Should The FBI Be Able To Monitor Online Communications In Real TIme?

    March 28, 2013
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

As the current ECPA stands, law enforcement has the ability to obtain emails without a warrant. There are some laws currently making their way through Congress to change this, but law enforcement agencies obviously like things as they are. In fact, one agency in particular thinks it needs even more power to spy on your private communications.

Slate reports that FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann revealed during a talk at the American Bar Association last week that his agency is pushing for the ability to spy on communications in real time. In other words, the FBI wants to install the Internet equivalent of wiretaps on all major email and online chat services, including in-game chats on Facebook, etc, to monitor communications in real time.

Do you think the FBI should be given new spying powers? Let us know in the comments.

Why does the FBI need this new power when it can already obtain emails without a warrant? It’s all about a 1994 surveillance law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. The law in its current state allows the FBI and other government agencies to install monitoring equipment on networks run by ISPs and phone companies.

The system used by the FBI is called DCSNet, or Digital Collection System Network. In a report from 2007, Wired dug through documents related to the system to find that the FBI has dramatically increased its online wiretapping operations since 2004. In fact, the numbers show that the FBI increased its wiretapping operations by 62 percent from 2004 to 2007, while the collection of emails grew over 3,000 percent in the same time period.

The last record of DCSNet activity came from 2007 so we can assume that the FBI has upped the ante since then in terms of data collection. All of which begs the question – why does the FBI need new spy powers when it can already siphon off all of our data anyway? If you ask the FBI, it’s quite simple really. The bureau wants real-time monitoring, and it wants it bad.

Weismann says that his ideal world would feature an FBI that would be able to monitor services like Dropbox, Facebook, in-game chats, Gmail, Google Voice and others in real time. This can’t be done under current law as the FBI must essentially acquire permission, or as the law calls it “technical assistance,” under Title III of the Wiretap Act.

The FBI thinks that Title III is so out of vogue, and doesn’t reflect the necessities of modern law enforcement. Slate points out that Weismann’s predecessor, Valerie Caponi, was harping on this back in 2011 when she said that Title III needs to give the bureau the power to essentially force service providers to cooperate with any real-time monitoring requests.

What’s worrisome is that the FBI already has these powers, but it wants more. A Google spokesperson confirmed with Slate that Gmail can’t be intercepted by the CALEA, but a request under the Wiretap Act may do the trick. The thing is – the Wiretap Act, even if Title III were to be reformed, would require the FBI to approach Google and only install wiretapping tools on the necessary accounts.

Under a reformed CALEA, the FBI could essentially watch every piece of email flowing in and out of Gmail without any kind of oversight. It would lead to overly broad surveillance of all communications in the hopes that maybe just one of the emails being sent contains something relevant to a criminal investigation.

Do you think a reformed CALEA could potentially be abused? Would you be concerned for your privacy? Let us know in the comments.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the FBI has wanted to expand its powers in recent memory. In December of last year, law enforcement, including the FBI, passed on a proposal to the Senate that would require wireless carriers to retain all text messages for two years. From there, these text messages could be perused through at their leisure with the sender or receiver of said messages being none the wiser.

Beyond just texting, mobile devices have become a primary target of law enforcement as it attempts to remove any shred of privacy contained in such devices. There are efforts on the state and national levels to require warrants before obtaining this information, but its unlikely to go through. Law enforcement does a good job of spooking congressmen into thinking that the bad guys will win unless every civil liberty enshrined in the Constitution become nothing but pretty words.

All of this is likely to come to a head this year as Weismann says that CALEA reform is a priority for 2013. You can expect to see these other attempts at broadening the powers granted to the FBI and other law enforcement groups to come up as well in these talks.

There is, however, one little sliver of hope. Weismann admits that talk of any new powers should be brought before public debate. By that, we can only hope he means the public at large instead of what public debate usually means in Washington – a couple of congressman that have no idea what they’re doing.

Would you be in favor of the FBI obtaining new surveillance powers? Or do you think it already has enough power? Let us know in the comments.

  • http://www.dallasseoblog.com steveplunkett

    online chat can be monitored in real time… this started on AOL in 1993.. emails however have an expectation of privacy.. they should not, but they do.

