FBI urges Congress to expand Internet wiretapping

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, February 17, 2011 21:39 EDT
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The FBI urged members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security on Thursday to update the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and make it easier for authorities to eavesdrop on Internet.

The act was passed in 1994 and requires telecommunication companies to design their equipment and services to ensure that law enforcement and national security officials can monitor telephone and other communications whenever necessary.

“Over the years, through interpretation of the statute by the Federal Communications Commission, the reach of CALEA has been expanded to include facilities-based broadband internet access and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that are fully inter-connected with the public switched telephone network,” FBI General Counsel Valeria Caproni told the subcommittee.

“Although that expansion of coverage has been extremely helpful, CALEA does not cover popular Internet-based communications modalities such as webmail, social networking sites or peer-to-peer services.”

“As a result, although the government may obtain a court order authorizing the collection of certain communications, it often serves that order on a provider who does not have an obligation under CALEA to be prepared to execute it,” she explained. “Such providers may not have intercept capabilities in place at the time that they receive the order.”

The proposal to expand CALEA would require companies involved in online communications to re-engineer their software so that law enforcement could easily access it.

In October 2010, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration was drafting new regulations to make it easier for authorities to eavesdrop on Internet and e-mail communications.

But, according to Caproni, “the Administration does not have a formal position at this time on whether any legislative changes are necessary.”

Documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through a Freedom of Information Act request show that the FBI and Justice Department have been working on amendments to CALEA since 2006 and have been lobbying Congress and the White House to support it.

“Though the administration claims this is just a technical fix, its request will actually change the structure of the Internet, providing the government with a master key to our online communications,” Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, said.

“The proposed changes will not only make it easier and cheaper for the government to invade our privacy, but also make the Internet more vulnerable to penetration from other sources.”

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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  • Anonymous

    More proof that Obama is bu$h’s third term. Alan Grayson for president!

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Thats like saying “Heroin junkies ask for cheaper, purer product from dealers!”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KLF5SUA5RDYXG54WWF5SHMVRAI X

    What they really need are microphones in toilets and douche bags.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    Mere citizens urge FBI to obey the fucking Constitution before they rise up like Egyptians.

  • Anonymous

    Of course they are pushing this. As more and more people use VoIP, it will make it easier for them to monitor phone conversations. I mean come on who is it that backs the people? Multinational corporations that run this government, or the servants of the multinational corporations that work in this government?

  • realnewz

    Walk like an Egyptian!

  • Anonymous

    I tell ya, Dick Cheney doesn’t have much on this guy.

  • Iconoclasm

    This just after I read this email:


    The criminal Banksters are soon to steal the rest.

  • Spire

    Fucking Bastards Incorporated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Mcloy/100001809747660 Steve Mcloy

    Old tactics are being used again.I think FBI enjoys peeping inside common man’s life.It would be a fun tapping personal calls and talkies.


  • Anonymous

    Because the FBI would NEVER abuse its powers..

  • Anonymous

    The FBI should rely on traditional investigation rather than intimidation, manufactured conspiracies, and snooping.
    Better still they should be entirely reconstituted.

  • Anonymous

    What are you talking about? Traditionally the FBI has always relied on intimidation, manufactured conspiracies and snooping to increase their reputation. After all, when the DOJ brazenly refuses to go after real criminals, such as nearly everyone on Wall Street and in Washington, all they can really do is trumpet the successes they’ve had at rounding up the fake criminals they create.

  • Anonymous

    If this is passed, I hope the internet giants tell Obysmal, his Justice Department and Congress to go take a flying fuck.

    Where is it going to stop? Will we have to give the FBI all our passwords pretty soon so they can do their job?

  • Anonymous

    They need more masterbation material:

    “NY agents to testify about personal spousal calls”


    “Defense lawyers had tried to claim that federal law did not authorize the use of wiretaps for white-collar probes”

    And notice “white collar” tapping gets a pass. They only tap the “others.”

  • Anonymous

    Or what?

  • http://twitter.com/POP_Creative steven rendon

    this is ridiculous! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!

  • Anonymous

    More domestic spying in the “land of free”?

