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FBI Adds to Wiretap Wish List 471

WorkEmail writes "A far-reaching proposal from the FBI, made public Friday, would require all broadband Internet providers, including cable modem and DSL companies, to rewire their networks to support easy wiretapping by police. The FBI's request to the Federal Communications Commission aims to give police ready access to any form of Internet-based communications. If approved as drafted, the proposal could dramatically expand the scope of the agency's wiretap powers, raise costs for cable broadband companies and complicate Internet product development."
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FBI Adds to Wiretap Wish List

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  • Encryption. (Score:5, Informative)

    by captnitro ( 160231 ) * on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:25AM (#8550718)
    If you boil a frog, it doesn't know that it's in trouble until its legs are paralyzed and can't escape. Yup.

    This is probably more for the "VoIP" segment of the universe than "XBox Live", this is a perfect reason to enable IPSEC over VoIP.

    Too often the open source community thinks of the unreasonable approaches before the reasonable, and that's only because you have to fight fire with fire. In this case, you have to have as much reason as a politician will -- and yes, that sometimes means being as evil as they can be -- that is to say, with transparent encryption, it makes it unreasonable for a state agency to tap because it would mean confiscating servers and disrupting business (the state, in the US, must have a compelling state interest to do just about anything). This can have two effects: (1) Hosts increasingly require unreasonable agreements (CYA). (2) The disruption of business is so much that is becomes a burden for politicians to support.

    My point being: look guys, we're Slashdotters, and we administrate public networks, and we're smarter than them, and with no disrespect, we can make prior art out of whatever aged notions of data security they have. That's what open source is about; the gathering of the people above those with green and power.

    We should assume our data is being intercepted in the first place -- that's why you provide data security. Thou shalt encrypt.

    ALSO SEE: Due Process, Fourth Amendment.
  • by Roydd McWilson ( 730636 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:31AM (#8550733) Journal
    ahem, "voila []" comes from French, mademoiselle.
  • Freeswan (Score:4, Informative)

    by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:39AM (#8550749) Homepage
    Perhaps Freeswan [] went into retirement a bit too soon. Freeswan offered ubiquitous encryption throughout the internet where computers would negotiate secure transport mechanisms with each other on an opportunistic rather than pre defined basis.
  • in The Netherlands (Score:5, Informative)

    by sachar ( 620132 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:44AM (#8550766)
    ISP's have been forced to install tapping devices since december 1998. Accroding to the Dutch Telecommunications Act 1998.
  • Re:Right.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:55AM (#8550797)
    We (a large Dutch ISP) have it set up in such a way that on each router which has customers connected to it, either on a switched network or directly on an UBR there is one interface configured for tapping. This inteface will mirror all the data coming from the customer interface, which then is filtered out by an dedicated tapping/sniffer box so only the targets data gets stored.
  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Informative)

    by PacoTaco ( 577292 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:56AM (#8550802)
    There's this book [].
  • Crypto in Russia (Score:4, Informative)

    by drosselmeyer ( 707244 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @06:21AM (#8550863)
    For government insititutions, yes. Government-owned corporations may only use certified encryption technology, and only GOST is certified. (It's not a bad standard for strong private-key encryption, but not very popular either.)

    It is not clear if the specified regulations actually apply to private citizens or to private-owned companies, but there is no article in Penal Code about illegal use of encryption. It is clear that this law (as well as many other evil laws) was never actually enforced. (Thank God!) The fact that everybody, including government, uses SSL in daily practice due to using existing OS and browser software incorporating it is quietly ignored.

    In real life, unless you actually find anyone getting busted for this, you should ignore the rumors and use crypto if you feel you need it. Practice is much more of a criterion than written law in this country. For example, there's no law prohibiting the usage of GPS devices for purposes other than construction work, but people do get in trouble for using them anyway, on the grounds of misinterpretation of the existing regulations - like the absurd notion that all geographical coordinates more precise than 200 meters are classified.
  • Re:1984 (Score:2, Informative)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @07:30AM (#8551003)
    The visionary was Kurt Vonnegut, and the story was actually called "Harrison Bergeron," which even went so far as to extend itself to the hypothetical Apple commercial, right down to the gunshot and falling body.

  • Re:Stock Tip (Score:3, Informative)

    by Troed ( 102527 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @08:24AM (#8551116) Homepage Journal
    Freenet [] (among others) already deal with that, through extensive proxying.

    Install it today - you will need it working tomorrow.

  • Agreed: "The Bush administration and the Republican majority in Congress have used the tragedy of 9/11 to spread fear among Americans, and are using that fear to gain control of all three branches of government - legislative, executive and judicial. If we don't stop allowing the right-wing factions in this country to consolidate their power by taking away our freedoms one by one we won't have a country worth saving."

    The U.S. government is rapidly becoming more corrupt. Here are just a few examples, which were posted before to another story:

    Killing people and destroying their property:
    N.Y. Times editorial []
    "... Americans paid Ahmad Chalabi to gull them into a war that is costing them a billion a week and a precious human cost."

