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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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  • by elucido ( 870205 ) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:52AM (#33709922)

    Now they want to direct all the spy agencies on the new "terrorist" the American citizen. They want to bug our houses, tap our phones, point satellites and drones at us, have informants stalk us, and feed the information back to the local police so that if we break even the slightest most esoteric arcane law we get raided, arrested etc.

    Replace "Obama" with "Bush" and it's "Bush Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority." and the reason is to help law enforcement? Privacy and civil liberties should be given up to help the police put us in jail easier? They have to do a better job justifying the unlimited surveillance powers they claim to need. There aren't that many terrorists, unless they plan on going back to the 60s and raiding all the anti war movement hippy types and Alex Jones listeners who happen to know what encryption is.

    There is an FBI already. There is an NSA already. If it's a national security concern the NSA already can crack the encryption so why do we have to make it so easy that any 2 bit local cop can do it? If it's about national security I'm sure they already can crack most of it if not all of it. If it's about law enforcement then it's not worth the sacrifice. There aren't enough criminals to justify it and most criminals aren't using encryption.

    The only way they can justify this that I can see is with the "It's more efficient, it saves money", unfortunately even if it does save money it doesn't offer anything to the citizen. It doesn't make us feel safer and probably doesn't actually make us safer either. For a lot of us it will make us feel less safe because whenever a person feels under the microscope they usually feel less safe.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AnonymousClown ( 1788472 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:04AM (#33710028)

    Seriously? The average voter has NO clue about stuff like this. In fact, they'll probably vote FOR it, if someone calls it anti-terrorist.


    For them nothing has changed since 9/11. They're living "normally" as far as they're concerned. All they have to worry about is making payments on their McMansion, credit cards, luxury cars, online shopping sprees, ....

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

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:12AM (#33710102) Homepage

    It's them just trying to get Republican votes...just like Democrat politicians are all about equality except for themselves, who require bigger and better things, Republican politicians advocate smaller government...except when it comes to invading your personal life.

  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:21AM (#33710194)

    let's not resort to slippery slope arguments.

    First I didn't resort to slippery slope arguments.

    Then I didn't denouce fallacies. ...

    When it came down to basic logic, and by that time it was too late.

  • How could this work? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:23AM (#33710210)
    I mean: if the two parties - terrorists or not - exchange private/public key pairs of sufficient length, no matter who intercept the message will need exponential time to decrypt.

    The genie's out of the bottle already [wikipedia.org]: with Android and a crypto package, any determined person can put together a mail client good enough for a "dark communication" (or find someone to do it... quite cheap, it's like no more than 3-4 men*days worth of work).

    Either they are stupid enough (to even attempt to legislate PI=3) or... what the hell I'm missing from the picture?

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:24AM (#33710220)

    Obama is now arguing they need the ability to assassinate Americans, but keep details of why and who a complete "state secret" [salon.com] and free from any oversight. If that is not the Orwellian future right now, then I don't know what is... Broader internet wiretaps pale in comparison to this. For those that think this might just be for those Americans congress labels as a "terrorist" - then this politically expedient death might give you pause [google.com]


  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:33AM (#33710296) Homepage Journal

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

    Odd how Obama seems to be becoming Bush, isn't it?

    Illinois has a Governor's race coming up, I'm voting for Whitney. Green Party; Whitney recently suggested legalizing marijuana in Illinois as a way to reduce spending and raise state revenues. The Democrat and Republican are both agast at this stance.

    Sorry, Governor Quinn, I can't support a candidate who is for the continued outlawing of a beneficial plant. California's Governator is right -- there's no difference between most Republicans and Democrats, even though their respective wingnuts are different.

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

    by dargaud ( 518470 ) <slashdot2@gdarga[ ]net ['ud.' in gap]> on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:34AM (#33710310) Homepage
    Wasn't the previous slashdot post about "Man gets 10 years for VOIP hacking [slashdot.org]" ? But when the gov does it it's all dandy and fine and necessary and indeed obligatory ?!?
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:37AM (#33710340)

    The really scary thing is just how broad the reach of the NSA really is. I read James Bamford's The Shadow Factory [amazon.com] a while back and was shocked at how little I appreciated what they could (and routinely do) really do. Basically, if you make a phone call to any of the targeted regions (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.), the NSA is recording it--whether it's by cell, landline, or satellite (they have agreements with all the major satellite communications companies). Doesn't matter if you're a terrorist or not, they're monitoring you and archiving all your calls, period (they've even been transcribing the calls of U.S. journalists to their families, prompting at least one operative to quit the agency).

