"Is this conversation unencrypted?" is going to be the new "Are you wearing a wire?"
Noting that communication technology has changed faster than the law, FBI general counsel Andrew Weissman said recently that the bureau wants to be able to monitor online chats as they happen.
Right now, the FBI can obtain electronic communications after the fact, but if they could snoop on people discussing illegal activity in a chat, they could catch criminals in the act.
A problem for the FBI is that most savvy criminals know to not discuss business over landline phones and other platforms that make it easy to get caught. Instead, like plenty of normal and totally not-criminal conversations, conversation has moved to online chats, text messaging, and cellphones. And the law hasn't kept up.
Wiretap law is still largely stuck in the early 1990s. The 1994 "Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act" was written with some knowledge of the internet, but this was well before Skype, widespread email, cloud computing, and gchat.
To catch up to all that technology, the FBI is working with other members of the intelligence community to propose new legal snooping rules by the end of the year, Weissman said at the National Press Club in Washington last week. Weissman mentioned not just the ability to watch Gchat in real-time, but also the chat function in online games like Scrabble, as well as online voice chat programs like Skype and cloud storage services like DropBox (a noted favorite of former CIA spymaster David Petraeus.)
It's a broad goal, and it's likely criminals will adapt faster than the FBI can catch them. Such is the history of crime. In the late 1980s, pagers and payphones revolutionized the drug trade, with the combination of anonymity, on-demand delivery, and an absence of recorded-transaction information. Police eventually caught on. Criminals moved on, using pre-paid and disposable "burner" cell phones for everything from drug sales to bomb detonators, until the law finally caught up to that, too.
The FBI's latest call for great legal power to spy on online chats as the happen is just a sign of the perpetual cat-and-mouse between police enforcing the law and criminals trying to dodge it. The next likely move for criminals (and other, totally legal private citizens uncomfortable with the idea of warrant-free chat monitoring): casual cryptography. Protocols for off-the-record chats already exist, and will ensure that conversations remain only between known parties, without someone else eavesdropping. What's this mean? Expect me in five years to be writing about how the FBI wants a legal backdoor around encrypted conversations. Oh, wait.
The higher the tech we develop, the better the government gets at using it against us.
Why does the government hate us?
lostviking: Because the government knows we know all of them are lousy workers who couldn't survive in the real world and we want to limit their lucrative pay scales and benefits. They are sticking it to us and they know it and we know it--so they hate us.
It has no hate, it has no emotions. It is a parasitic organism that is programmed by nature to consume all power and protect its existence at all cost. It generates self importance and will make itself and tries to make everyone reliant on it. You cannot legally sell strawberries to your nabors, the FBI raids markets and terrorize shopkeepers that sell unpasteurized milk. The drug war will never end because what would cops do if half there work vanished. Corporate prisons would loose there income. The government will abuse any power granted them, they already abuse powers not even granted them. Just you wait, in ten years even making a post like this will mark you a terrorist and result in a drone strike.
lostviking, until our agents stop getting their devices stolen I doubt they'll ever do anything better than a well funded civilian.
"...Wiretap law is still largely stuck in the early 1990s..."
This sentence is completely NOT true!
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Remember, they will use this to spy on Occupy Wall Street protesters, and anybody who is unhappy with the status quo and dares to speak up.
What gives the US terror organisation the right to monitor international chat - internet isnt only in the US but by havign acess to skype they can completely illegally read chat of foreign citizens.
I think people need to give the FBI a break. Being able to monitor an online conversation in real time would go a long way towards sorting out the criminals from the victims of criminals. Unfortunately, many criminals are resorting to very nasty tactics to get back at someone who they feel snitched on them.
Allow me to make an analogy.
Criminals have been stealing license plates for years so that they can send law enforcement off on the wrong trail. If they happen to steal a "snitch's" license plate they go the extra mile and steal a car that LOOKS like the "snitch's" vehicle. Then they rob a bank and let the "snitch" take the fall for their crime.
The more intelligent criminals are increasingly doing the same thing online...hijacking a "snitch's" WiFi enabled computer or smart phone and sending drug related instructions to their mules. They have used this sort of bait and switch tactic for years at the Mexican border. Once in a while, a completely innocent person will be targeted.
Say you are returning from Acapulco after a week at the beach. The drug dealers have identified you as a pigeon...completely oblivious to what is in in your car or under your hood. They load up your car with marijuana while you are passed out or asleep, let you get caught and while the border agents are busy interrogating YOU, they slip through with a load of cocaine. If you happen to be a "snitch" that makes their victory so much more sweet.
Most people have no clue just how nasty some criminals are getting. They don't care if you are the most upstanding person in the world. Some of them will target you simply BECAUSE you are upstanding.
The FBI needs this ability to help them sort out who is who. If a person they suspect is not actively texting while a message is going out on his or her phone, they can then rule out the person who is not texting.
If machines are spying on everything we do they already control the world, enter the matrix, now they report to a human, but next?
'do you know how i know that were not in the matrix.'
"how do you know?"
'The food would be better.'
The problem isn't the government, the technology or the criminals. The problem is how the laws are applied to benefit society. If you apply the law altruistically, no problem, but if you apply it to datamine everyone all the time, and a corrupt official has access to all the data with no oversight, we have problems. He could sell info to a spam site, stalk his ex, or plant digital evidence on someone who pissed him off. More accountability solves most of the problems.
