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 Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier

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BigWhiteGuy

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PostSubject: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/27/2010, 7:14 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Broad new regulations being drafted by the Obama administration would make it easier for law enforcement and national security officials to eavesdrop on Internet and e-mail communications like social networking Web sites and BlackBerries, The New York Times reported Monday.

The newspaper said the White House plans to submit a bill next year that would require all online services that enable communications to be technically equipped to comply with a wiretap order. That would include providers of encrypted e-mail, such as BlackBerry, networking sites like Facebook and direct communication services like Skype.

Federal law enforcement and national security officials say new the regulations are needed because terrorists and criminals are increasingly giving up their phones to communicate online.

"We're talking about lawfully authorized intercepts," said FBI lawyer Valerie E. Caproni. "We're not talking about expanding authority. We're talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security."

The White House plans to submit the proposed legislation to Congress next year.

The new regulations would raise new questions about protecting people's privacy while balancing national security concerns.

James Dempsey, the vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the new regulations would have "huge implications."

"They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function," he told the Times.

The Times said the Obama proposal would likely include several requires:

—Any service that provides encrypted messages must be capable of unscrambling them.

—Any foreign communications providers that do business in the U.S. would have to have an office in the United States that's capable of providing intercepts.

—Software developers of peer-to-peer communications services would be required to redesign their products to allow interception.

The Times said that some privacy and technology advocates say the regulations would create weaknesses in the technology that hackers could more easily exploit.
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Scorpion

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/27/2010, 7:40 am

BigWhiteGuy wrote:
"We're talking about lawfully authorized intercepts," said FBI lawyer Valerie E. Caproni. "We're not talking about expanding authority. We're talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security."

Yeah. Well are you for the legislation or against it?
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/27/2010, 9:14 am

Since he never likes to provide any links to his spamming, here's NY Times report in question:

Quote :
U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

It's explains the problem quite clearly:

Quote :
Investigators have been concerned for years that changing communications technology could damage their ability to conduct surveillance. In recent months, officials from the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, the White House and other agencies have been meeting to develop a proposed solution.

There is not yet agreement on important elements, like how to word statutory language defining who counts as a communications service provider, according to several officials familiar with the deliberations.

But they want it to apply broadly, including to companies that operate from servers abroad, like Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry devices. In recent months, that company has come into conflict with the governments of Dubai and India over their inability to conduct surveillance of messages sent via its encrypted service.

In the United States, phone and broadband networks are already required to have interception capabilities, under a 1994 law called the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act. It aimed to ensure that government surveillance abilities would remain intact during the evolution from a copper-wire phone system to digital networks and cellphones.

Often, investigators can intercept communications at a switch operated by the network company. But sometimes — like when the target uses a service that encrypts messages between his computer and its servers — they must instead serve the order on a service provider to get unscrambled versions.

Like phone companies, communication service providers are subject to wiretap orders. But the 1994 law does not apply to them. While some maintain interception capacities, others wait until they are served with orders to try to develop them.

The F.B.I.’s operational technologies division spent $9.75 million last year helping communication companies — including some subject to the 1994 law that had difficulties — do so. And its 2010 budget included $9 million for a “Going Dark Program” to bolster its electronic surveillance capabilities.

Beyond such costs, Ms. Caproni said, F.B.I. efforts to help retrofit services have a major shortcoming: the process can delay their ability to wiretap a suspect for months.

So it's just law enforcement attempting to catch up to current technology. As far as implementing it, or what effects it will have on internet technology, I have no idea. That could be a huge headache though:

Quote :
Several privacy and technology advocates argued that requiring interception capabilities would create holes that would inevitably be exploited by hackers.

Steven M. Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, pointed to an episode in Greece: In 2005, it was discovered that hackers had taken advantage of a legally mandated wiretap function to spy on top officials’ phones, including the prime minister’s.

“I think it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” he said. “If they start building in all these back doors, they will be exploited.”

