DOJ Wants to Fine Companies Who Don't Comply With Wiretaps
Escalating Fines For Not Providing Backdoors to Communications
While carriers already now give real-time access to all network data
, the FBI says that real-time wiretapping of encrypted services is their top priority in 2013. Speaking last week at the American Bar Association, FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann argued once again
that the agency wants to revamp the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act to allow for real-time surveillance of e-mail, cloud storage services, and social networking websites. This is a drum the FBI has been beating for years.
Details released this week show that the Department of Justice is taking these efforts even further, and is pushing for CALEA rule changes that would let the government fine technology companies and carriers
if they don't quickly provide backdoor access that allows surveillance in real time:
Under the draft proposal, a court could levy a series of escalating fines, starting at tens of thousands of dollars, on firms that fail to comply with wiretap orders, according to persons who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. A company that does not comply with an order within a certain period would face an automatic judicial inquiry, which could lead to fines. After 90 days, fines that remain unpaid would double daily.
It's unclear who pays for all of these changes to modify hardware and network systems, but as usual, it's probably going to be you. The efforts could harm companies through the added costs of compliance, but also by losing customers that value their privacy. The FBI and DOJ seem to actually believe that it's possible to wiretap everything all the time, and there doesn't appear to be any concerns left for either practicality or privacy.