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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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  • Dial Up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HughDario ( 741581 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:11AM (#8550674)
    Wait, what about us who still have dial-up? (yes we do still exist) It says nothing about it in the article from what I saw.
  • by Animaniac ( 719374 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:13AM (#8550679)
    So instead of paying the ISP, I'd have to end up paying Uncle Sam through taxes. It's a lose-lose situation.
  • by parasyght ( 545609 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:15AM (#8550685)
    Carless wire tapping will some how turn into a corpate espionage tool. Give yer brother bill whos a cop a couple bucks, get access to the competitions phone wires, walla!! corpate espionage.

    can i use the word "walla" in a hypothesis?

  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:18AM (#8550696) Homepage
    ISP's are obliged by law to install wiretapping devices and provide internet connectivity to police to use these wiretapping devices. There's no warrant necessary to wiretap. Best of all, all encryption standards (except GOST, which comes from the government) are outlawed, so you can get hard time for using PGP. I haven't heard about anyone getting sued for using strong crypto, though, so it looks like these laws are not enfoced.
  • by Isbiten ( 597220 ) <> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:19AM (#8550701) Homepage
    Well at least if your using Mac OS X 10.3

    I used this [] tutorial on how to certify my email adress so the one receiving my email will know that's it me. Also when the receiver and the sender got a certified email adress you can encrypt your email adress.

    Yes I know about PGP but this is much easier since Mail automatically adds the senders key for you when you get a mail that's signed.
  • by Mark Trade ( 172948 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:21AM (#8550707)
    Yeah. Do so but invest in encryption outside the U.S. because the next step will be to ban encryption on the U.S. part of the internet. Ok, this will severely interfer with all kinds of online payment but how much sense would it make for the FBI if they are allowed to wiretap you but can't read what you type?
  • Civil Protest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rodgster ( 671476 ) < minus punct> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:34AM (#8550740) Journal
    everyone should download anything and everything they can think of. Delete it when it is done and then initiate a new down load.

    Bottom line: Saturate your download bandwidth.

    If Everyone did this, it would likely hamper any monitoring capability.

    I hate to advocat this this type of protest, but the bottom line is fuck you, get a warranat if you want to monitor my shit.

    From this day forward, my download bandwidth will be saturated.

    Like the SBC commercial in CA. "I'm gonna download the whole internet"!

    Hopefully this will overload their ability to attempt to monitor anything.

    This might be a good time to buy stock in harddrive manufacturers.
  • by velo_mike ( 666386 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:35AM (#8550744)
    If we are going to pay for them with taxes, then they should not be in the form of additional taxes. Rather, the legislature needs to tighten its purse-strings: cut social programs, reduce administrative salaries, and put the money back into where it needs to go: defense and public works.

    I'm right there with you, but I'm afraid we can't get there without crashing and burning first.

    think our Congressmen, Representatives and top-level government administrators have forgotten that they are servants of the people! They should be honored to have such a job!

    They certainly carry the attitude that we're lucky to have such generous people in charge.

  • Not likely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by max born ( 739948 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:49AM (#8550776)
    Wouldn't worry about this.

    1. The FBI is only "asking" the FCC which, anyway, lacks jurisdiction to tell IRC programmers how to program.

    2. The Internet is becoming more decentralzed (e.g. anonymous wireless LANS,P2P networks, etc.) so there will be too many small time non compliant ISPs to go after. And the government, not for want of trying, has so far shown only futile attempts at regulating the Internet.

    3. The only people for this are the FBI and a few conservative politicians. They're going up against the communications giants and equipment manufacuters -- financially secure industries with campaign contributions, lobby groups, and lots of lawyers.

    4. Besides all that, they just don't get it. Any two connected nodes communicating by pulses (ones and zeros) can always encrypt their conversation. Language is a secret handshake.

  • by Xabraxas ( 654195 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @06:13AM (#8550843)
    The problem isn't in allowing LEA access to what they want. It's making sure there's a process they have to go through to get them, which prevents them from getting the information when they shouldn't be.

    Too bad the government just doesn't follow the rules when they don't want to. Just ask the people who have spent years in military prisons in Guantanamo.

