FBI Wants to Wiretap Your Internet Usage

| by Reason Foundation

By Jesse Walker

The FBI continues its quest to tap the Internet:

Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, traveled to Silicon Valley on Tuesday to meet with top executives of several technology firms about a proposal to make it easier to wiretap Internet users.

Mr. Mueller and the F.B.I.'s general counsel, Valerie Caproni, were scheduled to meet with senior managers of several major companies, including Google and Facebook, according to several people familiar with the discussions....

Mr. Mueller wants to expand a 1994 law, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, to impose regulations on Internet companies.

The law requires phone and broadband network access providers like Verizon and Comcast to make sure they can immediately comply when presented with a court wiretapping order.

Law enforcement officials want the 1994 law to also cover Internet companies because people increasingly communicate online....Under the proposal, firms would have to design systems to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages. Services based overseas would have to route communications through a server on United States soil where they could be wiretapped.

Peter Suderman has more on the proposal here. Related: the rise and fall of the Clipper Chip.