That's undeniable. I'm sure Bruce Schneier or Wired will have an article up about expanding on that aspect. But:

Quote :
They also noted that critics predicted that the 1994 law would impede cellphone innovation, but that technology continued to improve. And their envisioned decryption mandate is modest, they contended, because service providers — not the government — would hold the key.

So who knows? It's definitely interesting though. I can certainly see a need for it, and barring any severe technological drawbacks, I certainly don't see a problem with eavesdropping so long as a judge has issued a warrant.

So if this one is meant as some sort of dig against Obama, I don't really see it. There's unfortunately far more relevant Bush-era tactics that he's employed (and in some cases expanded on) that are worth criticizing.
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BigWhiteGuy

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/27/2010, 6:44 pm

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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/27/2010, 7:55 pm

Thought so, Robin.
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BigWhiteGuy

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/29/2010, 7:18 am

Heretic wrote:
Thought so, Robin.
You NEED more government in your life? I don't, and I pride myself as a free thinker.
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/29/2010, 10:29 am

BigWhiteGuy wrote:
You NEED more government in your life? I don't

That's how you see this? Seriously? I mean out of all the egregious breaches of civil rights over the past decade, the exhaustive expansion of government power, this is the very bottom of the barrel.

So make your case; provide at least of little bit of explanation as to why you see this the way you do. Don't just sit there spouting Palinisms and quoting bumperstickers at they same time you're trying to convince us how independent and free thinking you are. It's very hard to take you seriously otherwise.

BigWhiteGuy wrote:
I pride myself as a free thinker.

Right. Says the guy that believes that AGW does exist but that scientists manufactured evidence for it anyway.

You're so free, your thoughts don't conform to any system of logic, reason, or reality.
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Artie60438

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/29/2010, 10:48 am

BigWhiteGuy wrote:
I pride myself as a free thinker.
Rolling Eyes Yeah,one who when their arguments get destroyed in a discussion,either disappears or resorts to posting a totally off-topic image.
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BigWhiteGuy

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/29/2010, 6:36 pm

Artie60438 wrote:
BigWhiteGuy wrote:
I pride myself as a free thinker.
Rolling Eyes Yeah,one who when their arguments get destroyed in a discussion,either disappears or resorts to posting a totally off-topic image.
Sorry, but I don't disappear. I just have a LIFE other than this board and WJOB radio. I actually work for my living, and it does take a lot of time and effort to actually earn a paycheck. I know it's a concept that most Obama backers cannot fathom, but the free-bees you get every month are actually taken out of MY paycheck in the form of income tax. I'll perceive your silence as a Thank You.
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Artie60438

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/29/2010, 7:54 pm

BigWhiteGuy wrote:
Artie60438 wrote:
BigWhiteGuy wrote:
I pride myself as a free thinker.
Rolling Eyes Yeah,one who when their arguments get destroyed in a discussion,either disappears or resorts to posting a totally off-topic image.
Sorry, but I don't disappear.
Ok,Let's just call it cut and run.

And of course the usual obligatory attack:
Quote :
I just have a LIFE other than this board and WJOB radio. I actually work for my living, and it does take a lot of time and effort to actually earn a paycheck. I know it's a concept that most Obama backers cannot fathom, but the free-bees you get every month are actually taken out of MY paycheck in the form of income tax. I'll perceive your silence as a Thank You.
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BigWhiteGuy

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/30/2010, 7:18 am

Artie60438 wrote:
BigWhiteGuy wrote:
Artie60438 wrote:
Rolling Eyes Yeah,one who when their arguments get destroyed in a discussion,either disappears or resorts to posting a totally off-topic image.
Sorry, but I don't disappear.
Ok,Let's just call it cut and run.

And of course the usual obligatory attack:
Quote :
I just have a LIFE other than this board and WJOB radio. I actually work for my living, and it does take a lot of time and effort to actually earn a paycheck. I know it's a concept that most Obama backers cannot fathom, but the free-bees you get every month are actually taken out of MY paycheck in the form of income tax. I'll perceive your silence as a Thank You.
You should feel right at home, then.
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/30/2010, 10:36 am

Your witty one liners and copy/pasted articles provided with no comment take that long to write up?