  • by vanillacoke ( 646623 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @06:13AM (#8550849) Homepage
    I don't think he meant to say bring the system down, because that's pretty stupid and we don't have a backup plan (rip it down to put it back up WTH?)....

    ANYWAY He is agitated like I am at the FBI for their complete incompetence, we already eroded our right for them and they still FUCK UP. The track record of the FBI is they consistently do more harm then good (anyone heard of them going after the guys who wrote Louie Louie for subversion?).
  • In Soviet Russia... (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2004 @06:25AM (#8550877)
    It's scary how often the U.S. under Bush reminds me of the late U.S.S.R.
  • Encryption (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sadler121 ( 735320 ) <> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @06:29AM (#8550891) Homepage
    Won't keep me from encrypting my phone calls when use VoIP. I'll just make sure I give people my public key along with my phone number!
  • Silly Feds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hondo_san ( 565908 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @06:36AM (#8550906)
    Yeah, like I'm supposed to buy a few hundred terabytes of storage for no other reason than to have records of traffic for whatever law enforcement dude that shows up in my office wanting to know what so-and-so IP address was doing two months ago? Hey, I'm all for backups, but I guess I can distill my feelings to a few words: "Are they on drugs, or just stupid?"

    I've had a detective show up twice at my ISP and ask to see records for IP addresses regarding a criminal investigation (eBay fraud, as it turned out). He was amazed that we didn't have *all* traffic, like logs of the actual content of e-mails, from several months earlier. I tried to explain that something like that would require storage that we couldn't afford, and he said "well, AOL saves all e-mails." Rigghht, of course they do. Hell, it would be trivial for us to sniff and archive every single e-mail for a year.

    Freaking morons.

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

    by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @06:55AM (#8550944)

    The problem is that the FBI may require "backdoors" in commercial software products.

    This represents a HUGE hassle for anybody programming these things, not to mention all the open source implications (like does the open source become illegal if it reveals the FBI's backdoor?).

    I'm with the earlier poster. If the FBI wants it, they can buy it. It shouldn't be anybody's burden to provide the FBI with free wiretapping services.
  • Re:FUCK GEORGE BUSH (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @08:51AM (#8551160)
    Rage is a good thing :)

    I'm actually a nice guy and i'm not out of control. I'm just becoming more defensive and vocal about what i think is happening to our country.

    I think i'm more inspired, than out of control. Because i will listen to all points of views.

    Despite my "Fuck George Bush" rant... I'm not a party guy. There are good republicans... The problem is whats happening now and the leadership must be held accountable.

    I think things like the patriot act will continue to evolve into more intrusive forms. Which is why i'm so pissed.

    I'm not against the government trying to protect us. But the question is at what cost?

    Most of us are computer expert users. I'm a 3d artist and director. I've grown up with computers since the vic20, c64s, atari home computers etc. The point is most of us know that there is no absolute security. All systems have their flaws and weaknesses.

    Our government is in pursuit of the absolute security device. There is no such thing. All we are doing is hurting our foundation as a free country.

    We have an administration that beleives in absolute control.

    And i simply do not feel like being controlled by them. They disagree with just about everything i do. I do not want their god in my life, nor do i want them amending the constitution to prevent gay marriage. I'm not gay, neither is george bush... why does it matter to us?! It matters to gay folks who love each other. The government is forcing themselves into their lives based on some religious morality! Then theres the security issues, the invasive nature, the lack of prosumption of innocence in this world, they're against STEM CELL RESEARCH FOLKS!!!.. come on.. these guys are insane.

    I do not like at all what is happening. And if that causes rage.. so be it.

    Like you said, people tend to get worked up and then sleep it off over the weekend. It passes.

    I cant let that happen. Its what being alive is about. Being inspired, not being bored and mundane.

    Come on.. You all saw Office Space!!! :)

    Its too easy to go down with the ship. Its much harder to pick up a bucket and bail the water like a madman in hopes of living.
  • by Lord of Ironhand ( 456015 ) <> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @09:18AM (#8551201) Homepage
    Oh, and before you thought this was just something typical of the American government and all the Europeans were laughing at you; we've had this kind of monitoring here in the Netherlands for some time now. To the extent that ISP's are not allowed to offer encrypted services such as IMAP over SSL.
  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @09:29AM (#8551220) Journal
    1. The FBI is only "asking" the FCC which, anyway, lacks jurisdiction to tell IRC programmers how to program.

