Talk about Big Brother. As if the capability to run (legal) wiretaps weren’t enough, the United States government is now aiming to set in place systems that would allow them to (legally) wiretap electronic communication such as e-mail and Facebook messages! What the Congress wants is that if the government sends a provider a wiretap order, they should be able to provide the required information.
The implications are huge. Bottom line: anything you send online (whether you’re using a wired connection or a wireless one) can be retrieved and reviewed.
Of course, the average person should not have anything to hide (aside from potentially embarrassing private messages), but the idea that the government can take a look at private information/communication if it wishes is not something that people will welcome any time soon. From a technical point of view, this proposition also poses a lot of risks. According to James X. Dempsey, Vice President of the Center for Democracy and Technology, the government is “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.”
The underlying reason for the government’s plan is that the Internet is being used as a venue for communication by terrorists and other individuals/groups that are threats to society. If they have the ability to monitor and scrutinize this venue, then the world might just be safer for it. While this is indeed a serious concern, I am not so sure that wiretapping is the best solution. The system might just open up a whole new can of worms.
What do you think?