If federal law enforcement groups have their way your Facebook, BlackBerry and Skype conversations will be more easily intercepted via a wiretap, according to reports.
The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is prodding Congress to require all Internet communications---social networking and peer-to-peer conversations---to be technically able to comply with a wiretap order. According to the Times, messages would be intercepted and unencrypted.
Here are the two sides of the argument:
- National security officials want wiretap ability. After all, wiretaps have been available for years and are an important investigative tool.
- On the flip side, lawmakers want the Internet to act like the telephone system. That move could hurt innovation and privacy.
Where do you stand?
The argument could be made all day, but it ultimately comes down whether you trust the government to keep the decentralized nature of the Internet in tact.
Frankly, I could go either way. The Times notes that a lot of technical details have to be worked out. It's also unclear how many investigations have been hampered by peer-to-peer and social networking technologies. In any case, developers would theoretically have to build in intercept capabilities. The topic is just developing, but it's one worth examining further.