    Currently, this is the case. I think that no matter what, there will be pragmatic issues. However, the FCC's role in regulating Internet-based things is very much up in the air, and conflicting opinions have been taken.

    The Clinton administration, barring a few moves, took a very federal-hands-off approach to the Internet (taxes, especially, were a big sticking point). Bush largely continued that. At some point, though, it's a good bet that someone's going to try regulating the Internet in various ways, and the FCC is the most obvious choice to designate as a starting point.

    2. The Internet is becoming more decentralzed (e.g. anonymous wireless LANS,P2P networks, etc.) so there will be too many small time non compliant ISPs to go after. And the government, not for want of trying, has so far shown only futile attempts at regulating the Internet.

    Not necessarily. For certain major systems, like VoIP, there will likely be a few large ones due to network effect. Think of AIM and ICQ today. If you don't play by the rules, you can't interoperate. These services are centralized, so it's easy to monitor and pick up on noncompliant systems.

    3. The only people for this are the FBI and a few conservative politicians. They're going up against the communications giants and equipment manufacuters -- financially secure industries with campaign contributions, lobby groups, and lots of lawyers.

    Now this is a damn good point, but I can think of a couple of legitimate counterarguments. The first is that telcos are scared of the VoIP. It breaks down barriers to entry that have existed for a long time to nothing. They have a *lot* of overhead and costs that have cropped up over years, and they're looking for a way out. If VoIP systems required key escrow and *federal approval* before they can be rolled out, it makes for a *very* nice barrier to entry. You just have to donate some money to the appropriate politicians, and you've good a good reason for companies to want to play along.

    4. Besides all that, they just don't get it. Any two connected nodes communicating by pulses (ones and zeros) can always encrypt their conversation. Language is a secret handshake.

    In theory, yes. In practice, there are only so many easy-to-use mass-market clients out there. It would be difficult but feasible to go after noncompliant types. For techies, this is a non-issue, since it's easy to whip something else new up each day. For Joe Blow, this is very effective.

    I first realized the "Joe Blow"-"techie" separation when the Feds stopped going after Zimmerman for PGP. It didn't *matter* that a couple of security nuts with the dedication to get gpg and a wrapper and mutt set up. There aren't many people who were willing to copy and paste text in and out of Eudora each thime they wanted to encrypt or decrypt a message. As a result, the masses did not use PGP, so PGP was not a huge issue. The hard-core security nuts and cryptographers are kept shut up, because they *can* set up PGP, and the Fed is happy because the masses *don't* use PGP.

    However, with VoIP, the issue came up again. Email is generally read on a computer, where you can add PGP on, and hence software vendors don't bundle PGP support. However, if you start selling VoIP embedded devices, you probably need to bundle native encryption support for it to be used. It will be easy-to-use and probably automatic. This is unacceptable, because the masses will start *using* end-to-end encryption.

    The thing is, I can't work up much dislike by the FBI, because they're getting displaced by the OHS, which is ever so much more nasty and has ever so much less oversight. At this point, the FBI is the lesser of two evils -- by a long, long, long shot.
  • by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @09:32AM (#8551224)
    I trust that timing the announcement of this proposal on the day after the Madrid terrorist bombings [] is just an unfortunate coincidence. Not that it would affect the public's sentiment one way or the other, right? And we can be confident that Congress will study it rationally and objectively, as demonstrated by their carefully considered passage of the Patriot Act, passed almost unanimously before any single human could even read all 800 pages of it, much less grasp its scope.
  • Re:Civil Protest (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mborland ( 209597 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @09:38AM (#8551232)
    If all significant Internet traffic was adequately encrypted it wouldn't much matter if they could tap the packets, it would be too costly to decrypt it.

    I agree generally with the intent your statement, but have two concerns:

    1) The government still should not have the right to monitor packets; you don't want them use the 'well, you can always encrypt your traffic' argument to support general sniffing, and

    2) Even if they can't decrypt the payload efficiently, they can still tell where the packets are going and presumably draw conclusions from that. Most likely they'd use such conclusions to get warrants for further access to your systems.