    I was particularly surprised to learn that they routinely monitor the calls of the major UN officials and all the other security council members (they've bugged the shit out of the UN building and associated offices too). During the buildup to the Iraq War, when Collin Powell was getting ready to "make his case" for the war, they were carefully monitoring the calls and emails of all the permanent and non-permanent security council members, including the Secretary-General of the UN himself. They even sent out a memo to the intelligence services of several of our closest allies (the UK and associated countries) asking them to help us out on the spying (though we were even spying on them too). Pretty creepy stuff, especially for anyone who still foolishly doubts that the Iraq War was anything but a foregone conclusion for the Bush administration.

  • by nrook ( 1225730 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:54AM (#33710510)
    This is actually incomprehensible to me. I am a college student. Like most everyone I know, I hated Bush and rejoiced when Obama was elected. It's two years into Obama's presidency, and surprise, I'm disillusioned with him too. And when election time comes around, I'll be voting with that knowledge in mind. How do critical thinkers avoid coming to this same conclusion whenever their side is in power? How do otherwise intelligent people put themselves into a political fantasy-land? I don't get it.
  • Re:So (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slapout ( 93640 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:03AM (#33710602)

    Are you sure? Seems like a continuation of the old.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves ( 236787 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:27AM (#33710872)

    What exactly is he saying that is bullshit? And how have you determined it to be bullshit?

    Do you claim that Obama doesn't want the authority to assassinate any US citizen with no court oversight and is hiding it behind "state secrets"?

  • by melikamp ( 631205 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:47AM (#33711132) Homepage Journal
    No, now is the time to promote free software and free hardware, and teach people to use it. PGP is completely useless (worse that useless) if your OS is remote-controlled by someone else, especially since someone else is a US firm with a market position to loose. These clowns will be more than happy to fold over to the government's demands. They are kicking themselves as we speak for not being more invasive on your computer.
  • Re:Squash Patriots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:54AM (#33711222)

    "Patriots trying to protect the Constitution from "domestic enemies""

    And if their fertilizer bomb happens to kill all the kids in a daycare center that happens to be in a federal courthouse, well, I guess the ends justify the means.

    Motivations don't make a terrorist, tactics do.

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

    by sarysa ( 1089739 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:54AM (#33711224)
    Wow, good observation with the SSH.

    Show of hands here, who could write a communication program in an hour that would defeat all attempts at decryption if the two "terrorists" exchanged the program in person? I know I could! Maybe someone who can needs to testify to Congress as a software/communications expert and knock some sense into them.
  • by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:55AM (#33711234)

    If you outlaw guns/encryption, only outlaws will have guns/encryption...but perhaps more importantly, those who do have them will now be criminals as well. How convenient.

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:59AM (#33711334)

    "Disagree with the government, you end up in jail/raided/etc."

    People who agree with the government tend not to use car bombs.

    Is everybody who disagrees with the government a potential terrorist? No. Do all potential terrorists disagree with the government? Yes.

    Criticism of the methodology and implementation will be far more effective than criticism of the intended targets.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:02AM (#33711396)
    The Republicans are certainly against people eating certain things: hallucinogenic mushrooms, peyote, etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:04AM (#33711434)

    Are you implying that you and him aren't smart enough to develop your own encryption scheme?

    No, it isn't that. If it's illegal then, even if a large number of members of the general public know how to do it, they won't because they don't want to risk being thrown in jail over it.

    Whereas if you're already planning to blow up a building, what's a charge for using illegal encryption on top of it going to mean to you?

  • Re:Hahah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by osgeek ( 239988 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:08AM (#33711508) Homepage Journal

    I don't know what the proper solution is; but I can see that what we have isn't it.

    If your problem is: How do we put the right leaders in place to control our lives?

    Then you're right, there is no solution. That control will always be abused, maybe not by every politician in ever circumstance, but that's the tendency.

    That's why I always vote for politicians who advocate increasing freedom by decreasing the power of government. Government will always abuse its power, so the only thing we can do is work diligently to limit the power we give to it. Whenever you vote for a guy to get money for your pet project, it doesn't end there. The next politician wants like funds for his projects. Taxes go up. Power in the government increases. It gets abused.

    Democrats and Republicans generally want more power. If I do vote for those parties, I tend to vote for the ones who are most interested in attacking government spending and waste like Ron Paul.

