Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

FBI Planning New Net-Tapping Push 367

Section_Ei8ht writes to tell us CNet is reporting that the FBI is pushing for legislation to allow law enforcement officials free access to networking gear via built in backdoors for eavesdropping. From the article: "Jim Harper, a policy analyst at the free-market Cato Institute and member of a Homeland Security advisory board, said the proposal would 'have a negative impact on Internet users' privacy. People expect their information to be private unless the government meets certain legal standards,' Harper said. 'Right now the Department of Justice is pushing the wrong way on all this.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FBI Planning New Net-Tapping Push

Comments Filter:
  • I know you will all hate me for saying this, but with a warrent the officials should be able to get into anywhere they want, including your electronic systems. As far from the article this law isn't about removing the needs for warrents, simply about making it possible for systems to be tapped when needed and when lawful. Denying officials access to these systems would be like denying them access to certain buildings. Although it is true that most buildings will never need to be investigated some will ha
    • by MrShaggy ( 683273 ) <chris...anderson@@@hush...com> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:15PM (#15684545) Journal
      Isn't this the same thing that was said when the government wanted phone taps and access to your bank accounts ? Not to mention any national database.. no chance there of someone abusing it ?
      • Do you have something against the regular police wiretaps done with warrants? Those started a long time ago. The current rules for them are about 30 years old. On the other hand, I do not believe that the civil liberties advocates on this site ever were in support of the warrantless NSA wiretapping.
        • by Chowderbags ( 847952 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @12:35AM (#15685819)
          And the phone taps were abused then too. Look at how wiretaps were used against Martin Luther King Jr. Simple because the FBI wanted to prevent communists from getting in the civil rights movement, they were able to take a man for years and later use the recordings as little more than blackmail. Insert terrorist instead of communist and what do you get: 21st century America.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09, 2006 @01:46AM (#15685951)
          "Do you have something against the regular police wiretaps done with warrants?"

          Those are fine, assuming the warrants are based on probable cause and issued by an independent court. But those aren't the issue at all here.

          Is it now illegal to make your front door out of steel, because it would make it too difficult for police with a warrant to break it down? That's what we're talking about.

          We're talking about mandating bad security, so that it will be easier for police with a warrant to break it. If you understand anything about security, you'll see that it also makes it easier for anyone, including criminals inside and outside the police force, to break it.

          In other words: this increases the risk of crime in order to make a wiretapper's job more convenient.
        • by darkonc ( 47285 ) <stephen_samuel@@@bcgreen...com> on Sunday July 09, 2006 @12:03PM (#15687065) Homepage Journal
          Do you have something against the regular police wiretaps done with warrants?

          No. I have something against irregular wiretaps done without warrents. Possibly even without the involvement of the police.

          If you think that nobody outside of the police forces is going to have the codes to break into your network a week after the date is available, you've got your head in the sand.

          Back in the '80s when it was common for the games companies to copy-protect their games (before they finally figured out that this just upset their legitimate customers), a friend of mine came in with a cracked copy of the latest game -- weeks before the game was available to legitimate purchasers. Network backdoor codes are going to be like that. The 2% of crooked cops will ensure that no spammer is going to lack for that information.

    • by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <wesley@felter.org> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:18PM (#15684563) Homepage
      There are many ways to implement court-ordered wiretapping. The CALEA debate is not about whether IP networks should be wiretappable but about how it should be done and who should pay for it. Before CALEA, the FBI had to install Carnivore sniffing equipment at ISPs. I guess they think that's too much work, so they want every router at every ISP to be upgraded to have built-in wiretapping, so they don't have to lug any equipment around. And they want the ISPs to pay for these upgrades. And according to the article, now they want the ISPs to also filter the traffic for them, so they get only the traffic they want.