    For example, you get spam or other traffic from some hijacked computer in Syria/Chad...these days that would be enough to establish possible terrorist links--especially if the payload was encrypted.

    No monitoring whatsoever is appropriate.

  • by Thor Ablestar ( 321949 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @09:39AM (#8551234)
    The law requires the Russian ISP's to have a wiretap device and the police to obtain a permit and to pay for the wiretap, and the second law requires the ISP to deny any request for wiretap without a duly permit. I fully agree with this. Really, the police presses the ISP to have the wiretap always operational, fully paid by ISP and fully controlled by police, without any chance for ISP to check the compliance to the permit. As a result, the ISP install the wiretap, keep it disabled and challenge the police in court making a Russia-wide scandal and banner campaign. for more info (In Russian, sorry) and x for banners.

    Really, this scandal is 4 years old and already became a history.

    President's Decree No. 344 prohibits crypto but does not provide any sanctions for it's use so it's void.
  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @09:44AM (#8551246) Journal
    I've got a shitlist here:

    China: Repressive government with deep love for monitoring citizens and harsh penalties for political dissent.

    Australia: Extremely socially conservative government with love for censoring Internet.

    Britain: Anti-gun, laws forcing people to hand over passwords/keys upon request, leader has mouth firmly glued to Bush's cock.

    Netherlands: Apparently anti-encryption government?

    Man, I wish some hacker would grab email from a couple of important figures in the Netherlands and post said data all over.

    This worked nicely in the United States when protesting "trash rights". Theoretically, when you throw something out, you no longer lay claim to it, and it isn't yours. That means that anyone (even without a warrant) can come along and root through your trash for interesting information. The police force of some town busted someone for marijuana-growing or something after monitoring their garbage for a long time without a warrant. The local paper ran an editorial criticizing them. The mayor and police chief both bashed the editor of the paper, saying that the paper didn't know what it was talking about and should shut up. The police chief sent a letter in to the paper saying that the ability to monitor garbage wasn't an invasion of privacy and was perfectly acceptable. The editors of the paper ran out and collected the *mayor's* and *police chief's* trash for two weeks (using the same argument of legality that the police chief used), then published a rather embarassing dossier on each.
  • by AKnightCowboy ( 608632 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @10:17AM (#8551326)
    what about the US turning into a police state. I'd say that's quite a bit more disturbing than paying a few bucks.

    They've only got 8 more months to do this shit. I'm a fiscally conservative (and social moderate) Republican, but IF I vote it'll be for Kerry. I want this asshole Bush out of office before kids have to learn to goosestep and wear brown shirts in kindergarten. The religious right must've spooged in their shorts when the supreme court handed the Presidency to Bush, but it's set back democracy 100 years. I guess I'll have to deal with that Massachusetts asshat Kerry raising my taxes and giving welfare mothers more of my money for 4 years, but it's better than the fascist fucks in office right now.

  • by ShadowRage ( 678728 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @10:27AM (#8551360) Homepage Journal
    what next? required video camera on every computer monitor or you will be forced to face charges of treason and be tried as a terrorist for defying the us government? it's getting close.. europe has made a few hundred steps backward a few days ago with this act: .s html

    which allows european AND american companies to do whatever the fuck they want to european citizens. raid their houses, force isp's to give personal information, allow them to have access to prvate government records about people (so they can extort people) give them the freedom to do whatever they want to people... freeze their assets, basically, treat them worse than terrorists.

    what's scary is that we're about one step away from that.. that bill did every thing the US government would love to do. and will do within the next few years.

    this stuff is scary.

    time for some new politicians.
  • Re:Civil Protest (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Thomas Shaddack ( 709926 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @10:31AM (#8551380)
    SMTP and POP/IMAP proxying could be the solution you are looking for. Not REALLY secure, but good for most common cases.

    See eg. GPG Relay []. It's a nice proxy for transparent encryption of email.

