Obama Administration Wants Wiretaps on the Internet


al-qaeda-internetFederal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations of 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 such as BlackBerry, social networking websites such as Facebook and software that allows direct “peer-to-peer” messaging such as 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.

The legislation, which the Obama administration plans to submit to Congress next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering technological innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

James Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

But law enforcement officials contend that imposing such a mandate is reasonable and necessary to prevent the erosion of their investigative powers.

{Star Tribune/Matzav.com}


  1. that sort of reminds me of when my father used to check my bookbag to see what I was doing, when I was in highschool. He can’t prevent them, but he can check on them…..
    how inept and inefficient.

  2. There is a bigger picture here. Obama intends to use warrant-less searches of the Internet and other wiretapping to arrest Americans without probable cause. For Example, the FBI recently asked for the power to obtain without warrants, Citizens’ “electronic communication transactional records” including email addresses they used to send communications. If the FBI’s request for (no warrant) Internet surveillance is granted, Americans to avoid federal criminal charges, would have to report to police any (email) received that might allude to something illegal; that is because the FBI would not need a warrant to introduce emails into court as evidence against a receiver. Similarly East German Citizens fearing they would be arrested for supporting criminal, subversive or terrorist activities, reported suspicious internet emails, phone and face to face communications, turning ordinary Citizens into informants. Undercover East German Stasi police would often in social settings, tell East Germans Citizens something illegal; if the Citizen didn’t report it, he or she was arrested. East Germans were afraid to voice an opinion or talk to strangers.

    The FBI request for no warrant Internet surveillance can’t be viewed separately because if pending bills in Congress pass, the FBI will have the power to use warrant-less Internet surveillance to arrest and indefinitely detain Americans on (only suspicion) not evidence, based on someone’s Internet Activity e.g. emails. Private information the FBI derives from warrant-less searches of emails, Internet Activity—including social websites and non-internet sources (informants) can be used by U.S. Government to target and arrest anyone based on mere suspicion; forget probable cause. Considering U.S. Government’s past domestic counter intelligence program COINTELPRO 1960 though the 1980’s, Americans should expect warrant-less-Internet spying will result in government harassment, prosecution, blackmail; and civil asset forfeiture of Citizen’s property requiring only a preponderance of civil evidence, little more than hearsay—because someone questioned or lawfully opposed a government policy.

    Government can use National Security Letters (NLS) to target someone’s clients, scaring off their customers and business associations, making it difficult to make a living, whether or not that was government’s intention. It is problematic government will use Citizens’ lawful Internet Activity to detain and arrest Americans without probable cause. On March 4, 2010, Sen. McCain introduced The “Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010.” McCain’s bill would eliminate several Constitutional protections allowing Government to arbitrarily pick up Americans on suspicion—with no probable cause. Under McCain’s bill: your political opinions, e.g., statements made on websites on the phone and emails could be used by authorities to deem you a “hostile” “Enemy Belligerent” to cause your arrest and indefinite detention.

    U.S. activists and individuals under McCain’s bill S.3081 would be extremely vulnerable to indefinite detention and prosecution, without right to legal counsel if (charged with mere suspicion) of “intentionally or materially providing support to hostilities or an Act of Terrorism”, for example American activists can’t control what other activists might do illegally—they network by email or phone domestically and overseas. U.S. Government under McCain’s bill would only need allege that an individual kept in military detention, is an Unprivileged Enemy Belligerent, suspected of; having engaged in supporting hostilities against the United States; its coalition partners; or Civilians to indefinitely detained Americans without legal counsel.

    McCain’s bill S.3081 is so broadly written lawful anti-war protesters and Tea Party Groups might be arrested and detained in military custody just for attending demonstrations; Government could charge demonstrators with “materially supporting hostilities.”

    McCain’s bill mentions “non-violent acts” supporting hostilities in America including against U.S. government and or emanating from America against a Coalition Partner. Non-violent terrorist acts” are covered in the Patriot Act to prosecute Persons that allegedly support “coercion or intimidation to influence a government or to affect a civilian population.”
    To compare government’s COINTELPRO with today’s government convert operations against American Activists access the following websites.