11/15/2005

1984

I sincerely hope an eleciton is called before this piece of legislation gets anywhere.
The legislation would force communication service providers - including traditional telephone companies, wireless firms and Internet providers - to phase out technical barriers to police and security agencies seeking access to messages or conversations. Under the federal plan, service providers would be required, when upgrading their systems, to build in the capabilities needed by authorities to easily tap communications. The surveillance initiative represents the latest effort by security officials to prevent terrorists and other criminals from using modern communication devices to shield their dealings from law enforcement agencies.
The problem with technology laws like this is that they are made by people who don't know the first thing about computers. A similar mistake was made in the US over Napster. Can the law makers not see the potential pitfalls of this legislation?
A few questions for the powers that be:
What is to prevent police and security agencies from spying on the innocent? Will a warrant of some kind be required? If you are going to build in the capabilities needed to tap communications, will you build something to prevent hackers from also tapping these communications? If service providers are going to be required to provide sensitive information within a "certain time frame," who is going to decide this time frame? Will it be the same for all cases?
What bothers me the most is that controversy surrounding the bill has revolved around the money firms spend looking up phone numbers, hooking up to networks and relaying communications from one town to another - individual services that may cost anywhere from next to nothing to thousands of dollars. This is all well and good, but why isn't there greater concern about how private information can be misused? Money is not the biggest concern here. Misuse is.

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