    • Eric Brian Brewster

      Sorry Steve Plunkett, I think if you watch such shows as CSI and NCIS you will see that the policing authorities do and already are monitoring email addresses. And internet service providers are coughing up info to courtcases that they should not be.

      All auch things can and are used in even local courts of law, why then was my account on Google suspended?! I deleted my account and to TOP IT ALL, GOOGLE WONDERED WHY I DELETED MY ACCOUNT AND LEFT THEM SO I TOLD THEM, I was furious but what good did that do me. I may return to Google but all it takes is one WACKO to come and have me kicked off Google all because I tried to stand up to the bastard.

  • http://globalseopro.ca Todd

    Do we really have a choice? The long arm of the law has taken over the Internet and Gates and Google owners are all for this.

    • Eric Brian Brewster

      Todd I think we do have a choice here, VOTE THOSE OUT OF POWER THAT HAS USED IT to allow themselves gain ultimate corruption over the masses. Unless we start saying “NO” to more security and controls we can never be free of an “Big Daddy Barrack and his Friends” from supposedly watching our every moves. Lets leave the Internet partly free for our thoughts and ideas, only catch the really bad people that are using the internet to scam others and using it for bad means. ONLY HAVE LAW INFORCEMENT be able to go on the internet to arrest such criminals. I agree that most of us 80% Average citizens have a right to our privacy and the other 20% are the criminals that the Government Agencies should go after. HOWEVER WOULD I VOTE GOVERNMENTS IN for legislations that give the RCMP total Gestopo Control Enforcement rights, NOT ON YOUR LIFE.

  • http://www.bizsuccessguide.com Efoghor Joseph Ezie

    The FBI should be free to monitor online chats if they wish. Emails however, should be the sole responsibility of the recipients. E-mail providers already have provisions to warn intended recipients of possible scam, etc. Before this can be done, FBI should subject this topic to public debate, and if the majority of the people want it, so be it.

  • http://www.crosslinktech.com Karl Egenberger

    I was born in Europe under communist rule. They opened the mail. They monitored telephone conversations. They did not need a court order to do any of this. You had to be careful as to what you said to whom. This was all done in the name of protecting the state. You could be arrested and disappear at the whim of anyone who was a member of the various agencies.
    Many years later, we now have the Patriot Act in the US and Security Certificates in Canada. Under these laws, security agencies have the power of arrest, without telling you why or first having to obtain court approval for such actions, all under the excuse of national security.
    In a truly free and democratic society, the only thing that keeps the various agencies in line is the courts enforcing the laws of the land and ruling laws that infringe individual freedoms un-constitutional.
    Let us hope that our courts and our law makers know better for all our sakes.

  • Pat

    You know, i think they already do :) they don’t need to ask permission.

  • http://www.r-evolution-tv.com/ Henri H

    the fbi is already doing this…NOW! officially no but in reality yes! even as i type this, somebody is watching me! creepy but true. wake up people, the land of the FREE is no more! Brave yes for staying there. good luck there people.

    • Eric Brian Brewster

      Yes Henri H, someone is watching you and me too. A few months ago I had joined Google, I was getting along quite well in it until an Leroy King came there. This faker “Leroy King” I knew as a hacker from Facebook calling himself “Sierrus Frackman”, this man runs several corrupt businesses in Texas, USA which he sells hacking programs which jealious X-Hubbies and X-Wives buy to spy on their former loved ones and disrupt their lives, the bugger claims I supposedly stole several boardgames of his which infact I created 5 years ago myself in an 6inone complete gameboard. On Google I was telling other games players about my 6inone game when this Leroy King got on Google saying I was both a pedofile and stealing his game idea, apparently he contacted Google and filed a complaint about me which got my account suspended for no other reason than this “Leroy King” being both jealious of me and hating my guts because my gameboard that I put pictures of on Google stoked his anger at me, I have not gone back to Google since then, Google began firing up ID Restrictions and the facts it was important to have me VERIFY WHOM I AM, I am whom I say I am I have an email addy on MSN and I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. I am a games creator though I am not very well known, sadly if this can happen to me it can happen to anyone and people get hacked and trashed by hackers on Facebook all the time, more sadder still I cannot get my Facebook Account back because of the stinking redtape Facebook has once you loose your account on FB. This is the real sick sad backstabbing justice we have in both Canada and the USA where Hackers with jobs and money can ruin peoples lives and the stupid government enforcement agencies cannot capture these HOME GROWN TERRORISTS, we are told, “TOO BAD these hackers are under our radar and infact even a few of them have our protection because they are upstanding citizens that cannot be touched!” Well today I am telling people about this “Sierrus Frackman” whom has ruined me, I am also telling law enforcement agencies to track this bugger down and arrest him.

