The Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 last week to prohibit businesses from offering broadband or Internet phone service unless they provide police with backdoors for wiretapping access. Formal regulations are expected by early next year.
But the commissioners didn't give the FBI and its allies at the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration everything they wanted.
In the police agencies' original request, submitted in March, they asked the FCC to force surveillance back doors into instant-messaging programs and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications that do not use the traditional telephone network. The FCC politely declined, with Chairman Michael Powell saying those services were exempt from the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and that it was "unnecessary to identify future services and entities subject to" mandatory wiretapping requirements.
By Declan McCullagh at CNET.
[ Read more ]