Your Online Services: Soon to be Wiretap-Friendly?

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – Top online social networks, email and chat services could eventually become more wiretap friendly. That is, if the U.S. FBI has any say on the matter. According to a recent report from tech news site CNET, the Bureau has been lobbying top government entities to push a new legislative proposal.

It would require companies such as Facebook and Google to change their coding to make it easier for U.S. authorities to wiretap users’ online accounts.

To make the initiative possible, it would need a change to the 1994 bill known as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). CALEA currently requires telecommunications providers to comply with FBI wiretap standards. An expansion of the act would require online companies to follow similar measures.

So far, the FBI has discussed the proposal with members of Congress, Internet companies that would be affected and the White House. According to CNET, the initiative is part of the FBI’s “National Electronic Surveillance Strategy.”

Without a doubt, the Bureau’s desire to expand its power will face widespread scrutiny and draw criticism among privacy rights activists. In January, members of Congress agreed to place the controversial anti-piracy bill known as SOPA on hold following mass protests from Internet activists and top online presences including Wikipedia.