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Government Privacy Your Rights Online

Obama Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority 646

An anonymous reader writes "The White House plans to deliver a bill to Congress next year that will require Internet-based communication services that use encryption to be capable of decrypting messages to comply with federal wiretap orders. The bill will go beyond CALEA to apply to services such as Blackberry email. Even though RIM has stated that it does not currently have an ability to decrypt messages via a master key or back door, the bill may require them to. Regarding this development, James Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology commented on the proposal, saying, 'They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.'"
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Obama Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority

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  • Clipper Chip 2.0 (Score:5, Informative)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:00AM (#33709986)
    Gee, where have we heard these arguments before?
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:03AM (#33710020) Journal

    >>>I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety [until the next tyrant comes along and uses his power to imprison you] deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

  • by EaglemanBSA ( 950534 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:05AM (#33710040)
    Wish I could mod you up. This kind of infraction by the government on its own people is inexcusable. Write your congressman, let them know how you feel, and vote!
  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:2, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:14AM (#33710124) Journal

    >>>McMansion, credit cards, luxury cars, online shopping sprees, ....

    Plus ~90,000 in mortgage plus credit card debt. Plus ~$140,000 in national debt that must be repaid someday. The American Republic is heading down the same path as the Roman Republic - bankruptcy. At the end they couldn't even raise an army to defend themselves.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:15AM (#33710136) Journal

    What does the DNC-NBC say about it?


    I'm guessing that's some regurgitated joke about MSNBC. If it is, you didn't even bother to check their front page. They seem to be running the regular AP story about it []. Look, when the New York Times are the only ones willing to get off their asses and actually do some work in order to garner eyeballs, it's hard to find other sources. Even the Fox News article appears to be entirely based off the New York Times article. Even the MSNBC article (and I'm guessing AP at large) cites them:

    The Times said the Obama proposal would ... The Times said that some privacy and technology advocates say the regulations would create weaknesses in the technology that hackers could more easily exploit.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:1, Informative)

    by grub ( 11606 ) * <> on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:20AM (#33710186) Homepage Journal
    My brother was a mortgage broker in the US for a number of years (we're Canadian). He told me about the insane mortgages and lines of credit people were getting. WAAAY over their heads in debt. He just shrugged and said "Down here it's all about image"
  • by cheekyjohnson ( 1873388 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:39AM (#33710368)

    "People like you have destroyed this nation"

    This nation was 'destroyed' long ago when it was decided to be a republic and/or follow a capitalistic approach. What you now see is a constant struggle for power and money by corporate tools, and if nothing is done soon, they will surely succeed. Sadly, thanks to the way this system was implemented, the votes of the people do little, and it is mostly in the hands of the government.

  • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:42AM (#33710404)

    ...what's to stop whoever is in the White House from 'disappearing' outspoken people they disagree with, without breaking the law?

    Legalized assassination of Americans you mean? In fact, they are already doing it [] - it's in court right now.

  • by dyfet ( 154716 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:46AM (#33710440) Homepage

    I want to be very clear on this statement, on behalf of GNU Telephony. It is not simply that we will choose to openly and publicly defy the imposition of such an illegitimate law, but we will explicitly continue to publicly develop and distribute free software (that is software that offers the freedom to use, inspect, and modify) enabling secure peer-to-peer communication privacy through encryption directly to the public worldwide as it is needed especially in nations, such as the United States, where basic human freedoms seem most threatened.

    To fully understand the nature of such surveillance and societies, imagine being among several hundred million people who each wake up each day having to prove they are not a "terrorist" by whatever arbitrary means the government has decided to both define the terms of such a crime and whatever arbitrary means they might choose to define you as such. It is a society who's very foundation is built on the idea of everyone being guilty until proven innocent. It is the imposition of an illegitimate society, and one that probably will ultimately require a revolutionary response.