  • Anonymous


    This call may be monitored for your convenience.

  • Anonymous

    They already HAVE the capability of tracking terrorists. They had it pre-9/11. This is an abuse of power. All the 9/11 terrorists were tracked beforehand. FBI leadership told the investigators to back off of them.

  • Anonymous

    How about we make a deal with big brother – you get to listen in on us, but we get to listen in on you?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCRNBMCPGAOEFGLTXYZVLQ2QPA Razi Masoud

    It’s all a sham. You really think these evil people will ask for permission to tap on people’s privacy? It’s bullshit people, they’re already watching everyone, but let them. Unless you’re good at making bombs, you don’t have anything to fear.

  • Anonymous

    Hello? Can you hear me? Good.


  • Anonymous

    Or unless you happen to be a cute girl and an ugly old FBI agent happens to take a liking to you. Or unless you happen to have certain political ideas that an FBI agent doesn’t especially like and you decide to run for office. Or unless the government is paid to make an unjust law by corporations, such as a law forcing everyone to buy a product from private corporations, and you want to practice peaceful civil disobedience by ignoring the law. Or unless… Well. I can think of countless example of why I wouldn’t want the government spying on me every moment of every day.

    I guess you would prefer to live in a police state though.

  • Buford2k11

    the FBI needs to purge the rest of the criminal element from with in, before allowing them to do something that dubious anyway. We are on the verge of total police state. Wisconsin is just an example of how the extremists want to finalize the take over of the USA. Look out FREEDOM, Here come the Fascists under the guise of Patriots.

  • Anonymous

    Lot of smart remarks about the abuse by the FBI. For historical perspective Hoover tapped and tailed all the top politicians and blackmailed them to do his bidding. Some think he murdered ones that resisted. Congress should be aware of the power over their own lives they give away when they give in the the LEA demands.

  • Anonymous

    A formal Police State is coming in 2012. Executive authority and intimidation will destroy the last vestiges of due process. King whoever it ends up being, will fill the detentions camps and wage war on the world. We have to stage a national strike this summer. We have to shut the system down to restore balance to the political system.

    The strike has to have very focused demands with no wavering.

    1. An end to any claim of corporate personhood.
    2. All political contributions have to be identified by source.
    3. There has to be a reasonable individual limit to contributions.
    4. No one who is not an elected official or a sworn witness giving public testimony can be in congress when its in session.

    Take our country back from the oligarchy.

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    building 7, twin towers, pentagon, shanksville

    FBI did such a good job with the Anthrax

  • Anonymous

    Fuck you, you shameful, shortsighted, chickenshit fascists.

    Fuck. You.

    Eavesdrop on that.

  • Anonymous

    They said “The FBI should rely on traditional investigation rather than…”, not ‘The FBI should rely on their own traditional…’.

    Obviously the FBI has a long tradition of draconian abuses of power. They should be eliminated, and a much less powerful investigative body should replace them. Better the guilty go free than the free be treated as the guilty. Or something like that.

    Fuck ‘em, is what i’m saying.

  • http://twitter.com/MrEthiopian ed smith

    We will soon all be labeled communists and blacklisted and for what?

  • Anonymous

    Oh, not communists, that’s so passe’, just plain old citizens will do.

  • Anonymous

    The tools of government are not sufficient in servicing the needs of the State in its pursuit of the foreign and domestic threats. As the nations devolves into fascist plutarchy, we, the lowly citizens, will be subject to the multi pronged assault, much as the blitzkrieg of panzers in the past, now the political shock troops are enveloping the stunned multitudes.

