Reports coming from across the pond suggest that the FBI may be the next person to friend you on Facebook; but you won’t have any choice in accepting or declining this request. Just as we all got a little more savvy about what information we share and with whom, the FBI has decided they want to create a backdoor in our social networks to enable Government surveillance.
This move would be intended to replace the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, which covers telecommunications companies, but not Internet companies. As worldwide communication shifts in favour of social networking, VoIP and e-mail, the FBI wants to make sure they’re still able to snoop, and they’re asking Internet companies in the US not to resist the new law.
The FBI has drafted a proposal which would cover Social Networks, VoIP, and e-mail providers with over a certain number of users; Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook would all be affected. These companies would be required to make alterations to their code which would better enable them to wiretap suspected criminals.
Back in February 2011 the FBI reported that networks were ‘Going Dark’, which poses a problem for surveillance. As technology advances, the way we communicate is changing, and as a result we’re less easy to monitor. In the UK we saw an example of this during the 2011 riots; rioters were utilising the blackberry messenger service to fly under the radar and arrange meeting places and communicate on the whereabouts of the police.
This is scary enough for Americans, but what does this mean for the rest of the world? If my social networks and e-mail account are owned and housed in the United States, does that mean they’ll have a backdoor to snoop around my personal information too?
Let us know what you think of these plans below.