Get Real. The government is all over my communications now. Sanctity of the home? Please. This ain't Comedy Central. If I did ANY of the things that are being done to me I'd be arrested. Which means I have no rights. Free Speech? No such thing now, and hasn't been. Here's how it will go. Two acting students in High School work on their schoolwork online and go to freakin prison. Half of America will be up on some kind of conspiracy charge the day it goes full spectrum just because of what was said, not because of verifiable intent. Half the people posting to newspaper sites could be arrested today. No rich or powerful criminals will ever be taken by this, because it ain't about the big crime, is it? Never has been. Only common citizens will be oppressed, same as always. Send the poor kid to prison for conspiracy-the prison owned by criminals who do far more than conspire to get that fat pork-laden contract.
The FBI should be charged with conspiracy to home invasion, invasion of privacy, illegal wiretapping, and conspiracy to violate the U.S. Constitution. And THEN the full version, not conspiracy, of every one of these crimes. But nothing will happen, and our descent into whatever type of fascist slavery this is will continue to be assured. Don't get mad at me online. I'll feel menaced, and will put you in jail.
So then, the next advance in criminal communications? Lower powered solid state infrared lasers and nondescript repeaters in birdhouses and stuff. Easy enough. Hell; I could probably get away with a WHOLE LOTTA CRIMES REALLY QUICK, HUH?
One of the things I like about this that's really cool is that ALL CRIME now becomes federal. Conspiracy To Commit Littering. Use internet, federal purview. Good thing we got all those empty prisons all over the country. We are definitely gonna need them. It's almost like this is planned, ain't it?
Talk about some kid you accidentally hit in the mug with a ball at a game-violent federal crime. Although actually hitting the kid with the ball is not a crime.
Well. One thing is sure. The FBI will be getting the government all the bandwidth they want. No one but government workers or those they don't dare touch will be using it.
Why did we pay for this whole telecomm=freespeach=criminality thing again? Remember how Americans were people that were known to speak their mind? BOW DOWN!
Lawmakers introduce bill on warrantless GPS tracking:
Osama bin Laden is dead. Al Qaeda in not much of a threat any more. Why do they need to intrude into our lives?
And the NEWEST fascist crap from the limitless vault at the FBI is that they wanna criminalize putting ANY reflective surface in the same room as a TV. How's about we go to the Director's house and arrest the wife and kids?
So, is it ok to carry a pen in my pocket anymore? Wear sunglasses or corrective lenses? Is that permitted in America? What about contact lenses? A glass of water? Oh. Water glasses would have to be illegal, and double the charge for the water, right? Wine crystal? Windows, of course they are illegal now, too.
The problem with this crap is the same thing that's going on with ANYTHING ELSE SOLD TO THE PUBLIC. Once in the public view, it is now public property. OR! Arrest every photojournalist and cameraman that films or duplicates an image of ANYONE'S PRIVATE PROPERTY. That includes the likeness of people, their pets, and ANYTHING OWNED. PULL THOSE CAMERAS FROM THE NATIONS STREETS, POLICE. You are committing federal crimes.
This one should go over really well in practice. It's so obvious and clear. It should really solve our problems with knock-offs. Let's put poor minority kid in prison for knocking off a movie, and continue ignoring the actual criminals who knock off every movie, every year to the tune of millions of copies.
Wonder what it's gonna cost to have all windows removed from places with TV's? 3-4 hundred billion? Just from America's working people's homes, of course. The rich can still knock off anything they want with impunity, right? Because if not, THEIR windows are gonna cost upwards of a trillion, maybe two. Let's get crackin!
Don't forget to go down and arrest the curator from any museum that has tv or movie tech in use along with anything reflective in the room. Freakin scumbags. We finally got em now, huh?
So! This is great for the movie crowd, but what bout sound? Walls are reflective surfaces for sound! Same with windows! They just all gotta go too, right? Cool.
And FLOORS. Oh, man! Just imagine all that copywrite music just being freely stolen by the criminal use of floors. Ceilings too. And cars. They definitely gotta go.
I just realized that CD and DVD cases must be illegal too, because they reflect the coded disc inside. And music players! And ANY other device! They are illegally reproducing copyrighted material every day! We gotta charge all those manufacturers under RICO.
Once again. We are passing laws that are already in existence. This mocking of 'law' does not give our government any LEGAL power that it does not already have.
ENFORCE WHAT'S ON THE BOOKS NOW. LET'S TRY THAT ONCE, FULL SPECTRUM. WHO KNOWS? IT'S SO CRAZY THAT IT JUST MIGHT WORK!!
Our government needs a clue, but won't take it when offered. There IS NO cybercriminal. There are just criminals. There is no hacker. There is no 'white collar' criminal. There are just criminals who steal and destroy and hurt and kill. And those who support their actions in our government. No? If I steal 1 million dollars--from anywhere--I'd expect to go to prison for many years, and would receive that type of sentence. But if I steal a billion I'd get probation and mebbe have to go learn tennis for 6 months.
Forget to take your rant medicine today, lol.
Our government just wants power and society will tolerate their loss of freedom, if the removal of freedom is done slowly and they feel they are exchanging security in its place. If fear is an exaggerated lie, it does not maker to the government, they just want more power to control the people.