EFF Sues The Gov't, Demanding Proof That It Needs To Put Wiretap Backdoors Into All Communications

from the where's-the-proof dept

About a month ago, news broke that the feds were going to push for new legislation that would require wiretapping backdoors be put into all forms of internet communications. This is a bad idea for any number of reasons -- including the fact that this would make it much easier for others to spy on the communications of Americans. However, all indications are that the feds (especially the NSA, who wants to pretend they're "protecting" Americans from security issues, while really just wanting to spy on more Americans) are going to push forward anyway.

Part of the justification for the push for such wiretapping mandates is that new technology has made it much more difficult for law enforcement to to intercept necessary information. So the EFF made a simple request: prove it. It filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the evidence that new technologies were actually hindering law enforcement. However, the US government apparently ignored the request, leading the EFF to sue the government over its failure to respond to the request.
"The sweeping changes the government is proposing, to require 'back doors' into all private communications technologies, would have enormous privacy and security ramifications for American Internet users," said EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. "Any meaningful debate must be based on the information we're seeking in the FOIA requests, so the government's failure to comply in a timely manner is troubling."

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2010 @ 2:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Just like gun laws...

    Not quite sure how this got onto gun law.... but the 2 are hardly analogous except as a tenuous metaphor. Using communication encryption and security yourself doesn't harm anyone else it's intent is defensive.
    And yes I'm sure someone is going to argue you can use encryption to encode a terrorist attack message, but that's the message not the computer encryption - you could remove the computer encryption and the message might be "The ptarmigan flies south in winter", for which semaphore is still secure.
    Please don't do the "guns don't kill people, people do" thing either. The intent of encryption is defensive -someone attacks it and it sits there like a brick wall, it's rather rare for encryption to attack you back. A firearm, is by neccessity offensive - even if you don't use it until soemone attacks you the only possible use of it is to attack him back.

    I'm not a gun control nut - I rather like the things actually, they're fun - but control of things directly dangerous to other people is exactly what government should concern themselves with (with hopefully as light a touch as possible).
    But it's a dangerous analogy to compare guns to encryption and computer security and is exactly the sort of thing governments will hang their hat on as an excuse for ludicrous controls over why "law abiding people" shouldn't need it.

    I'll leave you with a thought on guns:
    if you combine the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Australia, youll get a population roughly the size of the United States. We had 32,000 gun deaths last year. They had 112. You think its because Americans are more homicidal by nature or do you think its because those guys have gun control laws?
    - Toby Zeigler, The West Wing by Aaron Sorkin

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.