      IMO this is an expensive, complex, failure-prone solution to the problem.
      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:54PM (#15684693)
        With the way warrants work now, abuse is fairly hard, at least at the individual level. Some pissed off or nosy cop or FBI agent can't simply search your house or tap your net connection and so on. If the cop shows up at an ISP with the tap equipment, and so warrant, it's not likely he'll get it in there and it's pretty likely he'll get caught. Same idea as if you come home, and there's a cop rifling through your shit. You ask for a warrant and one isn't forthcomming, he's in a lot of trouble.

        Well the problem here is that this can all be activated remotely, silently. A similar idea would be for the government to put cameras in your home. I have a feeling nearly everyone would object to this, regardless of the justification. The problem is that with something like this, an individual can spy on you at random, with almost no accountability. They just turn tapping on and go. There's no oversight.

        Between the cost and the abuse potential, I can't possibly see this as a good thing. All power you give the government has potential for abuse, and you need to weigh that against what it gets you. This gets them nothing but convenience, they already have the legal authority to tap connections and such, and opens up huge potential for abuse. Thus it should not be allowed. The cost argument just makes it that much more compelling. It is not the burden of private businesses/citizens to bear this cost.

        I also find all this extremely uncompelling because our existing crime fighting tools appear to be working. Violent crime in the US keeps going down. I don't think we'll ever eliminate it, but it looks like we are moving in the right direction, it looks like we ARE able to fight it. Thus I'm not seeing the need for this vastly expanded government power.
        • Fascism starts ... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:11PM (#15684740)
          Fascism starts when the efficiency of the government becomes more important than the rights of the people.

          You're absolutely correct about this law enabling individuals to bypass the protections we've built up since our country was founded.

          And that's not the worst of it. Individuals can harass other individuals.

          But the same tactics can apply to groups within the law enforcement agencies. And that makes it too easy to implement a police state without ever passing another law. They can monitor anyone / anywhere / anytime without any oversight or paperwork.

          Goodbye Democracy.
          • "when the efficiency of the government" No damn worries about America going facist then.
          • Goodbye Democracy.


            I said my goodbyes in 2000 when the election was manipulated.
        • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:23PM (#15684789)
          The irony of the camera thing is that cameras in your house would probably reveal a lot less sensitive information than wiretaps on your phone or on your network. What exactly could a dirty cop see if they had a camera in someone's house? They might see someone naked in the shower or having sex? How about eating, sleeping, watching TV? Big deal. Most regular people don't do anything interesting enough at home to be particularly exploitable if captured on camera. Meanwhile, if they had a phone-tap, or a network-tap, they could get all sorts of financial or business details.
      • I assume we're talking about the same FBI that just stopped the plan to blow up the Holland Tunnel by monitoring a chat room where the the suspects were discussing their plans. Of course, all the terrorism experts say that the "plot" would have never worked and that no real terrorists would sit around discussing their plans in an open chat room. Who knows what they'll "find" if they leave the chat rooms?
    • The right for law enforcement agencies to access this data is not what is dubious, it's the backdoors being in place at all which has extra security implications and the fact they have to be protected to a certain extent from those who ARE NOT legitimate law enforcement agents.
    • by SillyNickName4me ( 760022 ) <dotslash@bartsplace.net> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:21PM (#15684578) Homepage
      The problem with this kind of idea is that it is very difficult to implement without also giving hordes of unauthorized people access. Also, to address your argument, while with a warrant the police can get access to your house, there isn't a law mandating every lock to be pickable or easily opened by them, and I don't see why that should be different for network equipment.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I would agree with you, but add one critical caveat - CALEA back doors need better security, including audit systems that make judicial oversight possible. Anyone experienced with the current implementation of CALEA will cringe if you ask them how well guarded those unaudited doors are. National security is reasonable justification to tap backbones, ISP peering links, and more, but it isn't much more difficult to protect privacy at the same time. The NSA used to care about this, the FBI rarely does. You
    • by aphor ( 99965 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:22PM (#15684585) Journal

      If they get a warrant, then they can have a judge legally compel me to give them access. This is just like granting them access to certain buildings.

