In the government’s continuing effort to show that it is more terrifying than al-Qaeda or Hamas, the FBI is planning a new push to give itself more Internet-tapping powers than it already has:
The FBI has drafted sweeping legislation that would require Internet service providers to create wiretapping hubs for police surveillance and force makers of networking gear to build in backdoors for eavesdropping, CNET News.com has learned.
FBI Agent Barry Smith distributed the proposal at a private meeting last Friday with industry representatives and indicated it would be introduced by Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.
The draft bill would place the FBI’s Net-surveillance push on solid legal footing. At the moment, it’s ensnared in a legal challenge from universities and some technology companies that claim the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband surveillance directives exceed what Congress has authorized.
The FBI claims that expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act is necessary to thwart criminals and terrorists who have turned to technologies like voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.
Okay, first: Why the fuck is the FBI drafting legislation?! I didn’t know that the FBI was a legislative body, blessed with the power to write laws for our society. I always figured that the FBI was a law-enforcement agency and arm of the Justice Department! What the fuck is the FBI doing?!
I suppose that this law was actually written in a Republican-controlled think tank, farmed out to the FBI for approval, and then routed up to Congress through the office of Mike DeWine. But still, I consider the way laws are written these days to be nothing short of treasonous. Laws should be written and voted upon in the Senate or the House. The “think tank” system is full of shit. It’s a way of routing around constitutional protections and letting Big Industry, Big Media and Big Defense to write their dream legislation with the help of the think tanks who then send it up to the Congress Critters and watch them scurry around and make cosmetic changes to secure alliances and votes. What a crazy system we’ve developed. It needs to be examined, but obviously any congressional oversight will consist of looking the other way.
Anyway, I’m so pissed at how this legislation was written that I haven’t even gotten around to what they wrote yet:
The 27-page proposed CALEA amendments seen by CNET News.com would:
- Require any manufacturer of “routing” and “addressing” hardware to offer upgrades or other “modifications” that are needed to support Internet wiretapping. Current law does require that of telephone switch manufacturers–but not makers of routers and network address translation hardware like Cisco Systems and 2Wire.
- Authorize the expansion of wiretapping requirements to “commercial” Internet services including instant messaging if the FCC deems it to be in the “public interest.” That would likely sweep in services such as in-game chats offered by Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming system as well.
- Force Internet service providers to sift through their customers’ communications to identify, for instance, only VoIP calls. (The language requires companies to adhere to “processing or filtering methods or procedures applied by a law enforcement agency.”) That means police could simply ask broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast or Verizon for wiretap info–instead of having to figure out what VoIP service was being used
- Eliminate the current legal requirement saying the Justice Department must publish a public “notice of the actual number of communications interceptions” every year. That notice currently also must disclose the “maximum capacity” required to accommodate all of the legally authorized taps that government agencies will “conduct and use simultaneously.”
So basically, they want to tap our routers, tap our chatrooms, tap our VoIP calls and they want to not have to tell anybody about it. Great. How ’bout we just give you the keys to our house, too? Maybe we could install a camera in our bathroom for ya? Would that make it all better, FBI?
Jesus fucking Christ on a pogo-stick. They are shooting for the moon with this legislation, which would make the FBI much more powerful than it was back during the abuses of the 60s and 70s.
Hopefully this bill won’t make it out of committee, but we can’t count on that with all of the neo-fascists in the Senate. Apparently our constitutional rights don’t count for much these days. We’ll see. In the meantime, we get to contemplate a future in which the FBI has a copy of all our internet surfing (the NSA already has a copy).
A federal judge yesterday postponed the sentencing of a former government computer contractor who hacked the e-mail passwords of all FBI employees, including the director, several times in 2004.
The security breaches temporarily shut down an FBI classified records system containing data about witness protection and counterespionage, according to records in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Some hacker has the FBI Director’s password and you want me to trust the Director with my private conversations? …Fuck that!
Besides, I don’t see why we should give the FBI access to our internet usage when the NSA is already doing their own internet-tapping. We don’t need any more redudancy in government. We’re paying a lot in taxes to have our rights continually infringed as is, and you think we should be paying higher taxes so our rights can be violated more efficiently? …Fuck that!
And people wonder why I’m cynical about government. Are you telling me I should trust these fuckers? …Fuck that!
Honestly, I don’t worry about those cave-dwelling terrorists at all anymore. Worrying about my own government’s increasing fascism is enough.
Kinda makes you wonder who’s really behind terrorism…