Skype, BlackBerry, and other Internet communications services are under attack! The Obama administration and the FBI are pushing legislation that would ban online communications technologies like these unless their developers make it easy for the government to wiretap them.
The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requires telecom companies to make it possible for the government wiretap their networks. Now Obama and law enforcement want to expand CALEA to cover all online communications technologies, including peer-to-peer and social networking apps. The New York Times says the law would even include making sure the government could intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.
Companies that want to avoid stifling regulations, and those that actually care about our privacy rights, would have to leave the U.S. That’d reduce our prominence as a technology leader, and encourage the government to devise ever more heavy-handed ways of blocking Americans from using the offending technologies. Other companies would comply by creating back-doors that could lead to more privacy violations and make the Internet more vulnerable to attack: experts say wiretap-ready technologies would be much easier to hack.
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February 22, 2011 E-Mail sent to me from DemandProgress.org
Imagine the cops rifling through your mail, your calendar, your receipts. All your private information, available for them to look through. To do this offline, they’d have to get a warrant from a judge and break into your house. But every day the cops — and anyone else with a good lawyer! — get access to your online email and calendar just by asking.
Major online service providers like Gmail and Facebook just hand over your personal data to the police when they get a legal request — usually without even telling you they’ve done so! And since you never know about the request, you never get a day in court to challenge it. Your privacy is gone before you even know it.
Twitter has just taken a bold stand to protect its users’ privacy. When the US Government demanded they turn over information about people affiliated with WikiLeaks, they told the people affected and now they have the chance to challenge the request. But Facebook and Google are refusing to do the same! Sign our petition demanding they — and other major Internet companies — adopt sensible privacy protections and stop turning over your personal data to anyone who asks.