The New York Times reports that the White House is close to backing the FBI’s plan of simplifying online wiretapping for web services. If the FBI proposal gets the thumbs up from the White House, companies who refuse to comply might face fines of up to $25,000 a day.
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According to the Times, the FBI’s original idea was to mandate all internet communications services to build a backdoor for online wiretaps. FBI modified the proposal to focus only on companies that refuse to comply with judge-issued wiretap orders. At present, companies are able to evade court orders through a legal loophole that allows them to claim their efforts to build a wiretap did not succeed. The FBI mandate would effectively close this loophole in the law.
The FBI has tried in the past to get approval for proposed fines against web services that do not cooperate with law enforcement requests. Previous versions of the proposal required encrypted message services to provide ways for unscrambling, but the requirement has been done away with in the new proposal.
A number of questions still arise about the FBI proposal, such as how emerging companies would comply with the new law and how FBI plans to pursue foreign-based non-compliant companies. Many have also raised concerns about the proposal’s consequence on security. Some think that opening up systems for wiretaps also makes them vulnerable to hackers and others trying to gain illicit access.
Source: The New York Times
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