    The financial, economic, and military interests, are all bound together by the great teat to which these private actors, government partnered, multi-national, globalisation adherent, and free market practitioners, sup; the governments which they own. The profits from unending global war on ever redefined nebulas threats is too great to be abandoned in the name of fiscal austerity. ‘Secretary of Defense Robert Gates supported moderate cuts in the defense budget Wednesday but warned Congress that “short-sighted cuts could well lead to costlier and more tragic consequences later – indeed as they have in the past.” ‘ [http://medillonthehill.net/2011/02/gates-testifies-on-military-budget/]

    Like a succubus of unimagined horror, the essence and strength of the society, what was an understood social contract for the greater good which once empowered this nation thought great, is extracted to result in only a frail husk of impending poverty and debt.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    LOL! They’re only trying to legalize what they’re already doing.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    5. Declare AIPAC a foreign lobby.
    6. Outlaw foreign lobbies.
    7. Outlaw lobbies.
    8. Public funding of campaigns.
    9. Public ownership of the media.
    10. Cancel all defense contracts and bring the troops home.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    He was in on the Kennedy assassination, as well as RFK and MLK.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang


  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    Oh, that. Bush wiped his ass with that.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    You have to ask yourself: what are they protecting?

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    Funny how all of a sudden some of those FBI tapes of Emanuel’s and Blagojavich’s conversations turned up missing. You know, those ones that implicate Emanuel.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    It ain’t about terrorism anyway. It’s about total control.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    All that “land of the free” shit is for baseball games.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    I’m trying to imagine them listening in on 900 calls.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    Holder is a fascist and Obama knew that when he stuck him in at Justice as AG.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    Don’t forget how Hoover protected the mafia, even denying that they existed for years.

  • Guest

    “On September eleventh, two thousand and one nineteen men attacked the united states. On September twelfth every American citizen became a suspect.” The Powers Of Nightmares.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IA2XCA7JNM6SPZZG4HURXHEYBY Trippin Mczoink

    I’m no fan of that corporate ball licker in the White House, but these eavesdropping back doors have been implemented since there’s been a telephone. This is nothing new, and nothing peculiar to this particular Traitor To The People In Chief. The one difference today is that once upon a time it used to take a court order, now it’s rubber stamped by FISA if even sought at all.

  • Anonymous

    The act was passed in 1994? 1994? And these Federal and National Security Aholes still let 9-11 happen anyway? And Special Recognition goes out to Mikie H. and His NSA Jackasses for letting 9-11 happen, please see James Bamford’s book the “Shadow Factory” and Video “the Spy Factory” for details.

  • Anonymous

    Typical FBI Psych Profile:

    1 Very suspicious and distrustful of anyone not of their own culture.
    2 Too self-assured and self confident, to need, or ask for help is perceived as a sign of weakness, value self-reliance seeking help for any issue.
    3 May possess above-average intelligence.
    4 Perfectionist?; overly judgmental of self &others, takes great pride in profession not wanting to bring any shame on it or themselves
    5 Over identify with job resulting in isolating with others in culture which leads to alienation; great deal of personal identify tied up in professional identity; it’s much more that just a job, it’s a way of life.
    6 Crisis oriented; seek & thrive on excitement & stress; always want to be “in the thick of things”
    7 Defensive & trend to overreact when challenged; take charge personality
    8 Difficulty dealing with feelings valuing cognitive abilities; repression of feelings is a self-protecting mechanism; projection & rationalization used to cope with distress which tends to encourages maladaptive behaviors often resulting in maladies such as depression, despair, loneliness, & cynicism.
    9 Resistant to surrendering self-control; “powerlessness” is considered a sign of weakness
    10 Tendency to equate physical health with mental health; physical and mental illness are perceived, sometimes rightly so, as career damaging or ending; treatment for any affliction, especially perceived “mental illnesses” is viewed unsafe and career damaging; very stigma oriented.
    11 Being deceptive and manipulative is a valuable trait; Feds are trained in techniques of dealing with deceptive persons and in interviewing skills
    12 Resistant to change; tend to view things in black or white, right or wrong.
    Information taken from articles by
    Travis K. Sorrows and J. Edgar Hoover

  • Anonymous

    Number 5. see number 6.
    Number 6. should be part of the constitution.
    Number 7. Lobyists have to be kept out of congressional sessions and laws have to be authored by elected representatives.
    Number 8. It requires money to get on a ballot. Who decides who is worthy of government funding for that part of the process?
    Numnber 9. There have to be enforceable rules governing the size and scope of media groups. Not government ownership.
    Number 10. Canceling all defense contracts is not wise or possible. Separating the military from its coroporate teat and returning to civilian control of the military. The tail has been wagging the dog since Eisenhowers speech.