  • Jim W

    No, they should not be able to without a court order. But the government can and will do what ever they wish. Only the voting public can stop this in numbers……vote all incumbents OUT. Or vote for independents

  • Conran

    The problem is a complete lack of oversight and restrictions. It’s funny that anyone actually trusts these people any more. They have repeatedly said one thing, pushed through new powers, and then a month later it’s revealed that a loophole allows them to abuse the move and do whatever they want without answering to anyone at all.

    The US government (and others) now deem their own population a threat, and they can label anyone as being a “terrorist” without reason, without investigation, without anyone able to fight it.

    Did you know that the US authorities can now snatch anyone off the street, slap a silence order on the press, freeze all your finances, threaten your family and friends if they dare to talk about it, and lock you away forever without ever even making any charges?

    This is a fact. The American people have given their government the right to “vanish” people, for any reason, at any time, without any legal recourse.

    Our governments are nothing more than dictatorships pushing through a police state with just a veneer of legality. As soon as you scratch that veneer of legality, the ugly truth of a military dictatorship can be seen.

  • FBI Agent #5

    I am already reading all your comments here as well as your emails and text messages. If you thought you still lived in a liberty loving free country you are gravely mistaken. Next up is censorship like China, but the American people are too busy watching sports and Hollywood news to even care.

    • http://king-of-the.net Brother Andrew

      We do you treat every citizen as if they are TERRORISTS?

      Come on, 98% of the people are cool. Have no desires to do crimes!

      Any 3 letter agency of the gov. today can not be trusted.

      It is a crying shame. Turning against your only people, neighbors, friends. Glad I have a normal job helping people rather than treating everyone like a prisioner. I guess we will all be in FEMA camps soon as Marshall Obama gets fully in charge.

      Bro Andrew

    • Eric Brian Brewster

      Hello FBI Agent #5, I think your a crappy faker. You see I already know your a faker probably an Anonymous Hacker mostlikely for being so stupid in saying your from the FBI and an agent. You best becareful because the real FBI is very touchy about people pretending to be them, naming yourself as an FBI Agent can work in reverse for you.

      You should be ready for the real FBI to burst in your door and arrest you especially if you have dirty laundary they may be interested in, they are very curious just like our RCMP up here and CSIS, but the Buffalo Arse Cops seem unable to stop hackers on the internet without other Canadian Government Agencies joining in, since they also do not have any branch agency to handle Internet Fraud and Corruption the RCMP lag behind the FBI and CIA as well as Homeland Security in the USA.

  • TheSidupac

    I have many good points on this. Written without needing much thought – unlike the amount of time the FBI has, no doubt, put in to it.

    I think that this would be abused. Corruption always has its way, think about it.

    If there was a new technical advancement (one that helps the human race, not some kind of weapon..) under development secretly and they found out about it, how can we be sure they wouldn’t be prosecuted and labeled as terrorists with us none the wiser. I don’t trust and can never trust those with power, it’s just human nature to abuse it and then they use every last breath to prove that they wouldn’t abuse it. I know better and so should you. We see it everywhere; teachers hateing on pupils they dislike, drivers doing what they can to get first in queue, business owners telling us to ‘bodge it’, doctors earning money the more unhealthy we are.. the list is endless.

    The amount of monitoring that would be required is unreal.. do you think that there is no chance of ANY of those watching being corrupt? The more power you have the more you abuse it. Sure you may be VERY cautious.. but everyone does it.
    Don’t let the world cage us just because of fear for F sake..

    The horrific world trade center event, for example, could have been controlled by many other means.. such as better surveillance of the sky.. not by watching everyone go about their daily business and social ins and outs on the internet.

    How many serious situations could this really help with… I can buy a domain (djkhdkjfjdkjlsjgflks.com) for example, and then create an encrypted login system using manuals online, and then tell all my imaginary ‘terrorist’ or even ‘paedophile’ friends about it… there is no way to stop people with REAL terrorist intentions by watching all the crap that goes on between ‘real people’ on FB and everywhere else.

