It’s a common knowledge that the FBI wanted the Internet to have a backdoor planted to every website in the US. This time, however, they want to unlock the secret gate as soon as they can. Apparently, there has been a drastic change from using landlines to using the World Wide Web which made it almost impossible for FBI agents to perform wiretapping duties on suspected Americans who are committing foul moves. The situation has been dubbed by the bureau as a “Going Dark” dilemma which means that as technology improves, its surveillance capacities may lack luster if things maintain their status quo.
Reportedly, the general council office of the FBI has made a draft of the intended law which necessitates social networking sites, providers of email and instant messaging, and VoIP to change their services by adding a code that would enable them to be “wiretap ready.” Such requirement of adding the FBI’s code will work only if a threshold of a particular number of subscribers is surpassed.
If the proposed law is signed, it would amend the 1994 CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act). At present, the act applies only to telecommunications service providers and not the Web service companies. The CALEA was extended in 2004 by The Federal Communications Commission resulting to an inclusion of broadband networks.
There are documents in Congress which have been disclosed and have revealed how some huge companies are lobbying on the backdoor unlocking topic. Apple’s iChat and FaceTime-enabled iOS devices and Microsoft’s Skype and Hotmail are both open to suggestions and changes. On the other hand, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo decided not to give a comment.
The Going Dark dilemma has started to become an issue back in 2006. It has caused the bureau to even employ full-time workers of 107 in 2009 to deal with the situation. The bureau also gathered some information from its secret Operational Technology Division which focuses on utilizing the best and most modern technologies in investigation to apprehend criminals and terrorists alike.
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