      I know you will hate me for this, but the objection to the proposed system isn't confined to the stated means and justifications of the proposal. The system as it stands has a very high level of accountability and control. If you create facilities that bypass the courts, then the controls and accountability for how these facilities are (mis)used disappears.

      Businessmen and officials and regular people commit crimes all of the time because (and this is usually a whiner DA/cop reason) under legal presumption of innocence, if the process of producing a prima facie case in court is significanlty less than the effort it takes to investigate then the law will have no deterrent effect against criminals. Therefore, even though this seems to improve investigation, prosecution, and therefore deterrence, it actually makes it easier for many more shady people to victimize many more regular people without a trail of evidence or fear of legal retribution.

    • Some buildings may indeed have bodies buried under them, and law enforcement officials may need to gain access to them (with a warrant of course). Still I don't hear law enforcement clamoring for the keys to every door in America.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "but with a warrent the officials should be able to get into anywhere they want, including your electronic systems"

      *@$#![1]

      No, they shouldn't. Warrants are/were supposed to be specific as to what they were looking for; they were not an opportunity to go on a fishing expedition.

      Just another example of how things are misused badly now, and people thinking that's the way they're supposed to be used. Warrants these days are so flimsy, even given from undocumented witnesses, and broad, you think that was alway
    • > Denying officials access to these systems would be like denying them access to certain buildings.

      If they want to access certain buildings they need to get a warrant. The analogy is perfect.
    • "Our right to privacy is protected by the need for warrants; making it harder for officials to conduct lawful investigations just helps criminals."
      "Although it is true that most buildings will never need to be investigated some will have bodies buried under the basement."

      I don't really care if the FBI has to spend an extra week serving me with a court order to force me to allow them access to my network. If defeating the proposed legislation means that every investigation takes a week longer and that some
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      Denying officials access to these systems would be like denying them access to certain buildings.

      No, the procedures in place (including getting a warrant) already give them access. This is more like the FBI saying, "Everyone must change their locks so our superskeleton key can open them... and you should pay for the new lock, not us."

      If people hate you for your post, that's sad and a poor reflection on them. For myself, I regret that you see things the way you do, because it means on

    • I was going to write: "What rubbish! Did you learn all the intricacies of BS from Frankfurter's essay?" until I caught your last sentence "Our right to privacy is protected by the need for warrents; making it harder for officials to conduct lawful investigations just helps criminals." This last part caught my radar and it either makes your sarcasm super-sharp and I applaud you or you are appallingly brainwashed. I hope it is the former and not the latter.

      Either way, I'll point out the problems with the s
    • There is a little piece of legislature you should be familiar with, but obviously you are not.

      It is called the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. It has several Ammendments, most of them (14 onward) are crap. But 1 - 10 are known as the bill of rights, and were not added lightly. They ensure that the government will NEVER infringe upon the rights of the people. Properly abided by, this Constitution, by itself, can easily guarantee that the rights of the people are not infringed.

      One of these rights is the right
    • The problem is that the proposed scheme is far too easy to quietly abuse without a warrant. You will probably notice if someone starts tearing up the concrete in your building's basement or putting holes in your drywall without proper authorization; the same can't be said of tapping electronic systems. Since these sorts of systems can also be cracked, the unauthorized tappers needn't even be law enforcement...
    • In a FREE COUNTRY, My *FREEDOM* trumps your false sense of 'security'.

      Draw your own conclusions about whether the US of A is 'Free'.

  • by MrShaggy ( 683273 ) <chris...anderson@@@hush...com> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:12PM (#15684529) Journal
    make me wonder why we just don't encrypt the entire network ? I understand there would be more over-head, but wouldn't that be the same as games pushing hardware?
    • by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <wesley@felter.org> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:24PM (#15684591) Homepage
      People have been working on that for 10 years or so, but it's tricky to actually make it work. For example, opportunistic IPSec has gone through several revisions, all of which seem to have various flaws that make it unusable in practice. Or if you want to encrypt all traffic at the application level you end up having to modify every protocol and then every implementation, and then waiting for people to adopt it...
      • Or if you want to encrypt all traffic at the application level you end up having to modify every protocol and then every implementation, and then waiting for people to adopt it...

