FBI

FBI to Facebook: More Privacy Breaches, Please

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The FBI continues its quest to tap the Internet:

FBI recruitment pamphlet

Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, traveled to Silicon Valley on Tuesday to meet with top executives of several technology firms about a proposal to make it easier to wiretap Internet users.

Mr. Mueller and the F.B.I.'s general counsel, Valerie Caproni, were scheduled to meet with senior managers of several major companies, including Google and Facebook, according to several people familiar with the discussions….

Mr. Mueller wants to expand a 1994 law, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, to impose regulations on Internet companies.

The law requires phone and broadband network access providers like Verizon and Comcast to make sure they can immediately comply when presented with a court wiretapping order.

Law enforcement officials want the 1994 law to also cover Internet companies because people increasingly communicate online….Under the proposal, firms would have to design systems to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages. Services based overseas would have to route communications through a server on United States soil where they could be wiretapped.

Peter Suderman has more on the proposal here. Related: the rise and fall of the Clipper Chip.

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  1. It’s been said before, even here, but it needs saying again. Any back door designed into a system WILL BE EXPLOITED by the bad guys, no matter how carefully the keys are guarded. That’s why we shouldn’t build back doors, no matter what excuse some government hack (including the head of the FBI) might bring. It’s just plain bad security policy. Period.

    1. He who would trade security for security, deserves…wait, that’s not how it goes. *scratches noggin*

    2. Jeez, didn’t we go through why this is a stupid idea with the whole Clipper chip debate in the 90s? It’s not less stupid today.

    3. Even worse, in many cases the FBI is the bad guys.

      1. Yeah, if I have to choose between a secure internet and fibbies, I’m going with the internet.

  2. This is why I don’t trust the internets any farther than I can throw it.

    1. What does this even, Owch; how can you throw something; ungh abstract; eeeeeeeeee….

      I can throw the internet further than I can throw a baby. but not farther.

  3. “Law enforcement USA-NKVD officials want the 1994 law to also cover Internet companies because people increasingly communicate online[…]

    Getting with the times, it seems…

    “Under the proposal, firms would have to design systems to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages. Services based overseas would have to route communications through a server on United States soil where they could be wiretapped.

    I imagine the local USA-NKVD thinks they can compel those companies to eat up such cost under the “power to tax” clause . . .

    1. I’m questioning how the US government can “require” services based outside its jurisdiction to do anything.

      Unless we’re talking about the ol’ “arrest the CEO at the airport” gambit.

  4. But wait, I don’t understand… why would the FBI meet with Google? Google’s motto is “don’t be evil” so obviously they can’t be evil. I store all my email and documents on their servers, use their cell phone OS, and always search with them. You can trust them, they said they are not evil.

    1. Maybe the “don’t be evil” motto is directed at everyone else.

  5. Isn’t this fight over already? Didn’t PGP kill it? Plus, the FBI leaks like a sieve.

  6. The girl on the cover looks like Shauna Grant.

    http://s12.acephotos.org/image…..t5t7w6.jpg

  7. A Google official declined to comment. Mr. Noyes said it would be premature for Facebook to take a position.

    They’re for it.

    Evil and Stupid’s theoretical future competitors can’t afford to “design systems to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages”?so they’ll remain theoretical.
    It’s a huge win for Evil, who’ve been seeking (and increasingly achieving) symbiosis with the state for years now.
    W00t.

    1. Wouldn’t that make Evil stupid as well? Unless the government partnership would give them a monopoly, Evil would only lose money by joining with it.

  8. The simple, obvious solution would be for the FBI to only focus on the real threats: Everyone associated in any way with right-wing political activism. Focus solely on that part of the population, and leave everything and everyone else alone, because that is where 100% of the threat lives.

  9. Well, I guess I should be mildly surprised that they’re only asking the companies to do this in response to a court-ordered wiretapping, and not just ordering them to do it in private for any government request.

    Somehow, that’s still not very comforting.

    1. Patience, my child. We’ll get to that in due time.

      Now, hand me that mascara.

    2. Why do you think it’s an either-or situation?

      1. J. Edgar Hoover?? If I shaved that man’s back once, I shaved it a thousand times. How he expected to fight crime wearing high heels, was a mystery though. Why, I remember this one time… hey! You kids get off my lawn!

  10. Law enforcement officials want the 1994 law to also cover Internet companies because people increasingly communicate online.

    Damn, it sure is such a shame that that law and the ones governing the FCC separate out purely Internet communications from those that interact with the Plain Old Telephone System. We need to change those laws right away so that the FCC will have the power to implement “net neutrality.”

  11. Law enforcement officials want the 1994 law to also cover Internet companies lunch counters and restaurant tables because people increasingly communicate online while dining out.

  12. There are some creepy angles to all this. What’s really too bad is it’s not hard to crank up a SIP-VOIP client with shared keys, so only communicating parties can readily descramble each other’s data. Look at Skype packets now, totally encapsulated, flies through VPN’s without a hitch. Really hard to decrypt. THe reason there isn’t a Paranoia-style VOIP app is because there’s no market for one…but there will be soon looks like. What really sucks about that is it will be back to same ol’ same ol scenario: Bad guys are still incognito, average rubes get the shaft.

    Another thing that’s starting to bug me about law enforcement (not just the USA, but the West in general) is the utter dependence these stoops have on databases. Unless their mark looks up on any of their little databases, those chumps can’t find anybody.

    Look at the hit parade:
    Osama throws sat phone away. Been stumped for ten years since he did that.

    The creep who abducted Elizabeth Smart:
    Guy didn’t have a cell phone, didn’t have a Twitter account. Cops were stumped. Didn’t believe Smart’s little sister’s ID of the guy who had abducted her, thought they had their man in the can already…he just wasn’t talking (that dude died in prison BTW). Finally John Walsh blew the lid off that thing. But if left up to LE? That kid would be living in a cave cranking out little grubby prophet-children for a mad man right about now.

    Eric Rudolph: They tried to find that guy in the North Carolina woods for years with all the James Bond fixings: FLIR cameras on choppers, sniffer dogs – the fucking National Guard – and couldn’t find that guy. Finally, some rookie cop in an alley catches the idiot terrorist dumpster-diving years later, by dumb luck.

    We want more of this ineptitude? When the cops need society to cooperate in these kinds of endeavors, the uncooperative elements of society slip through the cracks that much easier. Just utter stupidity.

    1. The UnaBomber was turned in by his brother.

    2. And they have no idea who kills all those truckstop hookers. They don’t post about it on Twitter.

  13. Inside the mind of law enforcement:

    Catching bad guys is hard. Bullying law-abiding citizens is much easier, and more lucrative.

  14. In United States, internet looks at you!

  15. People still use facebook?

  16. If you have nothing to hide, what’s the big deal?

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