CommunityFDL Main BlogThe Bullpen

Government Seeks Broader Power For Wiretapping Americans On Facebook And Google

In a free society the government is transparent and citizens have privacy – in America the situation is reversed. The government is allowed to invoke secrecy whenever it likes as the citizenry gradually lose all their privacy. And now a government task force spearheaded by the FBI wants to take what remains of privacy in America. Upset by technological innovation and people doing things they can’t easily spy on, the FBI wants broader authority to force companies like Facebook and Google to give them user information.

A government task force is preparing legislation that would pressure companies such as Face­book and Google to enable law enforcement officials to intercept online communications as they occur, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the effort.

Driven by FBI concerns that it is unable to tap the Internet communications of terrorists and other criminals, the task force’s proposal would penalize companies that failed to heed wiretap orders — court authorizations for the government to intercept suspects’ communications.

Right, it’s all about criminals and terrorists. You know like the Boston Bombers which were already on the watch list but the FBI dropped the ball. It couldn’t be that the FBI actually wants to monitor political dissenters. Oh wait, yes that is why.

Under the draft proposal, a court could levy a series of escalating fines, starting at tens of thousands of dollars, on firms that fail to comply with wiretap orders, according to persons who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. A company that does not comply with an order within a certain period would face an automatic judicial inquiry, which could lead to fines. After 90 days, fines that remain unpaid would double daily.

Instead of setting rules that dictate how the wiretap capability must be built, the proposal would let companies develop the solutions as long as those solutions yielded the needed data. That flexibility was seen as inevitable by those crafting the proposal, given the range of technology companies that might receive wiretap orders. Smaller companies would be exempt from the fines.

This is a great way to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Build any kind of startup that people could use to communicate and the government mandates that you spend your capital and time building an Orwellian surveillance system they can have access to – or face massive fines.

This Orwell Tax will not only crush innovation it will destroy the open web, turning it into one big state surveillance station. And you thought CISPA was bad.

Previous post

Did the Government Compromise its Case by Refusing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Requests for a Lawyer?

Next post

Over Easy - The Brave Engineer and the Say Hey Kid

Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.