Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?

Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?

Summary: 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.


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.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Browser, Collaboration

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  • this is not news.. this how it works

    i work in telecom.. everything we make has to have backdoors for law enforcement.. this is mandated by law if you want to sell your products in the US.. people seem to be surprised by this when this when it's normal and mandated by wiretap laws in the US..

    NEWS FLASH!!!.. every text message, email, telephone call etc, etc can be intercepted and inspected by law enforcement.. they can even do deep packet inspection right on the routers if they want.. they have all these tools available to them.. and vendors are obliged to give them these tools to comply with US law.. the recent requests by India and Saudi is to give them access as law enforcement has access in the US..
    • righty ho... think that they aren't already doing this is silliness. the govt and military are at LEAST ten years ahead of the public in technology. anything you see in the media as being floated for public consumption is guaranteed to have been secret policy for a decade.
      • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?

        @kddunwoody@... I'll give you the military, but 'govt'? come on... the government is way too slow to adapt... DMVs, D.o.Transportation/enforcement, and D.o.Taxation are good examples of little technology being used... what sectors are you referring to... Executive? Maybe Obama's administration, but does Bush even know computers exist? (Just kidding). Enlighten me.
    • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?


      Thank you for the explanation of the KGB
  • Big Brother Nazis Return Under Terrorism Deceptions

    The Obama Administration is not concerned with terrorism and we know this for a fact. Case in point, 2,000 miles of virtually unprotected border with over 500,000 unknown foreigners who cross into the US yearly. The FBI/ICE/DHS have estimated we have well over 50,000 potential terrorist in the US as we speak. Yet Big Brother refuses to secure the border and instead wants to snoop on every American.

    This bill allows the foot in the door to the government, by the click of a button, to go into your cell phone, Blackberry, computer or otherwise and check your personal files, phone numbers, etc. It is a violation of the US Constitution and you Bill of Rights.

    Fight back, boycott paying your federal taxes!
    • you understand that ALL the 9-11 terrorists where in the country LEGALLY??

      @XelanBonn - they applied for visas, got them, got on a plane and simply walked off the plane and into the US.. you understand that right? why would terrorists try to get into the country through some border crossing in the dead of the night when they can simply apply for a visa and and come here on a plane instead?? and how do you weed these bad people out from the good people?
      • Because, when you come here illegally

        you are deeper underground and harder to detect. It doesn't take a lot of brains to figure it out.
      • Well, not really.


        Your point is well taken if not completely factually true: a number of the 9-11 terrorists were "out of status", meaning they were no longer in the country legally. They did all appear to enter the country legally, however.

        Question: with over a century of wire-tapping, mail snooping, and privacy invading by law enforcement, do we have a single documented instance where this prevented a terrorist attack against US citizens? We he have a single documented instance of this being used effectively against on-US-citizens or lawful immigrants? Not being difficult here, just that I see the cost side of the issue, but don't know what the actual benefits have been.
      • Maybe you missed the part where that's harder than it used to be

        or some of the other pertinent facts like those that still do are now tracked more closely. Or that they;ve then realized it's easier to come in untracked through the mexican border. Or the estimate of otms (other than mexicans) coming over the mexican border every year is now 80000-100000, or the fact that terrorists from all over the middle east have been flooding into serval central american countries to come north over the border.
        Johnny Vegas
      • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?


        The real use for such illegals would be the same for terrorists as it was for the Soviets. They are best used to provide logistical support in a way that isn't easily backtraced after an operation has gone sour. Since they have neither apparent connection to the operators nor any relationship to known social networks of affiliated foreign nationals, they're all but indistinguishable from the background in an open, 'diverse' society lie ours. They can buy things and leave them in places that cannot be backtracked and put together, much less prevented easily or at all. They can provide untraceable transportation to materiel and operatives and other facilitators. They can hand off untraceable cell phones and weapons to people they've never met, whose faces they never look at. That's elementary tradecraft, friend.
    • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?

      @XelanBonn "boycott paying your federal taxes!"
      Please don't take this advice. Federal prisons already are overcrowded.
      • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?

        @zamboj@... They won't be once pot is legalized.
    • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?

      @XelanBonn That's 500,000 voters for Obama...they don't care about the borders, if they did we would have it secured and armed by now.

      They want someone to come in and attack, that'll just give them more justification for more power and to take our liberties away.
      • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?

        @cyberslammer Don't be absurd. We allow about 10 million people into the country every year. Most of them leave when they're supposed to. Those who remain behind don't vote, since they're not citizens.
      • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?


        Good joke, son. In an average year, since about 1980, some 3,000,000 have stayed more or less permanently. Also, not a few of them most assuredly HAVE voted. That's precisely why the Democrats in California (and elsewhere) insisted on 'Motor Voter'. They weren't getting enough votes anymore from the graveyards in places like Cook County, Illinois.
    • That darn Obama.

      He should've had that fence built by now. What was he thinking?

      I'm sure Bush, Clinton, all the others back to Washington, had GOOD reasons for leaving the border open. Probably so they had plenty of cheap labor for housekeeping.

      And I'd suggest that you start the boycott, since you're so evangelical about it. When you get out of prison, kindly let the rest of us know how much progress you caused to be made.
  • Terrorism financed by Superpowers

    Terrorism has always been sponsored by Superpowers (USA, Israel, etc.) to justify attacks against pre-designated geostrategic targets. Reread your history and all the BS they try to brainwash you with and there you got War on Terror (ahahaha)
    • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?

      @neeeko Hear hear!!!
    • HAHAHAHA that was so stupid it was funny

      Time for your meds
      Johnny Vegas
  • RE: Ready for the Facebook, Skype wiretap?

    Wow - very interesting. Google to an article, "Social Networking and the Blended Environment." It's by the author of I.T. WARS (should Google that too), David Scott. Very illuminating - we use his book at work; parts for orientation of new hires. Great stuff.