  • Anonymous

    The wealthy class.


  • Anonymous

    Who is watching the FBI? over 40K abuses of the “Patriot act” and how many prosecutions of FBI agents have their been? You people think they are the good guys? They are little better than Mubarak’s stooges.

  • Anonymous

    Journalistic circles in particular like to describe the press as a ‘great power’ in the state. As a matter of fact, its importance really is immense. It cannot be overestimated, for the press really continues education in adulthood.
    Its readers, by and large, can be divided into three groups:
    First, into those who believe everything they read;
    second, into those who have ceased to believe anything;
    third, into the minds which critically examine what they read, and judge accordingly.
    Numerically, the first group is by far the largest. It consists of the great mass of the people and consequently represents the simplest-minded part of the nation. It cannot be listed in terms of professions, but at most in general degrees of intelligence. To it belong all those who have neither been born nor trained to think independently, and who partly from incapacity and partly from incompetence believe everything that is set before them in black and white. To them also belongs the type of lazybones who could perfectly well think, but from sheer mental laziness seizes gratefully on everything that someone else has thought, with the modest assumption that the someone else has exerted himself considerably. Now, with all these types, who constitute the great masses, the influence of the press will be enormous. They are not able or willing themselves to examine what is set before them, and as a result their whole attitude toward all the problems of the day can be reduced almost exclusively to the outside influence of others. This can be advantageous when their enlightenment is provided by a serious and truth-loving party, but it is catastrophic when scoundrels and liars provide it.
    The second group is much smaller in number. It is partly composed of elements which previously belonged to the first group, but after long and bitter disappointments shifted to the opposite and no longer believe anything that comes before their eyes in print. They hate every newspaper; either they don’t read it at all, or without exception fly into a rage over the contents, since in their opinion they consist only of lies and falsehoods. These people are very hard to handle, since they are suspicious even in the face of the truth. Consequently, they are lost for all positive, political work.
    The third group, finally, is by far the smallest; it consists of the minds with real mental subtlety, whom natural gifts and education have taught to think independently, who try to form their own judgment on all things, and who subject everything they read to a thorough examination and further development of their own. They will not look at a newspaper without always collaborating in their minds, and the writer has no easy time of it. Journalists love such readers with the greatest reserve.
    For the members of this third group, it must be admitted, the nonsense that newspaper scribblers can put down is not very dangerous or even very important. Most of them in the course of their lives have learned to regard every journalist as a rascal on principle, who tells the truth only once in a blue moon. Unfortunately, however, the importance of these splendid people lies only in their intelligence and not in their number- a misfortune at a time when wisdom is nothing and the majority is everything! Today, when the ballot of the masses decides, the chief weight lies with the most numerous group, and this is the first: the mob of the simple or credulous.
    It is of paramount interest to the state and the nation to prevent these people from falling into the hands of bad, ignorant, or even vicious educators. The state, therefore, has the duty of watching over their education and preventing any mischief. It must particularly exercise strict control over the press; for its influence on these people is by far the strongest and most penetrating, since it is applied, not once in a while, but over and over again. In the uniformity and constant repetition of this instruction lies its tremendous power. If anywhere, therefore, it is here that the state must not forget that all means must serve an end; it must not let itself be confused by the drivel about so-called ‘freedom of the press’ and let itself be talked into neglecting its duty and denying the nation the food which it needs and which is good for it; with ruthless determination it must make sure of this instrument of popular education, and place it in the service of the state and the nation.

    Adolf Hitler – Causes of the Collapse / Mein Kampf. 1926.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting last tow paragraphs….
    “Though the administration claims this is just a technical fix, its request will actually change the structure of the Internet, providing the government with a master key to our online communications,” Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, said.

    “The proposed changes will not only make it easier and cheaper for the government to invade our privacy, but also make the Internet more vulnerable to penetration from other sources.”

    I thought banks and big business were ruling the world…
    Are they going to go for this?

    I mean … who’s responsible for each and every personal and business loss generated when Wikileaks publishes the govt master keys?