    I think the FBI has secret intentions behind all this and they are just using the best weapon on existance to control us – fear.

    Wake up people…

    (although.. what can we really do about it? sigh. the only people that vote are idiots. Businesses control what we vote for by controlling what we see on TV and everywhere… only the one with the most money ends up with power anyway… and if not they can bribe the majority vote because everyone needs money so bad. The only ones that don’t need money are the ones bribing people, and they pay our wages somewhere along the line – deciding how poor we are. It doesn’t matter who wins what where or when. It all seems to get f’d up in the end..)

    • Eric Brian Brewster

      Sidupac, would you be too surprised that such agencies such as the FBI and CIA as well as Homeland Security and NSA etc have such detection methods already in place and are only waiting for the crazy insane people that voted Barrack Obama in power to vote for more legislation to give such agencies as the FBI and CIA these powers of supposed law enforcement rights?!

      The Bourne Conspiracy Movie was no real stretch of the imagination all except Jason Bourne was an deep cover agent whom discovered his whole life had been created by his father and mother whom were 2 agents within a Homeland Security organization that brainwashed their son as an interagency experiment that went wrong but when the “Controllers” found out they could not capture Jason Bourne nor being him back into the fold he destroyed them. We may have to wait for such a person whom comes from the USA spy agencies and helps us stop them, the same goes for the RCMP and CSIS up here in Canada. Our policing watch dogs are not that insane yet but they are getting there.

  • Born on the 4th of July

    This is some of the scariest news I have heard in years..that is, since the Patriot Act. I wish to God that George Bush had never been elected. His administration put the fear into the people. I sat and watched with horror when the people of our country allowed this bill to pass into law.

    Someone mentioned that we are being close to being censored like China..hah! We are censored like China! But at least in China, the people know it.

    No wonder why we have some many Americans moving to other countries that offer a true democracy. What we have here is a DUMBocracy.

    • Born on the 4th of July

      And by the way, I suspect that many more people would have commented on this article if they weren’t afraid of being monitored for their remarks (alias, opinions) which are (or supposed to be) their right under our now fledgling constitution. Our founding fathers MUST be rolling over in their graves at this point in time.

      My father made me read “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” when I was a teenager. Wise man.

      I always felt that I was born on the 4th of July for a reason…not to celebrate this country, but to watch what happens behind our flag…and to speak up when necessary.

  • Mike Seidelman

    No agency should ever be allowed to monitor emails without an explicit court order.
    What these guys think they are? Above the law? Never! There is no better security for the community than lawfulness and privacy.
    People fight for it!

  • http://www.MagnaSites.com Pat Marcello

    Hell no. You know what they say about slippery slopes, don’t you? I think they already have too much power. No more.

  • Larry Andersen

    Land of the free? Communist? maybe…We are slowly turning into a communist country, us Americans need to “Wake Up” and fight back…We all already forgot how we became “FREE” well think about it?

  • http://www.ristudio.com Roman Iakoubtchik

    Giving the FBI the new surveillance powers will in fact bypass the judicial process and can potentially be abused. Such powers to watch, but who will watch the FBI?

  • Joel M

    Sure, why not? I don’t have anything to hide.

  • http://www.meetdaveheinrich.com Dave

    I second what Pat said: “Hell no. You know what they say about slippery slopes, don’t you? I think they already have too much power. No more.”

  • http://www.bestvacationislands.info Debbie

    The FBI has enough surveillance and snooping powers as it is. To allow real time monitoring is going to the extreme. It will force people to use the internet and email transmission less. Some group of international corporate outfits will just come up with a business model offering Americans access to an email service that is beyond the American FBI reach which will cripple Google, Yahoo, and the other more American oriented companies. Facebook will become like Myspace – a deaden platform replaced by some offshore global outfit.

