‘Officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet’

I’d call this an election-year two-fer. It will further depress progressives — and we’re already fully depressed — and at the same time further enrage Tea Bag Nation, which is just certain that the “big bad Kenyan” has big bad plans. (Sadly, in this respect they’re right.)

Charlie Savage (a hero) in the New York Times:

Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

Deeper in the article, an FBI official talks about “lawfully authorized intercepts.” How about starting now with those, before asking for more?

It began with the War on Cash — gotta track them drug deals, you know; after all, people who are seriously “other” need serious tamping down. And with that (the War on the Other) as a known-good cover story, the War on Privacy proceeds apace. These guys love power, don’t they?

Dem or not-Dem, it matters not at all. Thanks, Mr. Change, for showing what we can believe in. Election year, you say? Check.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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