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US wants to ease telecom wiretapping: report

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An Obama administration taskforce is seeking to overhaul a federal law requiring telephone and broadband carriers to ensure their networks can be wiretapped, The New York Times reported Tuesday (link).

Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials from the Justice and Commerce Departments, the FBI and other federal agencies told the Times tougher legislation was necessary because some telecommunications firms have launched new services and system upgrades that impede surveillance.

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As part of their draft legislation to expand and strengthen the 1994 law, the officials want more legal incentives and penalties to push AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other carriers to make sure any changes to their networks will not disrupt efforts to conduct wiretaps, the report added.

According to the Times, President Barack Obama’s administration intends to submit a package of draft legislation to Congress next year. Citing officials familiar with the deliberations, it noted there was still no agreement over the details.

Officials cited two previously undisclosed episodes during which major carriers struggled for weeks or months when they tried to comply with court-approved wiretap orders in criminal or terrorism investigations.

The newspaper said the FBI spends about 20 million dollars a year on efforts to help companies fix such problems.

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Last month, the Times reported that the White House is also pushing to require all online services that enable communications — such as Gmail, Facebook, BlackBerry and Skype — to be technically capable of complying with a wiretap order, bringing them under the law’s mandate for the first time.

Among proposals floated by the Obama administration, one would increase the likelihood that a firm would pay a fine for wiretapping lapses, while another would create incentives for companies to show new systems to the FBI before implementing them, the Times said.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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WATCH: Climate activists chant ‘failure of leadership’ at Tom Perez after DNC votes against climate debate

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Activists walked out of the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco after the organization voted against allowing a climate change debate during the 2020 primary.

DNC Chair Tom Perez imposed strict rules on the debates, which prevented a climate change debate from occurring. Climate activists had forced a vote, hoping to overrule the party boss.

"The Democratic Party needs the energy, motivation, and organizing capacity of young people to defeat Trump in 2020. But Tom Perez keeps shooting the party in the foot by rejecting that energy and turning it away," the Sunrise Movement said in a statement.

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DNC votes against allowing a climate change debate amongst the 2020 hopefuls

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Trump’s threat to ‘hereby’ force manufacturers to do his bidding stomped by legal analyst

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President Donald Trump is claiming extraordinary powers in his escalating trade war with China.

On Friday, Trump demanded that American companies look for alternatives to China.

"Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies home and making your products in the USA," Trump tweeted.

Of course, the president has no power to order such a thing.

Trump then announced massive tariffs on China, citing the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977.

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