Government and the Internet

By Exclusive Concepts Blog Team

The government has the right to wiretap any phone with a court order, and telecom companies must ensure that all phone lines can be accessed by law enforcement for this purpose. But should the government also force internet providers to make online products accessible for wiretapping? The law says it can. From the washingtonpost.com:

The FCC rules make broadband Internet providers and voice over Internet protocol companies subject to a 1994 federal law that requires telecom companies to assist law enforcement agencies in carrying out court-ordered wiretaps. The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act requires telecom carriers to design their networks so they can quickly intercept communications and deliver them to the government when presented with a court order.

Opponents argue that forced compliance will cripple the internet’s development:

The 1994 law “will have a devastating impact on the whole model of technical innovation on the Internet,” said John Morris, staff counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, which filed an appeal of the rules with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday.
“The Internet evolves through many tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of innovators coming up with brand new ideas,” he said. “That is exactly what will be squelched.”

Universities are worried about the cost of overhauling networks to comply with the law. Cass Cliatt of Princeton says compliance “could potentially put many universities out of business.???

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