Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Feds Want A Wiretap Backdoor In All Net Hardware and Software

Thinks the federal government is too intrusive? You ain't seen nothing yet. An FCC mandate will require that all hardware and software have a wiretap backdoor that allows the government to tap into all your communications.
The mandate expands the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), and requires that every piece of hardware and software sold include the backdoor.

The rule isn't yet final, but once it is, all vendors will have 18 months to comply. And in fact, says Brad Templeton, chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), some router makers already include such a backdoor. So your hardware may be vulnerable.

There are several problems with this rule. First is the obvious massive intrusion into all of our privacy. Second, says Templeton, is the way that the rule will stifle innovation. According to the Washington Post, he claims that the rule will "require that people get permission to innovate" would create "regulatory barriers to entry." He adds "The FBI gets veto on new companies."

The final problem is that if all hardware and software has a backdoor, it's an open invitation to hackers. So we may be faced with a double-whammy: The feds and hackers working their way into our systems.

The EFF, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the COMPTEL association of communications service providers, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief last week with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to try and stop the FCC. Here's hoping they win.