  • http://www.theakurians.com Colonel Robert F. Cunningham

    HELL NO! What any ‘law’is supposed to be and WHAT IT BECOMES are disasters in the making! Ask any down-their-nose grinning Black Robed Bastard on any Bench …

    Colonel Robert F. Cunningham,

  • Mari

    Hell, NO! Do theyw ant to install a camera in the bathroom to watch how big a shit I take? Do they need to know how many cc’s of urine pass through me every 90 minutes? Do they need to know about my grief over cancer, death, dying pets? HELL NO! Big brother is way to visible in our world, and they should be spying on terrorists, not innocent life livers like us!

  • Robin

    If we citizens don’t call our congressmen & senators & get this kind of stuff rolled back, then we are no different than communist N. Korea, China, Cuba, Russia, etc.

    When the government gets you registered in anyway – on lists – history shows us over & over & over that communism is the final result & as much as they want you to think this is awesome for all!

    IT’S NOT!! It’s pure hell. ObamaCare is going to knock all of us on our tail ends & rock your life – another thing that comes right before communism.

  • http://www.crosslinktech.com Karl Egenberger

    I was born in Europe under a communist regime. They routinely opened the mail and monitored phone calls. You had to watch what you said to whom because people disappeared on a regular basis. There was no court order required for any of this. This was all done under the excuse of protecting the state and its citizens.
    From what I hear, things have changed since then. Having disposed of the communist dictatorship, now law enforcement is required to obtain court permission for anything that might violate individual privacy.
    Supposedly, we are living in the “land of the free” but we can arrest people purely on suspicion. We are monitoring emails and conversations without court oversight. We have the “Patriot Act” in the USA and “Security Certificates” in Canada. All this is done in the name of protecting our citizens. Too bad “protection” is easy to sell!
    Just compare what was and what is evolving at the moment. Are we going the right ways? Let us hope our lawmakers and our courts do the right thing for our citizens.

    • Warren

      This is so true what you are saying, (same in Australia) I believe that the govts are not doing this because of terrorism, its so they can control the citizens and monitor everyone for political reasons and profit for big business, your don’t get $26 billion dollars in donations and not have to pay back a few favours

      • Eric Brian Brewster

        I exactly agree Warren, I was targeted by this nutball “Sierrus Frackman” on Facebook and worse his very nasty group of friends conned out of me a password to my Facebook Account which got my account suspended there too, it all seemed so innocent however very serious, I complained to Facebook of course, but of course they came up with VERIFIED GOVERNMENT ID that I had to send them pictures of via my computer etc and if that is not being monitored I am unsure what is?! If the only way to get your accounts back is VERIFIED ID, GOVERNMENT AT THAT, then such things as internet privacy is going out the window and Facebook as well as Google and MSN are waving byebye to it.

  • http://www.kenavellino.com Ken Avellino

    The history of law enforcement and the FBI in particular (especially under Hoover) is a history of abuse of power. Thus, the need for Merandia warnings to those arrested. If the FBI gets enhanced powers they will surely abuse them. Governments all over the world, including ours, are terrified of the internet, and the power it brings to ordinary people. Any restriction on government power involving the internet is a good thing.

    • Eric Brian Brewster

      Yes Ken Avellino, they won’t even need Merandia Warnings….after this, what they will do, The FBI, Homeland Security, as well as NSA is wave under your nose your telephone and internet service provider records with a Judge’s Signed Warrant, better yet Barrack Obama’s signature which also states your a threat to the USA Security…..case made and you will be shut up in prison never seeing the sun again; when they show up at your door with a SWATT Team. Sadly that is all they will need with a little internet faked footage making it look like you had transactions with terrorists or gangbangers etc.

  • Eric Brian Brewster

    I think this is insane, if we allow such US Government agencies like the FBI and CIA have these powers then such Government agencies like CSIS and THE RCMP in Canada will also get these powers of INTERNET TAPPING on our lives, any words we use, any thoughts we have on the internet in gaming especially will be held against us in law courts and people will be tried and quartered for their words. 2 years ago on Facebook I was approached by 3 hackers, “Dana Scully”, “Fox Mulder” and the “Smoking Man” whom claimed to be The FBI Current Director, and 2 FBI Agents whom were supposedly getting a case together about Anonymous Hackers, these 3 people were Anonymous Hackers trying to dupe players of a game called “Battlestations” and these people had already got several people kicked off Facebook by illegal means. My problems went on for about 8 months when I found out these hackers proved lyers and I found out 2 of their identities, TELL ME WHERE WERE THE FBI AND RCMP THEN when I was being harassed and I eventually lost my Facebook Account.