        We're going to have to rebuild some of the basic comms protocols of the Internet pretty soon anyway, to solve increasing problems of spam, DDoS, and others. Why not fix this one at the same time?

        As for lawful interception, the US government's current record on operating legally in these matters is pretty much totally lackin

  • Hackers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rramdin ( 857005 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:13PM (#15684532)
    It seems like making these modifications would create security holes that could be exploited by those not associated with law enforcement.

    I also don't agree with the provision that says that law enforcement officials would not have to publish a yearly "notice of the actual number of communications interceptions." Keeping this information private would not help their investigations. What difference does it make to a terrorist whether the FBI intercepted 12,000 or 120,000 communiques.

    • Well it would give them the ability to better estimate how likely it is that their communications are currently tapped, so if the number is low it may encourage criminal behavior. Yes, I know it's a stretch.
    • Re:Hackers? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cpu_fusion ( 705735 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:51PM (#15684682)
      It seems like making these modifications would create security holes that could be exploited by those not associated with law enforcement.

      Exactly! And with the recent revelation that the FBI can't even manage their own security [slashdot.org], why should we be entrusting them with a backdoor to monitor all our communications?

      Since this administration is so keen on the phrase, I'd go farther and say there is a national security risk with putting this system in place. If our government can access these wiretaps, there's good reason to believe that foreign intelligence agencies, organized crime, etc. would be able to as well. Once such groups have snapped up enough logins for online banking systems, they could create a flood of transactions that could bring our financial system to its knees, causing runs on banks, and all sorts of fun behavior that, with proper preperation, such criminals or spy-groups could use to their advantage.

      So to prevent terrorism and crime we are going to surrender our privacy to terrorists and criminals? I call bullshit.

      It's like you went to the criminals of the world and asked them: what's your wet dream? The answer would be this system.

  • by Avillia ( 871800 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:15PM (#15684546)
    I am perfectly content with the government and it's employees having access to records showing:
    • Every conversation I have ever taken part in.
    • Every place I have ever gone.
    • Every purchase I have ever made.
    • Every person I have ever talked to.
    • Every book I have ever read.
    • Every thought I have ever had.
    It is required for the security of America and the World. The only people who resist the adoption of laws to allow the above are the people who have something to hide. Those who have something to hide are terrorists who wish to strip me of my "freedom".
    • I hope that is sarcasm! Use ... next time.
    • Reading this makes the thought police from George Orwell's 1984 come to mind.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I agree.

      If the price of liberty is that my life gets data-mined, I'm all for that. I mean, we could all flip out about the injustice of having to have your possessions scanned before you get on a plane, but that's the price of security and peace of mind for flying. There is no positive outcome that can come of keeping this sort of information out of the hands of the government. If you think you're better off that way, move to France, eat baguettes.
      • If the price of liberty is that my life gets data-mined, I'm all for that.

        Strong words coming from an Anonymous Coward. And don't give us any excuses about not remembering your login/password.

      • Actually (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DaedalusHKX ( 660194 )
        In south america they let you carry handguns on planes (no joke, .22 and .380 calibers, which, with a shot to the eyepatch can put someone down, despite the weak calibers (very accurate too, no significant recoil)).

        Strange, I don't hear of terrorists blowing up planes there.

        I recall a flight on air Iberia (spain) that got "hijacked" for about 15 seconds by uzi wielding terrorists.

        Seems that their Israeli UZI were no match for the varied makes and calibers used by the citizens packing on the plane (back then
    • by KylePflug ( 898555 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:50PM (#15684679)
      Ironically, though this was meant as sarcasm, I really don't mind if the government knows most of those things about me (OK, maybe not 'every thought I've ever had,' but most of the rest would be pretty much fine by me.)

