Obama Internet policy expands to include greater surveillance

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The Obama internet bill will give government greater authority to listen in. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The Obama Internet policy is taking a bit of a different turn aside from calling for greater broadband access. Currently, the Obama administration and law enforcement and security agencies are pushing for new regulations of the Internet and the telecommunications industry. If these new laws pass, it will grant the government greater access for surveillance purposes. Basically, it will mean that fewer means of communication will be beyond the all watching eye of Washington.

Obama Internet spying agenda

There is a bill that is planned for next year, according to the New York Times, that will expand wiretap and surveillance powers for law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The White House is on board, and the Obama Internet surveillance bill will likely go to Congress next year. The bill will mandate that all methods of communication be designed to allow government surveillance. The reason is that some communications, especially those on the Internet, are encrypted and private.

Not good for developers

Though this law would certainly favor large companies that have the engineering staff to handle new specifications, startup tech firms will be at a disadvantage. The recent ban of the Blackberry in several countries was due to Research In Motion having designed the phone so e-mails and texts are encrypted, private communications. RIM, along with other tech companies such as voice over internet protocol company Skype, would have to re-engineer products to allow for government intervention. Law enforcement and intelligence officials have complained that their surveillance abilities are “going dark,” as fewer people rely totally on phone communications.

All hearing ears

There are few methods of communication, aside from speaking in person, that are not subject to domestic surveillance. Granted, Obama has not had a scandal similar to the Bush domestic spying controversies. The government maintains that its requests for access are not unreasonable, nor unprecedented. A greater degree of surveillance may seem a great tool for catching criminals in the act, but can easily be misused.


New York Times

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