    Usually I throw my votes away to Libertarians. Not that I'd want to live in a Libertarian utopia. It's just that they're the only ones who most consistently promote freedom and government restraint.

  • by Bob-taro ( 996889 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:14AM (#33711616)

    ... for the slashdot community. As a part of the conservative slashdotter minority, I came to this thread fully expecting to see most people coming out in Obama's defense on this, or trying to excuse it somehow, but I saw nothing of the kind. Rather than pile on, I'll just say that I admire people who consistently back principles rather than personalities.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pablo_max ( 626328 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:21AM (#33711744)

    Everyday I am reminded of why I got fed up with this crap and left the USA. I served my 4 years in the military. I did my part. America really is like herding cats. Big fat, lazy, ignorant Cats who only care about today's meal.

  • Re:Hahah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:40AM (#33712062) Homepage

    Rather than voting for principled politicians like Kucinich or Ron Paul

    The problem is, relative to the average American, both of those guys are principled *whackjobs*. Yes, they stand for a very pure, clear set of ideals, but they're far too radical for most.

    The real problem is that, in a representative democracy, ultimately, you have to be able to trust the guy you voted in to do the right thing, as his/her entire job is to act as your representative. But without a means by which to hold said candidate accountable, there's very little reason for them to follow through on their promises once elected.

  • by zx-15 ( 926808 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:00PM (#33712472)

    I you're being overly simplistic:

      * Smoke weed but not tobacco -- perhaps means you get new freedoms of legally doing drugs, but the government wants to regulate how much tobacco you consume, and not completely stop you from doing so.
      * Censure from saying hateful words -- since when? There's such thing as first amendment, but it doesn't guarantee that no one would think you're an arsehole after you exercised it.
      * There is no health benefits of eating fast food, there is an obesity epidemic, government must regulate it. See tobacco, catalytic converters. No one is saying that you'd be prohibited from eating it, but all the government could do is: make it more healthy, make people eat less of it, remove corn subsidies, and in general be more proactive about it.
      * Alcohol is regulated soda isn't, soda is almost just as bad for you (see alcoholic cirrhosis vs. fatty liver disease). Also it's partially government's fault that we decrease our intake of fats and instead started eating really unhealthy carbs. Also I recommend watching this video that exactly explains why soft drinks, and sugar in general are really bad -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM [youtube.com] .
      * To the credit of democrats I'm yet to see anyone who doesn't agree with them to be called 'terrorist enabler' or 'traitor' or anything like that.

    You also generalize to a great degree, there's liberal wing of democrats and there's a conservative wing of democrats, there's constant infighting. Name one elected republican politician except Ron Paul who is for personal freedoms? I dare you.

    I hate this false equivalences, yes democrats are pussies and are bargaining away too much of their principles, but republicans are batshit crazy at this point they have no principles, have you seen new republican manifesto -- all empty slogans. What is common here? Now you propagating an idea of being complete cynic and not doing anything about the situation, and feeling at the same time; that's just counterproductive.

  • by Dreadneck ( 982170 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:05PM (#33712558)

    Hint: Look at murdering rates on countries with strict weaponry control, then contrast them to those in USA.

    Nazi Germany: 5.9 million Jews, 2 million Soviet POWs, 1.8 million Poles, 1.5 million Gypsies, 250,000 disabled, 15,000 homosexuals. Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

    Soviet Union under Stalin: ~20 million Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

    Communist China under Mao: 45 million The Independent [independent.co.uk]

    It seems I have more to fear from government imposed gun control than from any thug on the street.

    Mass murderers agree: Gun Control works

  • by norminator ( 784674 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:06PM (#33712578)
    The problem is the discrepancy between what the Tea Party claims as its official beliefs (small government, less taxes) and what the Tea Party actually believes (Obama is a Socialist Marxist fascist dictator who worships Hitler and Allah and wants to take all the rich people's money away and give it to all the poor people and sell us all out to the world government).

    I am in agreement with the stated goals of the Tea Party, but any group that has Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin as its unofficial spokespeople is not a group I would ever want to associate with. It makes it hard to know if I can take a story like the one reported in TFA seriously, since I heard Glenn Beck talking about it this morning on the radio. Given his reporting on other things (for example, the Fannie Mae outlet patent... Google that if you don't know what I'm talking about), it's obvious you can't trust anything he says. But if he reports on something that is genuinely scary, I'm now instantly predisposed to downplay its significance.

