For many people, the thought of the FBI or other government agencies spying on civilians is considered somewhat the natural order of things. In the digital age, the risks of having one’s privacy being invaded are even greater as it is apparently much easier for these agencies to access people's data.
Former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente openly stated, in an interview with CNN, that there’s no escaping the government’s probing of digital data. Clemente’s comment on the FBI’s unlimited ability to intrude came about amidst the controversies surrounding the recent Boston bombing which left some dead and injured many.
“No digital communication is secure,” said Clemente in an interview with CNN.
As the investigation into the Boston bombing drags on, the FBI is searching for information as to the bomber’s true motive as well as the involvements of others in the case. This, of course, leads the FBI to the probing of the bombers’ family and friends. According to Clemente, the culprit’s wife should disclose of any information now before it’s too late, because the FBI “have other methods of finding out what was said” in their private calls.
In what Clemente refers to as the FBI’s “assets”, he emphasized that there’s no sound method of escaping the truth—or at least what the investigators want to believe the truth to be. Digital information is stored in all parts of the world, and it seems like the FBI have ways of accessing what they want regardless of the safekeeping mechanism.
While the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994 requires telecommunications carriers to develop and deploy methods for intercepting electronic communications when required by law enforcements, the act does not have much jurisdiction over webmail, social networking, or peer-to-peer services. Therefore, the outdated act along with other contributing factors, make it relatively easy for agencies like the FBI to obtain the digital information they want.
Privacy legislations are put in place to protect those that are innocent, but as technology progresses it seems like the barrier protecting innocent civilians from unwarranted spying is becoming less and less effective. Could the outdated policies lead to easier means of fabricating the 'truths' in an investigation?