DOJ Wants To Be Able To Fine Tech Companies Who Don’t Let It Wiretap Your Communications

Tech Dirt – by Mike Masnick

We’ve talked a lot about how the Justice Department (DOJ), mainly via the FBI, has been pushing for years to change the laws in order to require tech companies to build wiretapping backdoors into any and every form of communication online. As we’ve explained over and over again, this is a really silly proposal, that won’t make us any safer. Instead, it’s likely to make us a lot less secure, because those backdoors will be abused, not just by law enforcement, but by those with malicious intent who will work hard to find the backdoors and make use of them.   

The latest proposal on this front is equally ridiculous. While it wouldn’t dictate specific wiretapping/backdoor standards, it would require that companies make some sort of backdoor available or face rapidly escalating fines.

Under the draft proposal, a court could levy a series of escalating fines, starting at tens of thousands of dollars, on firms that fail to comply with wiretap orders, according to persons who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. A company that does not comply with an order within a certain period would face an automatic judicial inquiry, which could lead to fines. After 90 days, fines that remain unpaid would double daily.

This would be a disaster for innovative companies and for public security and privacy as well. The DOJ really needs to learn that not everything must be tappable. As it stands now, if I just sit on a park bench talking to someone, the DOJ can’t tap it. Sometimes law enforcement doesn’t get the right to hear everything I have to say. That’s the nature of freedom and privacy protection that we’re supposed to believe in. I’m sure with the news that chat apps are now more popular than SMS worldwide, law enforcement folks think that they need to “do something” to make sure they can spy on those conversations, but that’s not true. Yes, it may make their job harder at times, but in a free country, the focus should be on protecting the freedom of the people, not decimating it to make the job of law enforcement easier. Those who commit crimes leave other clues beyond their communications online. Tapping such communications will lead to a massive security risk and huge expense for many innovative companies (likely slowing down the pace of innovation in that space). Is that worth it just so the DOJ can spy on what you have to say? That seems doubtful.

9 thoughts on “DOJ Wants To Be Able To Fine Tech Companies Who Don’t Let It Wiretap Your Communications

  1. I wouldn’t be bullied. They need a warrant for a wiretap. Don’t fall for it. Sue them in Federal court.

    1. Yea right John W. do you realy think that you or any one else would win a law suit against the fed govt. Give me a break. You realy must be jokeing there John W. LOL sue the DOJ hahaha..

      1. Hey digger, let’s sue the universe for allowing our meaningless existence. Do ya think we’ll win?:)

      2. And that’s exactly what they hope people would think, and exactly why they are getting away with breaking the law. It’s because people think that they have no recourse. You’ll never know until you try.

        1. I got to ask ya John W. Have you ever known/heard of any body that has sued any part of big govt. and won? Perhaps maybe some big/mega business but unless you are some of the super wealthy/elite ya would never stand a chance sueing big govt. I just had to ask ya. I suppose that it would be possible to try but who would even stand a chance to win sueing the govt. In fact it would probobly end you up in some ditch somewhere. Don`t you understand that the govt. is above the law and lives by different rules than the rest of us common people?

          1. I’m old enough to remember the segregation in the schools in the south. Local gov’t, but gov’t. Ultimately, the right for Blacks to go to a school with non Blacks was won. If everybody accepted that, where would we be today?. There are others, I just can’t remember without doing a little research.

          2. Yea ok John I`ll agree with that. However the govt. is trying to bring the U.S. down in every way possible and they will use the bought off court system to do whatever they need to do to achieve that goal of theirs. Just look at what they are doing to the Bill of Rights.

          3. “Just look at what they’re doing to the bill of rights”. I know. I don’t know how to fix it. Maybe someone smarter than I can bring these people to justice. I know, you said the courts were bought off. Not every one is on the take. What will happen after Obama’ term is up?. Do you think we’ll get back our rights or do you think it’ll get worst?.

  2. BAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!!!! Omg! Our government is truly criminal, it’s not even funny anymore. They blatantly just admitted to fining someone because they didn’t do something unlawful. WTF!

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