Saturday, October 9, 2010

If You Care about Private Online Communications, You Should Read This

An outrageous proposal by the Obama administration would mandate that all online communications services use technologies that would make it easier for the government to collect private communications and decode encrypted messages that Americans send. This includes communications sent using texting platforms, BlackBerries, social networking sites, and other "peer to peer" communications software such as Skype.

There are a number of problems with this proposal. Instead of securing our online communications and protecting our privacy, the government wants to pave the road for more out-of-control government spying. Concern over cyber security is at an all-time high. This proposal will create even more security risks by mandating that our communications have a 'backdoor' for government use—making our online interactions even more vulnerable and easier to collect.

It's not only the government that will go through this 'door.' In 2004, hackers took advantage of a similar law in Greece to hack into mobile communications systems and listen to the calls of high government officials—including the Prime Minister.

The government has yet to make the case that encryption is actually hindering their investigations. According to the most recent Wiretap Report, law enforcement encountered only a single encrypted call last year, and they were able to learn the contents of that call in spite of the encryption.

There is no justification for this move to put our personal online communications within easy reach of the government's prying eyes.

>> Take a stand against this proposal. Sign the ACLU's petition to Attorney General Holder: Rein in FBI surveillance power.

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