    Lying about scientific facts:
    "The Bush administration has deliberately and systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals..."
    N.Y. Times []
    The Guardian []
    Wired News []
    Union of Concerned Scientists []

    The present terrorism against the U.S. people is partly the result of the U.S. government's secret violence:
    About a year ago, I hastily put together a short, incomplete history that shows what has happened: History surrounding the U.S. war with Iraq: Four short stories [].

    If you don't like it, vote accordingly.
  • Re:Stock Tip (Score:3, Informative)

    by Futurepower(R) ( 558542 ) <> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @09:48AM (#8551255) Homepage
    "If Skype [] becomes illegal, only criminals will have Skype." (Encrypted VOIP, with better sound quality than telephones, and free, at present.)
  • Re:Tin Foil Hats (Score:2, Informative)

    by Thor Ablestar ( 321949 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @09:58AM (#8551269)
    ask our russian hacker friends how did they manage when KGB had similar powers.

    Here were no modems and no PC before about 1990, the computer culture was based on mainframes, minicomputers, drum printers and on transport of 1/2 inch tapes. And the last peak of KGB powers was before 1985, during Andropov's rule.
  • by Trejkaz ( 615352 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @10:38AM (#8551402) Homepage
    So the thing to do would be to use a P2P service like Mute, where nobody can track any of the traffic, not even a node on the network.
  • Re:Civil Protest (Score:2, Informative)

    by Thomas Shaddack ( 709926 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @10:39AM (#8551409)
    Another possibility is to set up a webmail for her on a machine under your own control, under HTTPS, and give her a certificate-based access.

    Yet another possibility is to set up a SMTP/POP account, again on your own machine, and wrap the connections to it in SSL. If all the send/receive connections are protected by SSL, either by a native client support or by wrapping them in stunnel, and there is either no mail relaying (only one SMTP server, which if you both use the same machine is the situation, or all the servers in the chain use STARTTLS), then the spooks have much more difficult day.

  • by Clemence ( 16887 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @11:00AM (#8551475)
    None of those tags worked (Use the Preview Button! Check those URLs!):

    The civil libertarians realize what none of the tin-foil hat paranoiacs on /. do. This does nothing at all to expand the legal authority of the FBI or anyone else to tap communications. The same laws (and the same amendments to the U.S. Constitution) still make it a serious pain in the a$$ to get a wiretap order. This proposal simply would have the FCC impose standards on the infrastructure so that once the legal hurdles are overcome, technical ones don't halt an investigation.

    Obviously, the first step in defending our rights and freedoms is vigilance. Everyone give yourself a pat on the back for vigilance.

    The next and essential step is actually identifying the real problem. Here the problem is not that the proposal will "dramatically expand the scope of the agency's wiretap powers," because it can't. First, no law specifically authorizes the FBI's wiretap powers, but the gov'ts. Second, the FCC has NO AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER to define when law enforcement can or cannot tap someone's communications. Third, it it was such a realistic threat, it would have already happened, as such laws and regulations have been implemented in the past.

    To protect your rights, you must know your rights and understand the system, so that you know when you're really threatened and how and where to direct your energy. Read before you (continue to) rant:

    1. Things like this are already required as explained in this summary [] of this law [] (remember CALEA from 1994?)!

    2. The authority to wiretap anyone's communication is governed not by the FCC but by this amendment [] to the Constitution (with informative analysis) and this statute [].

    This is a threat to your ISP service bill and the quality of the services and software, not your constitutional rights. I don't want to live in a market where all communications products have legally mandated back doors, either. But not because I'm afraid the FBI (or NSA or MS or anyone) will then be able to eavesdrop on everything I do. They lack the resources, the skills, and the authority to do that whether the FCC accepts this proposal or not.

  • Re:Encryption. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @11:10AM (#8551507) Homepage Journal
    If you boil a frog, it doesn't know that it's in trouble until its legs are paralyzed and can't escape. Yup.

    Just to make sure readers know:
    Snopes on Frog Boiling []

    In short, the adage isn't literally true, although it might be figuratively true.
  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Saturday March 13, 2004 @01:38PM (#8552258) Journal
    Can't have it both ways. If the WTC was an act of war, then all the people being held without trial in guantanimo (sp) bay should be prisoners of war and subject to the geneva convention, instead of being "enemy combatants" and tortured.

    Actually you are wrong. If you take actions outside of the realm of a normal solider then under the Geneva convention you are considered a spy and subject to execution if caught.

    During the Battle of the Bulge the Germans sent English speaking special operations forces behind allied lines dressed in American uniforms to disrupt communications. When these forces were caught they were summarily executed by the allies.

    If you want the Geneva convention to apply to you then I suggest you put on a uniform and face us on the field of battle. It doesn't apply if you fly airliners into our buildings.

  • by AtariKee ( 455870 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @01:49PM (#8552309)
    Social welfare accounts for approximately 50 billion dollars in taxpayer money a year. Corporate welfare accounts for approximately 150 billion of our hard-earned dollars a year, which the corporations take and then say "Sayanara! We're moving to China!"

    If you need a site, I'll be happy to dig one up for you.

    You want to complain about welfare? Start making noise about corporate welfare!

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.