FBI asks Internet companies help its proposed wiretapping of social networking sites

FBI asks Internet companies help its proposed wiretapping of social networking sitesWashington, May 5 : The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has asked Internet companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, to not oppose its proposal requiring them to build backdoors for government surveillance.

FBI officials, in meetings with industry representatives, the White House and U. S. senators, said that modern means of communication, such as the Internet, has made it difficult to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities.

The FBI general counsel''s office has made a proposal that would require social-networking websites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging and Web e-mail to modify their code and ensure their products are friendly to wiretapping.

"If you create a service, product, or app that allows a user to communicate, you get the privilege of adding that extra coding," an industry representative who has reviewed the FBI''s draft legislation told CNET.

The FBI''s proposal would amend a 1994 law, called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, CALEA, which is applied only to telecommunications providers and not Web companies.

The FBI''s legislation, approved by the Department of Justice, is one component of what the bureau has internally called the ''National Electronic Surveillance Strategy''.

The president of Subsentio, a Colorado-based company that sells CALEA compliance products, Steve Bock said that the step would provide a ''safe harbour'' for Internet companies as long as their interception techniques are good.

However, the White House, less inclined to initiate the proposal on the pretext that it would harm privacy, has not sent the FBI''s CALEA amendments to Capitol Hill, even though they had to send it last year, the report said. (ANI)