Tuesday, January 31, 2006

This Is Amazing

Thinks the federal government is too intrusive? You ain't seen nothing
yet. An FCC mandate will require that all hardware and software have a
wiretap backdoor that allows the government to tap into all your

The mandate expands the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement
Act (CALEA), and requires that every piece of hardware and software
sold include the backdoor.

The rule isn't yet final, but once it is, all vendors will have 18
months to comply. And in fact, says Brad Templeton, chairman of the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), some router makers already
include such a backdoor. So your hardware may be vulnerable.

There are several problems with this rule. First is the obvious massive
intrusion into all of our privacy. Second, says Templeton, is the way
that the rule will stifle innovation. According to the Washington Post,
he claims that the rule will "require that people get permission to
innovate" would create "regulatory barriers to entry." He adds "The FBI
gets veto on new companies."

The final problem is that if all hardware and software has a backdoor,
it's an open invitation to hackers. So we may be faced with a
double-whammy: The feds and hackers working their way into our systems.

The EFF, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the COMPTEL
association of communications service providers, and the American Civil
Liberties Union filed a brief last week with the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia Circuit to try and stop the FCC. Here's
hoping they win.

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