  • http://www.moneymakingmommyjobfinder.info/Uneedit Trygeania

    No, what I do isn’t the govt.’s business.

  • http://4host.us.to Omar Quazi

    HELL NO!!!! They already have TOO much power! They deserve no more……

  • http://www.rainbowriting.com Karen Cole

    This is reminiscent of the days of J. Edgar Hoover and the “commie” fears so rampant back then, that led to thousands of wiretappings of homes, motels and phones. This is not good, and the FBI surely has better places to monitor, such as checking on Mafia activity.

    • http://dnnlombardo.weebly.com/ Donna

      Some of the Mafia acdtivity is taking place online. I say let the FBI and CTA spy. I have nothing to worry about. I don’t scam people or try to steal information from them.

  • MM13

    Hell yea!
    Let the feds see ALL my e-mail spam folder, ONLY if they’ll actively track and prosecute the people who spam and steal credit cards.
    Just follow the money…
    Other wise, stay out of my inbox.

    Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32)

  • http://dnnlombardo.weebly.com/ Donna

    Heck yes. I want them to look at what comes into my emails. I get a lot of spammers and scammers trying to get me to oepn links which will give my computer a virus or steal all my account information. In deed I do think they should spy. After all, if you are not doing anything wrong online, you have nothing to worry about. I hope they catch all the online crooks.

  • http://tcsi-oklahoma.com Mark Rushing

    I stand firmly against such a proposal as this although, there are legitimate needs for law enforcement to have access to electronic communications logs and in real time. Having said that, they already have those capabilities without applying a blanket policy to every American citizen. The Obama administration is actively seeking ways to erode our constitutional rights and several dems have been caught directly targeting their GOP adversaries. Bottom line is if we continue to allow Obama and his administration to continue the erosion of constitutional rights unabated, we will all wake one day soon to find ourselves living in a society similar to that of the movie Demolition Man”” where the government has total control over everything… even the use of table salt. If it is considered bad for you, it is illegal. Global warming is another exapmle of their terror tactics.. If anyone of reasonable intelligence does a minimal amount of research rather than listening to the democrats and their cronie lobbyist, they will find a natural event happening to our climate. It is in no way man made. Increased volcanic activity in our oceans is responsible for the rise in ocean temperatures and this current spate of earthquakes and volcanic activity is solely due to several celestial factors including our solor systems current galactic position. The government wants more legislation and to create more enforcement jobs to take more money and taxes from the American people. An example of this is Hillary Clinton’s statement years ago that the standard of living in the US is too high and that the rest of the world standards should be brought up. The democrat way of doing this is a redistribution of wealth. By claiming global warming is caused by industrialized nations our government will pay reparations to countries in Africa for us ruining their air. This is already happening.. Read the news and reports that are kept out of the mainstream liberal media. To raise the standard of living in Africa and other third world countries they intend to lower the standard of living here in America. In fact, Africa is still primarily a wood burning society and if you do some research you will find that wood, though it smells wonderful when burning, is actually much worse than the exhaust from a coal burning power plant. Green house gases?? They are taxing dairy farmers because their cows fart too much and contribute to global warming…lol.. The number one producer of methane is our forests themselves… The decay process of the fallen leaves etc.. produces more methane than any dairy farm could ever produce… DO we cut down all the trees or tax the landowner for having the very thing that produces our oxygen? It is idiocy gone wild in the guise of caring liberla democrats AKA Communists. The American people have to wake up sooner or later before it is too late. Governments should fear their citizens, not the other way around.

  • http://www.industrialcostanalysis.com Walt O’Brien

    The point should be made that private enterprise has been doing exactly this for twenty years and more for the sake of pure economic gain, including private investigators. It should also be made clear the the US Postmaster General has had this capability regarding snail mail since the United States of America became a Republic.

    I also do not know what any enforcement agency can do at the moment should a terrorist group with competent leadership decide to deploy the type network-centric principles of infantry engagement here Stateside along the lines which our forces deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    All the instances in which neonazi groups in the past attempting to organise potentially violent flashmobs in Canada and the USA back in the late 1990’s were pre-empted by volunteer Americans stepping forward to the plate and reporting the forthcoming activities to the authorities as neither CSIS, the RCMP nor the FBI have the ability to deploy their resources to detect nor pre-empt such activities based on electronic intelligence gathering.