    David Alexander Sugar
    Chief Facilitator
    GNU Telephony

  • by horza ( 87255 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:55AM (#33710522) Homepage

    As betterunixthanunix says above, we've already seen the abject failure of the Clipper chip in the US. In the UK they tried to pass a "key escrow" bill which would have made it illegal to send anything encrypted without lodging a copy of the key with the government first. Campaigning got this bill defeated several times, and so instead we got RIPA which means law enforcement can oblige you to hand over decryption keys (or you go straight to jail).

    Huge amount of material here: []


  • Re:Hahah (Score:4, Informative)

    by osgeek ( 239988 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:04AM (#33710610) Homepage Journal

    It just kills me that the voting public is so abjectly stupid when electing the POTUS. They can never see through the campaign rhetoric, the "my team" mentality, and the cults of personality. They fall for them every single time.

    Rather than voting for principled politicians like Kucinich or Ron Paul (or hell, even Nader), the public goes for the flashy salesmen who just tell the voters what they want to hear to get elected. Then they just screw us all over as much as the last guy did.

    So sad...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:13AM (#33710692)

    The sad part is that people will be disappointed in Obama (as they will be disappointed in all politicians) and will vote for the other party that started all this shit in the first place.

    The "shit" actually started with Obama's party, but started long before GW Bush was even born.

    Study your history son, and you'll find that Franklin D. Roosevelt was the instigator of the US federal government's hardest turn and acceleration towards the path of this kind of tyranny.

  • Re:Miss me Yet? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:17AM (#33710758)

    No, I don't miss you George Bush. And never will! But I'm sure the million of Americans miss the trillion of dollars you put in the Iraq war.

  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by numbski ( 515011 ) <(ten.revliskh) (ta) (iksbmun)> on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:31AM (#33710934) Homepage Journal

    Sadly, the "Troll" is right. I voted for Obama, and either he doesn't know what he's saying (very possible), or he's lost his mind.

    This would basically make things like SSH illegal unless you turned over the master keys ahead of time. Or heck, gpg/pgp - even http over port 443 with TLS (better known to the masses as https or ssl).

    This is straight up insanity.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:4, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:53AM (#33711218) Journal

    >>>"favored a program of modernization and economic protectionism."

    Sounds like big government and anti-consumer to me. AKA crony capitalism. Let the Whigs live in the past and instead vote Libertarian - as close to Jeffersonian ideals as you're likely to find in the modern world. The L Party's views can be succinctly defined as "put the 9th and 10th Amendments above all else".

  • Disingenuous title (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bootsy Collins ( 549938 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:26AM (#33711826)

    I love how the OP gave this article a title of "Obama Wants . . ." (well, the submission used "US President wants. . ."). Not the FBI or the DOJ or the NSA, or even "Feds Want . . ." in order to be comprehensive; but Obama. As if this was some devious idea Obama had while dining on babies, rather than something the law enforcement and national security comunities have been working up for more than a half-decade. Of course he's responsible for the actions of the administration while he's president; but that's a long way from this being part of his nefarious plan for fascism. I looked for the quote from Obama or a spokesperson of his in TFA -- something, *anything* indicating this was an initiative specifically coming from him -- but couldn't find it. Nonetheless, just as the OP intended, 90% of the replies have been about Obama, rather than about the actual regulations. Way to be manipulated, folks. Given this, how unsurprising that the story link accompanying the submission was to Fox News, even though that Fox News story does absolutely nothing more than quote a story in the NYT.

    And to head it off at the pass -- it shouldn't be necessary, but someone here will try it anyway -- I can't stand Obama. I think he's been terrible in a variety of ways. I just also can't stand people who are intellectually dishonest in an effort to score political points.

  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:35AM (#33711972)

    I don't know. I think he really does know what he's saying, and the fact that it is opposed to his campaign rhetoric is nothing more than "taking off the mask" and proving he is just like everyone else in politics. Crooked, corporatist, and full of himself. This is MOTS, and yet, people still believe he's different from the last guy. Well, he is black. That is a difference. But since he never repealed any of the executive orders of Shrub's admin... Guantanamo's still open... and he simply followed the existing treaty for troops leaving Iraq (not 6 months after taking office as he promised).... People should pay more attention to "change"... so they can tell when it really isn't.