      However, I object in principle for two reasons:
      • Because someday the government may become actually oppressive (as in "take arms" oppressive), and it is at that point that the infrastructure which our rights to privacy currently prevent would be a serious liability to all interested in life, liberty, et al.
      • Because while I don't have anything I would object horribly to the government knowing about me, I am not willing to cast my vote to allow them to, because to do so would be taking on the authority to decide that neither would anyone else.

      So no, I have nothing to hide, and don't really object to some at least mostly impartial body knowing my 'secrets' as a matter of pragmatism, but in principle and because I can't speak for those around me, I object.
    • by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:21PM (#15684784) Journal
      Every purchase I have ever made.

      You know, this could actually come in handy, if you ever wanted to return something to the store, but misplaced the receipt.

      Come to think of it, all of that information would be nice to have in one centralized place as I grow older and my memory starts to go south.

      Me: Now, where was it that I went on vacation that year?

      [scratches head]

      Me: Oh, well, I'll just submit a FOIA request to the government and have them tell me.
    • Ok, I've posted this a couple of times already...not just karma whoring, I just thought it was so fitting to the parent topic that I would post once more. I think we should all sing together!

      The Terrorist Song
      (Sung to the tune of Python's The Lumber Jack Song)

      I'm a terrorist and I'm OK
      I read at night and I work all day.

      The Government:
      He's a terrorist and he's OK
      He reads at night and he works all day.

      I read a lot and I seek the truth
      I go to the lavatory.
      After OKC, I saw some things that didn't make sense to
  • People expect their information to be private unless the government meets certain legal standards

    I've never expected privacy on the Internet, either from the peering eyes of the government or my neighbors. Maybe because I was in business long before e-mail and instant messaging and the Web became "standard" and still view them as something about which to be wary.

    My advice to clients and employees for 15 years has been: Never put something into an e-mail, or download something from a website, that you woul
    • I've never expected privacy on the Internet, either from the peering eyes of the government or my neighbors.

      So, you run your own business, eh? Do you expect that your business will never be robbed?

      If you expect to be robbed, then why do we need any laws protecting your property rights?

      Frankly, I really don't want any new laws "protecting my privacy," at least so far as this interwebs thing goes; I can protect myself just fine, thanks for asking...

      Of course you can. Provided that you never need a credit hist

  • Next week legislation will be introduced that will require everyone to submit to mandatory daily body cavity searches. You can never be sure where evil is lurking.
  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @05:47PM (#15684667)
    ...but this legislation or something very similar to it will pass. The fbi/U.S. government has discovered just how easy and effective it is to monitor citizens over the internet. Since so much of our daily life now occurs over the "tubes" of the internet (banking, purchasing, social-networking, entertainment, phone-calls, etc.), it makes it all too simple for the government to assemble detailed files on citizens just by eavesdropping on their net connection.

    Sure, at first the feds/police will need to get warrants, but eventually that requirement too will fade away. The eye of Big Brother in every room will be present in the form of our internet connections. It is so pathetically easy for the government to get monitoring power over our online lives; all they have to do is repeat three words over and over again. Terrorism, child porn. Terrorism, child porn. Terrorism, child porn. That's it. If they keep repeating those three words, any legislation they want will glide right through Congress.

    • For now. See, after a while, sometimes years, the power of magic incantations fades, and new ones need to be found. The last big one was "communist", and that held sway over us for nearly forty years. It remains to be seen what word or words will next be used to invoke the political spirits, but I expect they'll get considerable mileage out of the three words you mentioned. I won't repeat them here, because there's no point in giving the Feds a karma boost they don't deserve.
  • This is just adding another way for bad people to get into places they're not supposed to be....i mean, if the government can monitor me while on the internet, whats to stop "the bad guys" from using the same thing thats built right into the router? Also, would this even stop anything? I mean, with the encription technologies out there now, whats to stop the terrorists from encripting the data with practically uncrackable algroithms? To me this seems like spending a bunch of money to add a security hole,
  • So it's wrong to deny access/filter content because of "freedom of speech" but it is okay to spy on and prosecute those who may choose to exercise free speech against the US governments wishes.

