recommended reading

FBI wants easier Internet surveillance, seeks nod from Web companies

The Federal Bureau of Investigation  headquarters in Washington.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington. // Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The FBI is waging a charm offensive to persuade Internet companies not to oppose a proposal to require that email and networking tools are built with backdoors to allow government surveillance, CNET has reported.

The move suggests the agency is finding it difficult to intercept Internet communications as Web applications get increasingly complex.

The FBI general counsel's office has drafted a proposed law to require social media sites, email providers and voice over Internet protocol services -- such as Skype -- to adjust their source code to allow the government to listen in on traffic, according to the report. It would expand the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which requires that telecommunications providers -- but not Web companies -- build their systems to be wiretap-friendly.

The FBI is in talks with Web companies on how it can implement this rule and minimize its costs to the industry.

“A growing gap exists between the statutory authority of law enforcement to intercept electronic communications pursuant to court order and our practical ability to intercept those communications,” an agency representative told CNET. “The FBI believes that if this gap continues to grow, there is a very real risk of the government 'going dark,' resulting in an increased risk to national security and public safety."

Read the full story here.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.