Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The Obama administration is firmly committed to domestic wiretapping and is taking the necessary steps to ensure technical and legal obstacles to surveillance are removed.
According to an article appearing in the New York Times:
Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, citing lapses in compliance with surveillance orders, are pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped, federal officials say.
The officials say tougher legislation is needed because some telecommunications companies in recent years have begun new services and made system upgrades that create technical obstacles to surveillance. They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, At&T, and Comcast, to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.
An Obama administration task force that includes officials from the Justice and Commerce Departments, the FBI and other agencies recently began working on draft legislation to strengthen and expand a 1994 law requiring carriers to make sure their systems can be wiretapped. There is not yet agreement over the details, according to officials familiar with the deliberations, but they said the administration intends to submit a package to Congress next year.
Perhaps most shocking, the Obama administration is floating the idea that development of new communication technologies are submitted to the FBI first to guarantee they are wiretap compliant or risk Federal fines.
If this is what “change” looks like then it shares an eerie similarity to Obama’s predecessor, former President George W. Bush.