    Also, I do not think enough people know what they should know about intelligence reconnaissance centres which are run by the US Department of Defence which are installed nationwide in the the USA. There are approximately 135 of them and their job is to cover HSD and DoD priorities. They do not share with anyone at the moment except DHS.

    If you would wish to work for one here is where they recruit:


    They pay really well even if you work as a temp for them, usually in the 35-50 buck an hour range and up.

    I rather suspect they are covering the bases going after the bad guys until the FBI gets what they want, but frankly I trust the military veterans running the computers for these IRC’s more than the FBI: for one they are not political elites, for another they do not have snooty degrees nor look down on the American public as if they were worms as do the FBI and CIA. You really have to meet and know a couple of Federal agents to know how much of an idiot they can be.

  • http://www.scn.org/~abt Keith Gormezano

    Absolutely not.

    Either the Fourth Amendment stands for something or it doesn’t. If the FBI or any other government agency wants to search my condo or person or read my snail mail, they can get a proper warrant (hopefully notifying me so I can object), then they can do the same for my electronic mail. What’s the difference?

    I remember an old Latin phrase, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the guardians? Yes, who will ensure that the FBI behaves because I don’t trust them.

  • Pizzaman7

    I used to think that the Patriot Act was a good idea so that law enforcement can put up wiretaps and get the bad guys but now this government is going way too far. Our constitutional rights are being trampled on. Wake up people ! You have fourth and fifth amendment rights. You have the right to a fair trial. You are presumed innocent into proven otherwise. The authorities are supposed to get evident by getting a warrant.

    Now we have the NDAA that was signed into law in 2009. Now the military can throw you in jail for suspicion of being a “terrorist” and you get no trial. We are becoming the terrorists. If the government has to go to these extremes to “protect” me then I don’t want their protections.

    Now the FAA is granting permission for the government to fly drones in our own skies ! They are estimating that by 2020 we will have 10,000 drones in our skies ! What is the purpose of doing this exactly ? We are $17 trillion in debt already….why do we need to do this ?

    Has anbody noticed the militarization of our police departments ? Why do they need armoured vehicles ? Why is our government buying billions of rounds of ammo ? Looks to me like they are getting ready for an uprising !

    Get an VPN account so all your internet activity can be encrytped. I am thinking of building my own e-mail server. Screw gmail. Google is in bed with the government. I am getting tired of Facebook too.

    People need to rise up and demand that their constitutional rights be protected. This is not what our founding fathers had in mind and in fact they warned us about.

    • zimbo

      I dont think its fair as an american citizen for the fbi to wiretap private or non private conversation s because they intervene into my conversations for no reason

  • Leland Griffin Jr

    Privacy is nearing ZERO. Big Brother (and others) are watching every move everyone makes, thoughts they ponder and everything about them. There is probably information on how many times you do or do not do anything. Land of the FREE? Not anymore and there is absolutely nothing that the average citizen can do about it.

  • http://justsayingmypiece.com Charlie

    Ahhh…yeah, the FBI is likely to eventually “get their way”…one way or another, in my (humble) opinion. Not that I agree with allowing “willy-nilly” surveillance, but it seems our government these days has all but negated many of our Constitutional protections dealing with these things, and I don’t expect them to ‘reverse’ the current mentality anytime soon, y’know?

    Unfortunately, we have allowed our leaders to pretty much sell us out to many factions out there seeking various “personal privacy infringement permissions”. I don’t know if we can hope they’ll listen to our small voice about something like this…I hope so, though.

    Let your representatives know: NO UNWARRANTED OR UNNECESSARY SPYING ON ‘INNOCENT’ AMERICANS! Gee…talk about “voyeurism”, right? I’m just sayin’…

    Contact your U.S. Government Reps: http://www.usa.gov/Contact.shtml

  • http://www.industrialcostanalysis.com Walt O’Brien

    Just as a highly relevant postscript:

    Prior to Iraqi Freedom in 2003, CENTCOM IT hackers took great pride in whacking the Saddam’s InterNet capabilities and selectively jamming Iraqi radio communications.

