– Backdoors Galore In Everything From Skype To BitTorrent –
Despite the fact the phone companies now act as part time FBI surveillance analysts with a fleeting regard to law, and dump U.S. citizen data and voice traffic wholesale through NSA listening posts, Uncle Sam still apparently isn’t happy with its wiretap authority. The FBI has been making their intentions clear in recent months that they not only want to start pushing hard again for ISP retention data, but the DOJ and FBI are also launching a new push for laws that would allow the embedding of backdoors in a wide variety of hardware and Internet communications platforms. According to CNET’s resident Declan McCullagh, this push goes into high gear this week, and covers everything from Skype to BitTorrent:
FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni will outline what the bureau is calling the “Going Dark” problem, meaning that police can be thwarted when conducting court-authorized eavesdropping because Internet companies aren’t required to build in backdoors in advance, or because technology doesn’t permit it. Any solution, according to a copy of Caproni’s prepared comments obtained by CNET, should include a way for police armed with wiretap orders to conduct surveillance of “Web-based e-mail, social networking sites, and peer-to-peer communications technology.”
The potential abuse of such backdoors by both government and hackers is fairly obvious, and the government already faces an EFF lawsuit for refusing to answer inquiries into why exactly existing technology isn’t suitable to accomplish investigations. Oddly when this push is discussed in the general press, the conversation fails to mention existing surveillance systems like Echelon, the wholesale largely unaccountable wiretapping that already occurs , or the fact phone companies now gleefully dump all your data into Uncle Sam’s lap anyway. While the FBI and DOJ may be pushing for some new wiretap powers, they’re also pushing to retroactively legalize things they’ve illegally been doing for years.