Don’t Let the Back Door Hit You

100928bokloresThe FBI wants a “backdoor” to the web.

Since 9/11 the government has relied on phone wiretaps for national national security purposes.  That practice, under the Bush administration, created an uproar (here’s a 2007 James Risen NYT story). With more sensitive information being encrypted on the web, the current administration wants to require that all internet communication be wire-tap friendly.

Apparently this would be a step backward, requiring an internet retrofit. Here’s Jack X. Dempsey, V.P. of an outfit called the Center for Democracy and Technology, in Monday’s New York  Times:

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

Valerie Caproni of the FBI claims the government is just trying to preserve authority it already has.

“We’re not talking expanding authority. We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”

Wouldn’t be the first enterprise seeking special favors to avoid being bypassed by technology.

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