    His fans will unquestioningly listen to everything he says, and his enemies will unquestioningly disagree with anything he says, which means that all of his lies and half-truths will be wrongly accepted by too many people, while the few things he gets right will be ignored by too many.

    Can we have a Tea Party that isn't based on outrage and anger? A moderate Tea Party? People who don't like government spending, but who would also attend Jon Stewart's "Restoring Sanity" rally?
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:10PM (#33712632)

    Horseshit. What I wanted was someone who sounded like he actually thought about something before acting. He also had the advantage that he wasn't Campaign-McCain or Palin. The fact that he was turned into a rockstar had more to do with how abjectly bad Bush had been for an entire 8 years. After him, LISA and a poo-flinging ape would have gotten a rock-star billing.

  • Re:Hahah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:18PM (#33712748) Homepage

    The "whackjob" personas are figments of the same frat boy mentality that dominates politics, the media, and most of the rest of society.

    No, they're not. Both Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich hold beliefs that are *far* out of step with average American politics. The former is the craziest kind of libertarian whacko, and the latter is practically a communist when compared with his contemporaries in the US (and I'm Canadian, I know my communists). Are they both intelligent, interesting people with good ideas? Absolutely. But relative to their compatriots in American politics, they're fucking nuts.

    We could use more principled whackjobs in politics.

    No, you just need people with principles. You don't have to be on the extremes of the political spectrum to object to the dangerous precedents set by this and the previous administration.

    Unfortunately, like business, politics rewards the power-seeking sociopath.

  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:23PM (#33713812)
    Well, trisexualpuppy is known for posting GNAA trolls.. so maybe mods just mod him down by default now
  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:39PM (#33714014) Homepage

    either he doesn't know what he's saying (very possible), or he's lost his mind.

    Option number 3, put forward by Jesse Ventura of all people: Obama's not calling the shots when it comes to issues around the three-letter agencies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:44PM (#33714068)

    They assume the terrorists wont write their own? Terrorists aren't dumb enough to come to the USA and trust an American software company to encrypt their terrorist communication.

    Wrong idea: If there is one thing learned from the September 11 2001 attack, terrorists did NOT design their own weapon of mass destruction. They even trained inside the US to qualify as pilots of the weapons they used. They piggybacked into airplanes and repurposed them as incendiary sources in very smart and unfeasable ways.

    Extremist islamists are the only US terrorists making all the noise, like with the failed Times Square bombing this summer --car bombs being another example of not designing your own tools; rather, maximizing the means most cheaply available. They are not known for high tech warfare or interception of data, and with the Taliban being controlled from caves and such, I doubt they really have universities training cryptographers who then can aid arab programmers and pool peers to review their methods, source code, and so on. In the spirit of specilization (threats and creating explosions and recruitment being the only things we know them to excel at) maybe they could outsource coding to india ;) ?

    Occam's razor says they'll just use what is tried and true encryption and obfuscation.

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

    by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:18PM (#33714578) 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.

    Or perhaps he knows EXACTLY what he wants - a totalitarian State where you work for the State, the State pays you, and the State gets to know everything it wants about anything without repercussion.

    Think about it: we've lost 2.5 million private employment jobs, but added 500,000 Government jobs. Two of the largest companies in the nation are majority owned by the Government. Many of the largest financial institutions are owned by the Government. Not a single privacy or legal issue that so many attacked the Bush Administration on (renditions, Gitmo) has been overturned or reversed. Obama wants the right to decide an assassination list in secret, even if it contains US citizens who were not tried in court. And now wants unfettered access to anything and everything you communicate.

    No, there is a third option: he lied through his teeth to get elected and is now carrying out his dream of a totalitarian State with Obama and friends at the top of the pyramid.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by initdeep ( 1073290 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:42PM (#33714846)

    and a lot of those foreclosures aren't real foreclosures but are instead simply "walk-a-ways" where the owner has understood the loss in value is to large to financially recoup in any near term, and thus decided to simply "give it back" and not take the loss on the property.

    And funny enough, many of them still are granted credit to get a new place to live at a slightly higher interest rate on a nearby property that has already taken the serious loss of value and thus they are actually getting the same house, for less overall money, and can pay it off quicker by paying the same amount monthly they were before their "foreclosure".

    in fact, this is common enough in florida that there were several newspaper articles pertaining to the exact steps to follow to do so.

    Yeah for fiscal responsibility at the expense of moral responsibility!!!

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