Nope. Not buying that either.
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BigWhiteGuy

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/30/2010, 6:07 pm

Heretic wrote:
Your witty one liners and copy/pasted articles provided with no comment take that long to write up?

Nope. Not buying that either.
Really? Who asked ya?
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   9/30/2010, 10:37 pm

And still no actual comment on your own article... Rolling Eyes
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   10/5/2010, 8:21 am

Bruce Schneier's article is up, focusing on what I was expecting:

Quote :
Wiretapping the Internet

On Monday, The New York Times reported that President Obama will seek sweeping laws enabling law enforcement to more easily eavesdrop on the internet. Technologies are changing, the administration argues, and modern digital systems aren't as easy to monitor as traditional telephones.

The government wants to force companies to redesign their communications systems and information networks to facilitate surveillance, and to provide law enforcement with back doors that enable them to bypass any security measures.

. . .

These laws are dangerous, both for citizens of countries like China and citizens of Western democracies. Forcing companies to redesign their communications products and services to facilitate government eavesdropping reduces privacy and liberty; that's obvious. But the laws also make us less safe. Communications systems that have no inherent eavesdropping capabilities are more secure than systems with those capabilities built in.

Any surveillance system invites both criminal appropriation and government abuse. Function creep is the most obvious abuse: New police powers, enacted to fight terrorism, are already used in situations of conventional nonterrorist crime. Internet surveillance and control will be no different.

Official misuses are bad enough, but the unofficial uses are far more worrisome. An infrastructure conducive to surveillance and control invites surveillance and control, both by the people you expect and the people you don't. Any surveillance and control system must itself be secured, and we're not very good at that. Why does anyone think that only authorized law enforcement will mine collected internet data or eavesdrop on Skype and IM conversations?

These risks are not theoretical. After 9/11, the National Security Agency built a surveillance infrastructure to eavesdrop on telephone calls and e-mails within the United States. Although procedural rules stated that only non-Americans and international phone calls were to be listened to, actual practice didn't always match those rules. NSA analysts collected more data than they were authorized to and used the system to spy on wives, girlfriends and famous people like former President Bill Clinton.

The most serious known misuse of a telecommunications surveillance infrastructure took place in Greece. Between June 2004 and March 2005, someone wiretapped more than 100 cell phones belonging to members of the Greek government -- the prime minister and the ministers of defense, foreign affairs and justice -- and other prominent people. Ericsson built this wiretapping capability into Vodafone's products, but enabled it only for governments that requested it. Greece wasn't one of those governments, but some still unknown party -- a rival political group? organized crime? -- figured out how to surreptitiously turn the feature on.

. . .

Yes, communications technologies are used by both the good guys and the bad guys. But the good guys far outnumber the bad guys, and it's far more valuable to make sure they're secure than it is to cripple them on the off chance it might help catch a bad guy. It's like the FBI demanding that no automobiles drive above 50 mph, so they can more easily pursue getaway cars. It might or might not work -- but, regardless, the cost to society of the resulting slowdown would be enormous.

It's bad civic hygiene to build technologies that could someday be used to facilitate a police state. No matter what the eavesdroppers say, these systems cost too much and put us all at greater risk.

And I expect this would be an endless arms race to boot. The people they're attempting to eavesdrop will simply end up using user-end encryption rather than rely on a third party.

Schneier also has 3 links to other writeups on the topic, including one at Wired.
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paul87920

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PostSubject: Re: Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier   10/7/2010, 12:34 am

BigWhiteGuy wrote:
free-bees you get every month are actually taken out of MY paycheck in the form of income tax.

You can't be too concerned about your paycheck. Your Republican buddies want to abolish minimum wage. When your $7.50 an hour is reduced to $2.50 an hour so your boss can hire a few more people you might be in need of a few of those freebies yourself. Razz
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