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Obama administration plan to monitor social networking

The Obama administration is undergoing legislation to require social networking companies and voice over internet providers to adapt their technology so law enforcement agents can monitor communications during criminal and terrorism investigations.

In a proposal that looks set to alienate a large portion of the public, the government feels that social based technological platforms have outpaced the law and that the authorities are unable to monitor new methods of communication. The inititive has also revived a debate over  personal privacy violations and whether a move like this is deemed as ‘spying on innocent people’.

Obama - giving a thumbs up to social networking monitoring

“This is about lawfully authorized intercepts,” said Valerie E. Caproni, FBI general counsel. “This is not about expanding authority, but about preserving the ability to carry out existing authorities in order to protect the national security and public safety.”

The administration plans were originally reported by the New York Times and it has been an ongoing process for the last two years as they move closer to getting the plan a reality. Currently an agent has to get a court order based on probable cause to gain access to a telecommunication providers network. Social Networking companies such as Facebook and Twitter are not covered under this law as their technologies were not built to provide law enforcement with real time access to any content on their servers.

Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation spoke to the Washington Post and said “This proposal is a drastic anti-privacy, anti-security, anti-innovation solution in search of a problem. Encryption was encountered during one state wiretap, but did not prevent officials from obtaining the plain text of the communications.”

KitGuru says: A good idea or just a means for the government to spy on the country? What do you think?

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