The Federal Bureau of Investigation is ready to launch a surveillance unit that is capable of spying on Skype conversations and other Internet communications, Mashable reports.
It took four years of planning for the FBI to create the Domestic Communications Assistance Center (DCAC), in collaboration with the US Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency. All three agencies are building customized hardware to enable wiretapping on wireless and Internet conversations per court order requests.
"It's also designed to serve as a kind of surveillance help desk for state, local and other federal police," CNET reported. "The center represents the technological component of the bureau's Going Dark Internet wiretapping push, which was allocated $54 million by a Senate committee last month."
Although the DCAC has been tight-lipped about its purpose, the FBI said in a statement that the organization will "not be responsible for the actual execution of any electronic surveillance court orders and will not have any direct operational or investigative role in investigations."
Using the Internet to search for illegal activity has become a top priority for the FBI, Mashable reports. In January, the bureau announced it was seeking to develop an automatic mass-monitoring application to analyze Facebook for crime related comments.
The Atlantic reported that although other federal agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), already have similar monitoring systems in place, most of those focus on foreign social media. The FBI, on the other hand, will focus on domestic monitoring of Americans.
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