By Ina Muri
Posting in Design
The FBI is launching a unit that is capable of spying on your Skype conversations among other forms of Internet communications.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is ready to launch a surveillance unit that is capable of spying on Skype conversations and other Internet communications, Mashable reports.
It took four years of planning for the FBI to create the Domestic Communications Assistance Center (DCAC), in collaboration with the US Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency. All three agencies are building customized hardware to enable wiretapping on wireless and Internet conversations per court order requests.
"It's also designed to serve as a kind of surveillance help desk for state, local and other federal police," CNET reported. "The center represents the technological component of the bureau's Going Dark Internet wiretapping push, which was allocated $54 million by a Senate committee last month."
Although the DCAC has been tight-lipped about its purpose, the FBI said in a statement that the organization will "not be responsible for the actual execution of any electronic surveillance court orders and will not have any direct operational or investigative role in investigations."
Using the Internet to search for illegal activity has become a top priority for the FBI, Mashable reports. In January, the bureau announced it was seeking to develop an automatic mass-monitoring application to analyze Facebook for crime related comments.
The Atlantic reported that although other federal agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), already have similar monitoring systems in place, most of those focus on foreign social media. The FBI, on the other hand, will focus on domestic monitoring of Americans.
Photo courtesy: iStock
May 27, 2012
As the feds step in, so have we lost our freedom.. to speek freely in this remaing digital nook. I would say that it is not long before we all humans will be tagged and tracked right from our rbc! And I fully agree with sboverie above..
nnot my country any more.soon who knows how far things will go.it is a sick sad world i live in now here in america.no other country has piss off every one to the point we have to go back to the days of mc carthy with spyes every were.no one is trusted
Privacy was hard enough without the feds. There needs to be an independant watch dog to audit FBI and other law enforcement agencies to make sure that they are not reading and listening to everything on the internet and to make sure that the court warrants are in place before spying. This is not about preventing law enforcement or aiding crime; this is about following standards of the law. If a criminal is stupid enough to take pictures, videos of their crime and post it on the internet then they deserve it. But, law enforcement wire tapping without proper court warrants has happened before and that was abuse of power. The court issued warrant is sometimes a fig leaf, but it is important as a public record and also acts to limit enforcement actions to focus on specific items in searches or wiretapping. Some people think that since they are doing nothing wrong that they have nothing to fear from the police, FBI or others. The truth is that sometimes the people you expect to serve and protect you will take anything you say or do and make it sound suspicious enough to get a court issued warrant. Google Richard Jewel to see how an investigation can go off track and ruin an honest man's reputation.
Can safe guards be fully implemented by other than government agency's. Granted we need all the tools to fight drug cartels but....
...in the very near future. Consider that those younger than their mid-30s have grown up in a world of "reality tv" and have never known life without the Internet. They install apps on their smartphones with the explicit purpose of broadcasting their whereabouts and intimate details of their lives in real-time. Will this generation really care that much about what we consider "private" and what the government knows when they've already freely given it away? As this and subsequent generations slowly replace us, "privacy" will be come less and less of an issue for the masses.
Oh, it will be abused just like the FBI abused other spying that required a warrant. All they have to do is spy on whoever, and if something of possible illegality comes up then get a warrant. You don't have to be doing anything illegal for them to start spying, you only have to show a possible or an imaginable illegal activity. Suppose you click (or accidently click) on a link that's click-jacked and a page loads up showing how to make a pipe-bomb. This triggers the FBI's spying software and alerts them to something illegal. It's like a cops excuse to search a car/home by saying "I thought I smelled marijuana". Even this post will make the FBI's list, even though there's nothing illegal about it. Soon all of our rights will be gone, and we will be no better than China or the old USSR. We're almost there now......
There is a fine line between protecting the population at large and Orwellian oversight. Once that condition is put in place, it is difficult if not impossible to reverse. Interesting times indeed.