribe (or is that a campaign contribution?).

A backdoor in all telecommunications devices and services is already made possible by CALEA, the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act. (See also CALEA FAQ.) Now they want to step it up a notch and compel popular Internet companies and social networks like Facebook and Google to give law enforcement agencies real time monitoring capabilities of all online communication. It’s not enough that they can already get anything they want by just submitting a letter to these online services.

According to a Washington Post report, “a government task force is preparing legislation that would pressure companies such as Face­book and Google to enable law enforcement officials to intercept online communications as they occur.”

Joe Hall, a staff technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, said the “proposal has the potential to make our communications less secure,” because “once you build a wiretap capability into products and services, the bad guys will find a way to use it.”

That makes sense to me, but try telling that to a group that loves power. If this does not want you to always use Free Software services and applications, nothing will. And if these guys succeed in making this bad idea law, it will give service like Identi.ca an opportunity to be very popular, at least for folks like us.

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