Not only does the Obama Administration want easier access to the financial information of those doing business (and thus transferring money) overseas, but the government also wants to wiretap the Internet.
According to The New York Times, officials are concerned that they are losing the ability to monitor terrorism suspects and other criminal suspects because people are more often communicating over the Internet rather than the telephone. As a result, they plan to propose legislation next year that would require any company offering a communication platform to have the ability to comply with a wiretap order.
That means that services offering e-mail encryption must have a means of decrypting that e-mail, social networks must provide a way for governments to intercept posts and messages, and those who develop software for services like Skype must also provide a "back door" for conversation intercepts.
Obviously, consumer groups are concerned. Center for Democracy and Technology VP James Dempsey said:
They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet. They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.
FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni dismisses the argument, saying the legislation will not expand investigative authority but will preserve the ability to execute the authority that already exists.
But, Washington Post columnist Bob Pegararo doesn't buy that. He calls the proposals unrealistic and outright foolish. He said:
Maybe there's some need for refinements of existing law to ensure that comparable services face the same obligations. But the administration has long since lost the right to say "trust us" or "we need to do this to stop the terrorists" on these matters.