  • by ElizabethP ( 761770 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @10:58AM (#8551464)
    Some people simply aren't going to work. I've seen it, I've lived with it. It's not a matter of a lot of people getting the help they need to get back into a job. Some people just don't want a job. They are perfectly content to get their welfare check, sit at home, watch tv, drink/smoke pot, whatever, so long as it doesn't involve their getting employment. Obviously, there are people who are dependent upon the system who genuinely need the assistance to pick themselves up. However, I have seen more than my fair share of people who fought harder to keep their welfare checks than they did to secure a job.
  • by turnstyle ( 588788 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @11:05AM (#8551491) 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."

    I think you're missing the point -- most pro-P2P'ers still want the authors to be compensated for their work.

    I don't know Mute, but I'm assuming that it's some sort of anonymous P2P? If so, then it's also at odds with the idea of compensating authors within a new system that embraces P2P.

    Again, my point is that we generally like the idea of privacy, but in the effort to legitimize P2P, those who traditionally stump for privacy (ie EFF) are now pushing for a new pseudo government agency to track what we do on the Internet.

    But because everybody loves to hate the RIAA, nobody seems to pay attention to details like this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2004 @11:21AM (#8551576)
    These people no longer have an interest in what I want. They know that by controlling the masses using the media outlets they can get the votes they want. They don't even have to do what we want.

    Instead, I am going to go and, in a legal manner, fund the purchase of two more firearms for friends of mine who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it.

    TIP: When a three letter agency operative shows up at the door to ruin everybody's life on some unconstituional law and gets shot up for his trouble everytime, eventually they stop coming. And I mean everybody.

    AGENT: "I'm here to enforce the new law that recommends that you brush your teeth at 8:15AM exactly every morning. Toothpaste lobbies, dontcha know. Unfortunately, you and your family brushed your teeth at 8:16 this morning. And sir, you missed a spot. So, we are going to go light on you today and just kill you and your family. We'll leave the dog"

    HOMEOWNER: "BLAM!!!!" "Honey, dig another hole in the yard for me..."
  • by L. J. Beauregard ( 111334 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @12:08PM (#8551789)
    Am I the only one who thinks it's no coincidence that the Feds sprung this on us right after the bombings in Madrid?
  • by Kyouryuu ( 685884 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @12:46PM (#8552009) Homepage
    Just you watch.
    • Ashcroft will sneak these provisions into Patriot Act III.
    • Bush will use his patrotic propaganda to ensure its safe passage.
    • It will become law right under the feet of many clueless individuals.
    • Bush will ensure it remains with his "You must be a terrorist if you want to weaken our security forces" rhetoric.
    It is a hope of mine that one day, the idiots in the government will come to realize that the Internet is supposed to be beyond any government's control. Unfortunately, I doubt the powermongers will ever let that happen.
  • Welfare bums (Score:5, Interesting)

    by M. Baranczak ( 726671 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:07PM (#8552877)
    Yeah, I've met people like that too. They're definitely a small percentage of society, but they do exist. But there are a few points I'd like to raise:

    1 - I have a problem with this Puritan idea that work is a moral obligation. "Work" should be something you do to solve a problem: If there's not enough food, you grow more food. If there's a hole in the roof, you fix the hole. If people are dying of disease, you make a vaccine. Our society has reached a point where there aren't enough of those problems to keep everyone employed; so what do we do? We create problems where there weren't any before. 20 years ago, were people truly suffering from the lack of GameBoys?

    2 - As a former manager in a small business, I can tell you that I wouldn't want those slackers working for me. I don't want employees who are forced to work for me; I want employees who do the work because they find it interesting, or because they like their co-workers, etc. If I have to give up 0.2 % of my paycheck to keep these lazy fucks out of my hair, I consider that a worthwhile investment.

    3 - If we do accept the above-mentioned Puritan work ethic, then we should apply it equally to all. What about the hereditary billionaires who never did a day's work in their lives? If they were forced to work for a living, it might keep them out of mischief. Like running for office.
  • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @04:49PM (#8553604)
    You mean the Johnson administration? That was more than a few years ago.

    Yes, Johnson wisely knew that Americans would only support a senseless war as long as they weren't made to pay for it. That's how deep even the most strident patriotism runs sometimes.

    And I remember the aftermath in the 70s, too: simultaneously soaring interest rates and unemployment. Look for more of the same as the Bushies continue to follow Argentina's example...

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...