US pushes for internet wiretaps

Federal law enforcement wants software providers to include provisions for outside monitoring
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US law enforcement agencies are pushing for new regulations that will require all providers of communication software to include the capability for them to intercept and decrypt peer-to-peer messages.

According to the New York Times, the proposals will be brought before lawmakers next year and the regulations would affect encrypted email services like that used by Blackberry, social networking sites and IP messaging services such as Skype.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” said the vice president of internet policy group The Centre for Democracy and Technology, James Dempsey. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

However, law enforcement agencies contend that the proposals are lawful and necessary.

“We’re not talking expanding authority,” said the general counsel for the FBI, Valerie Caproni. “We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”

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