    It was no problem for the Iraqi forces’ armour and infantry. They switched over to WW II-type motorcycle dipatchers. It majorly screwed US up though, as everything in the way of intercepting and gathering real-time operational intel on the bad guys was dependent on commo intercepts LOL This situation became even more ludicrous when it became apparent there were not enough pairs of binoculars to go around to conduct conventional pre-IT based gathering of field military intel and updates on the enemy’s positions and intents.

    If everyone lived in bunkers the FBI or anyone else monitoring your commo would be a drag. Facetime trumps it all. If what you have is that hot, word-of-mouth or hand-carry it.

    It’s not them. It’s us, really. Think about it.


  • Zwizard

    I think we will not be safe until we have at least one FBI agent in each house and a HomeLandSecurity agent guarding the FBI agent, plus two TSA agents checking for bombs, especial underpants bombs.

    I was in the kitchen the other day and my mother was cutting a piece of meat with a blade way beyond 2.364731inches and I had trouble sleeping.

    My father was drinking beer and spreading mustard gas. I am sure this was some sort of a terrorist attack.

    But being a good patriot I do think we need to use the name Ze FatherLand and give the FBI some nice lightning bolts on their collars.

  • Robert

    Look at what they have done illegally in NZ spying on Dotcom.
    They also removed hard drives from NZ despite a court order not to. Just thumbed the bloody noses at our soverign nation.

  • Mark

    You would have to be very nieve to think that they are not already doing it ! There is no real democracy, all Governments set rules whereby citizens cannot protest too much ! I believe that all Governments should be reminded every now and then, that they are there to represent our wishes, not impose theirs upon us !

  • Mark

    4th amendment. Fuck off.

  • Tom

    Its about time that the Americans who say they love their country stand up and put an end to the government treating everyone like a criminal.

  • SweetDoug

    What is missing here in the “conversation”, and it’s no mistake, is the idea of medium and media.

    Notice how it’s a top down conversation?

    This type of unauthorized access to my personal correspondence, and infringement upon my privacy, which in THIS case, is an electronic document, is done so merely because it is easy to do so.

    What is the difference between the FBI reading my electronic mail, and my paper mail?

    Clearly, none. So why are they demanding this precedent? And who and when did we have the conversation with “no reasonable expectation of privacy?”

    There was none.

    That may be true, that due to the technology being so capable from the top down, that it is easy to peer into my e-mail, but that does abrogate my RIGHT to privacy. That’s TPTB’s problem, that they are peaking into my life, not mine. And simply because the technology allows for it easily, is neither my problem nor does not neutralize the constitutional idea of privacy.

    Or my conversations? Where does it end?

    This is a very, very serious matter.

    If they, TPTB, just continue to shred the constitution, where does it stop? What do we look like when we truly do have no reasonable right or expectation of privacy, as they expand this definition?

    House to house searches, just because?

    Slow down! SweetDoug!

    Really? Can you imagine, how fast you’d call me a tin-foil hatter, if I was telling you about this idea, even 10 years ago?

    There needs to be a very firm response, constitutionally, on this matter, and it settled, once and for all.

    There is no need, to begin to read all people’s mail/communications, all the time.

    For those who poo-poo the idea of Orwell and the obvious immediate conclusions and similarities, this IS what police states do.

    And they ALWAYS turn on the population.

    You cannot read the population’s mail, in a general form, and not call yourself a police state.

    When did we become a country that needed to argue for the retention of rights, when we just used to assume that an argument had to be made to infringe upon them?

    See how the “conversation” (Love that greasy word, ‘cause you know it’s never going to be a two-way, don’t’cha?) has changed?

    Look at the rest of the pieces of the puzzle:

    Step back and look at the big picture.

    1.5 Billion bullets

    7000 M4 rifles.

    2700 armored troop carriers.

    30, 000 drones in the air in 10 years.

    If they’re not preparing for something, what are they doing then?


  • http://www.graciousstore.com Nina

    What does it matter if FBI is given warrant to spy on on-line conversation or not? Any communication via the internet is already open to the public, so why does the FBI did warrant to participate in what is already public?

  • sar

    There are many vulnerabilities in SMTP so information in emails can be easily captured by both law enforcement and criminals. I think its a right move by US govt to keep the world safe. Private companies should follow 100% encryption of emails.