Federal Government Wants to Fine Companies that Do Not Comply with Wiretap Orders

If a new proposal is passed companies such as Facebook and Google could face fines for refusing to comply with government ordered wiretapping. 

Wiretapby Derrick Broze
dev-test.intellihub.com

May 3, 2013

The proposal is being drawn up by a government task force in response to  FBI concerns over the agencies ability to track suspected terrorists. 

The Washington Post reports: 

“Under the draft proposal, a court could levy a series of escalating fines, starting at tens of thousands of dollars, on firms that fail to comply with wiretap orders, according to persons who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. A company that does not comply with an order within a certain period would face an automatic judicial inquiry, which could lead to fines. After 90 days, fines that remain unpaid would double daily. 

Instead of setting rules that dictate how the wiretap capability must be built, the proposal would let companies develop the solutions as long as those solutions yielded the needed data. That flexibility was seen as inevitable by those crafting the proposal, given the range of technology companies that might receive wiretap orders. Smaller companies would be exempt from the fines.” 

Currently there is no way for the government to monitor the latest technology on the internet. The FBI calls this problem “Going Dark”. Former federal officials have expressed difficulty in intercepting communications as a result of companies, such as Google, encrypting their customers communications. 

While some companies have voluntarily installed wiretapping backdoors for the government, many are not required to under current law. The 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act currently does not apply to social media sites, or chat messages. Under the new proposal CALEA would be extended to the latest communications technology, as well as the ability to levy fines on companies who do not comply. 

As I have written before, governments around the world continue to exploit the populations fear in order to erode civil liberties. The internet is the last bastion of free expression and information exchange. This is a very dangerous tool against totalitarian governments. 

In the past couple years we have witnessed an onslaught of internet propaganda, continuing to push for regulation of the open and free world wide web. Most often the push comes in the form of threats about CyberAttacks to the United States critical infrastructure. This proposal is only the latest in a long string of attacks on the free internet. 

While the government worries about your ability to “go dark” and evade their ever watchful eye, they continue to hide their meetings, proceedings, executive orders, and investigations in secrecy. It is time to shine the light back on those who seek to pry into every aspect of our lives under the guise of catching terrorists. 

Please continue to explore solutions when it comes to the internet. Research Alternative DNS Servers, the Open NIC Project, Encryption and more. Only an informed populace can turn the tide of tyranny that threatens our free, private communications on the mainstream internet.

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Derrick Broze is a founding member of The Houston Free Thinkers.

He writes for dev-test.intellihub.com a popular independent news website.

He can be heard on Orion Talk Radio, Local Live Houston and the upcoming Unbound Radio.

Find his workatwww.theconsciousresistance.com and www.thehoustonfreethinkers.com