- How the FBI Wants to Penalize Internet Companies for Providing “Too Much” Security (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 13, 2013):
Remember my recent post titled: Former FBI Agent: All Phone Conversations are Recorded and Stored? Well now they now want to ensure doing the same on the internet is as easy as possible. The latest proposal by the FBI, which would require companies to provide a backdoor for the feds to spy on American citizens on the internet, has been covered extensively in the mainstream media over the past couple of weeks, first in the Washington Post and then later in the New York Times. It centers around this push to make communications on the internet “wiretap capable” and would impose fines of $25,000 per day for companies that do not comply with Big Brother. Julian Sanchez of Wired has written and excellent article explaining how this proposal would not only crush privacy rights of law abiding citizens, but would also help cyber criminals, enable totalitarian governments, make the internet less secure and stifle the remnants of innovation that remain in the economy. Oh, and unsurprisingly, Obama backs the proposal. My favorite excerpts:
The FBI has some strange ideas about how to “update” federal surveillance laws: They’re calling for legislation to penalize online services that provide users with too much security.
I’m not kidding. The proposal was revealed in The Washington Post last week — and a couple days ago, a front-page story in The New York Times reported the Obama administration is preparing to back it.
While it’s not yet clear how dire the going-dark scenario really is, the statutory “cure” proposed by the FBI — with fines starting at $25,000 a day for companies that aren’t wiretap capable — would surely be worse than the disease.
The FBI’s misguided proposal would impose costly burdens on thousands of companies (and threaten to entirely kill those whose business model centers on providing highly secure encrypted communications), while making cloud solutions less attractive to businesses and users. It would aid totalitarian governments eager to spy on their citizens while distorting business decisions about software design. Perhaps worst of all, it would treat millions of law-abiding users with legitimate security needs as presumed criminals — while doing little to hamper actual criminals.