  • by Arnold Reinhold ( 539934 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:53AM (#33712340) Homepage
    By law, the US government publishes a report each year on all lawful wiretaps, Federal and state. Here is an excerpt from the latest report: "Public Law 106-197 amended 18 U.S.C. 2519(2)(b) to require that reporting should refect the number of wiretap applications granted for which encryption was encountered and whether such encryption prevented law enforcement officials from obtaining the plain text of communications intercepted pursuant to the court orders. In 2009, one instance was reported of encryption encountered during a state wiretap; however, this did not prevent officials from obtaining the plain text of the communications." In other words, there was just one lawful wiretap last year where communications were encrypted and even that did not stymie law enforcement. The proposed law is not about aiding law enforcement, it's about perfecting the surveillance society, where all communications are filtered for suspicious content.
  • by ffreeloader ( 1105115 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:12PM (#33712668) Journal

    The entire context of the quote is the problem that the colonial Pennsylvania legislature of the 1750's was having with Crown-appointed governors, and the then-current governor in particular. He had a habit of not responding to the legislature's requests, and when he did saying that they were at fault for not contacting him earlier. The specific issue was the funding of ammunition and arms for the poorer families on the frontier so that they could fight if they chose to. Those people only wanted the government to help in how they tackled the problem, because they only wanted the government to be involved so far, and no further. They were not willing to give up essential liberties to get temporary safety as the governor always wanted to do things in a way that reduced the rights of the people in exchange for help. He was always looking for ways to make them more dependent on England.

    Saying that this is an anti-pacifism rant is ridiculous. It's nothing of the sort. It's a rebuke to a British Crown-appointed governor who is playing games with the lawful colonial power structure and the people.

    You're the one who is taking the quote out of context and then claiming others are doing it when it clearly is applicable to the situation and has been applied to this type of situation for centuries.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:38PM (#33713076)
    Even you do not put it far enough back. The case could be made that Lincoln was the one who started this slide (although I would argue that his expansions of the Federal government were more in the light of emergency measures than a reflection of personal philosophy of government). The earliest President I come across who expanded federal power as a goal in and of itself was Woodrow Wilson. In addition, he appears to have consciously done it in a manner to make it easier for his successors to expand that power even further.
  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:34PM (#33713958) Journal

    While the Bush Administration certainly pushed for major increases in intrusiveness, it wasn't new with them either - Louis Freeh from the FBI were pushing this kind of thing under the Clinton Administration as well, and presumably the Bush 41 and Reagan administrations. The civilian surveillance enthusiasts aren't just up in the political structure of the Executive Branch - they're down at the operational levels in the FBI and NSA, and of course the kinds of people that get picked to run the FBI are part of that. The NSA wanted to prevent Communists from having eavesdropping-resistant conversations, but they've long since figured out that there aren't really any significant Commies around any more. On other other hand, the FBI is heavily into eavesdropping, primarily for the Drug War, secondarily for Gambling(!), and also for other crimes which make up a high fraction of their rhetoric but only a few percent of their actual reported wiretap approvals.

  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:4, Informative)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:36PM (#33713968) Homepage Journal

    Well Fox news is pretty bad as a sole source but your point is brilliant and true.
    When I found out that Obama wanted to end the manned space program during the election I told some of the faithful Obamaians at work.
    The flat out refused to believe it.
    The questioned the source first "Wired" and then criticized me for believing it.
    When I took the link from the wired article to the Obama website and showed it to them then they said, "Well he must have a good reason".
    Then after the election when he tried to kill the Ares they where shocked and said that they never would have voted for him if they knew!

  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:4, Informative)

    by tachyonflow ( 539926 ) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:00PM (#33714330) Homepage
    I think it's this bullet point, mentioned in the New York Times article [], that has people concerned:

    "Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must redesign their service to allow interception."

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.