Privacy advocates, libertarians and wanna-be tech entrepreneurs were given something more to be concerned about yesterday. Hot on the heals of the infamous and disturbing “internet kill switch” pushed by the Obama administration, comes the social media snoop code requirement.
In short the Obama administration wants to be able to spy on every communication that you make whether it be via smartphone or via services like Facebook and Twitter. It will require a back door “official hack” so that nothing is ultimately closed to prying government eyes according to Fox News.
“The bill, which the White House plans to deliver to Congress next year, would require communication service providers be technically capable of intercepting and decrypting messages, raising serious privacy concerns, the Times said. The proposal has “huge implications” and poses a test to the “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution,” vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, James Dempsey, told the Times. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function,” he was quoted as saying.”
The NYTimes goes on to explain it further for those not so au fait with technology.
“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.”
Techdirt is scathing about the proposal, but hardly surprised. They suggest that the US will be hard pressed to critize other countries for their big brother like activity while pushing for this sort of legislation.
“And, the simple fact is: this won't help and it won't matter. The people who really want to communicate secretly will still use tools to communicate secretly. The feds are (once again) being naive to think that such tools won't exist and won't be widely known and widely utilized. Instead, all this will do is open up everyone else to abuse of the system by other governments, organized crime, people with malicious intent and (of course) the US government.”
Tea partiers, libertarians and all those concerned with intrusive government will have yet another bill to oppose come next year. Unless, of course, they try to sneak it through during the “lame duck session.”