The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is making a proposal to the White House that would potentially expand their powers into our private communications online. Their aim is to expand the power of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and allow them access into all communication software by forcing developers to offer a “backdoor” into the software.
The FBI wants to be able to listen in on all forms of communication software online regardless of the technology. A recent proposal by the FBI being introduced would expand the powers of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). Temporarily being called CALEA II, the new proposal will force companies such a video game developers, Twitter, Pinger, etc. to create unhindered backdoor access into their software for law enforcement.
CALEA was initially enacted to force telephone companies to offer backdoors for federal law enforcement agencies. In 2006 CALEA was expanded to incorporate things such as VoIP software, but it did not include new software programs that are used more often today, which includes private communications on social networking sites.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which is a non-profit Internet privacy advocacy group, has recently come forward against this new proposal for CALEA. A May 22nd statement by the EFF clearly states that such an act of forcing software designers to make backdoors would be dangerous. This new proposal also states that companies that fail or refuse to comply with the mandate would be fined or shut down entirely.
“In an age where the government claims to want to beef up Internet security, any backdoors into our communications makes our infrastructure weaker,” the EFF writes in part. “Backdoors also take away developers' right to innovate and users' right to protect their privacy and First Amendment-protected anonymity of speech with the technologies of their choice.”
Robert S. Mueller III who serves as the director for the FBI is urging the President to allow the agency the ability to listen in because current technology the agency uses is “going dark”.
For about three years now the FBI has been looking for ways to force software makers and social networks to create some form of software that will give them the ability to listen in on communication. However, all past attempts have failed because other government agencies were concerned that adding such technology might put a damper on technological innovation.