    Personally I prefer the Chinese approach - at least you know most of the stuff that would get you into trouble has been filtered.

  • This seems completely different than phone taps to me (which according to the article telephone switch manufacturers are already required to provide wiretap ability) because I think it would be a much bigger security risk. I am not entirely sure how they want this technology to work but if there are backdoors in all network switches then whats to stop access from ANYWHERE that internet access is available to anyone who knows how the backdoor works. You can't pick up your phone and use it to access a wiret
  • Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:15PM (#15684755) Homepage Journal
    Always go under the impression you are being watched 24/7 and anything you say or do *will* be seen/read/heard and used against you at some point.

    Even if you are doing nothing wrong, still assume the above.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:19PM (#15684771)
    Back in 2004 some of the highest-ranking politicians and other most influential people in Greece had their cell phone conversations surreptitiously recorded by an unknown organization for a period of months. [schneier.com]

    The job could not have been pulled off without the presence of automated wire-tapping functionality built into the Ericsson switches in Greece. What makes the "greek experience" relevant here is that Greece didn't even purchase the wire-tapping "option" to their switches, it would have cost millions more and they decided to save the money and thought that by not purchasing the extra software and hardware they didn't even have to worry about the issue. They were very wrong.

    If ever there was proof that wire-tapping features built into systems for law-enforcement use can and will be exploited by unauthorized users, this is it. It really does not get more clean-cut than this - except for the speculation as to who exactly these unauthorized wire-tappers were - the leading candidate is the CIA. Which would lead even just a mildly paranoid person to wonder if perhaps the FBI is jealous of the CIA's latitude in foreign operations and they just want the same, easily-abused by themselves, features within their own jurisdiction.
  • by LionKimbro ( 200000 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:25PM (#15684802) Homepage
    You guys know exactly where we're headed, right?

    I hope you've been reading your Vinge. [wikipedia.org] This is equivalent to homework, if you're a technologist (programmers, that means you.)

    Our destination is the Secure Hardware Environment (SHE). [sdsu.edu]

    That is, every computing device will have to have a section for the government built in, and the government will require access to just a small part of network traffic.

    Further: All manufacturing will be observed. (see: Don't Try This at Home, [wired.com] and Remote Biology Labs [austinche.name] -- how could it be allowed to work out any other way?) The US government (not sure which parts) is already rejecting chips for computers where the manufacturing process is unknown or unwatched (link lost; sorry.)

    This will be done for your safety.

    See also: Big Brother Takes a Controlling Interest in Chips. [guardian.co.uk] Rainbows End. [communitywiki.org]
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:27PM (#15684811) Homepage
    This [bbc.co.uk] is an interesting read, a historical perspective of a police state during the reign of Elisabeth I (in 16th century). It is often only with many years of hindsight that you can really understand what was going on. This has happened before, let history be your guide.
  • by Randseed ( 132501 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:39PM (#15684844)
    People, we live in the post-9/11 world. The world has changed. Now I realize that we all have our moral limits, and our views on this, but the reality is that we have to all do our part for the war on terrorism.

    The terrorists fight dirty. The only way to fight them is to adopt some of their own tactics. This means that we may have to cooperate with some "unsavory characters." People you don't like, people you don't respect, people you don't want around, people you don't want your kids to interact with, people you wouldn't even allow inside your own home.

    So tonight I'm announcing my intention to cooperate with the United States Government.

  • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @06:51PM (#15684881) Homepage Journal
    ... is how this increase in surveillance is coupled to a decrease in transparency:

    [The proposed legislation will:]

    Eliminate the current legal requirement saying the Justice Department must publish a public "notice of the actual number of communications interceptions" every year. That notice currently also must disclose the "maximum capacity" required to accommodate all of the legally authorized taps that government agencies will "conduct and use simultaneously."



    Now, if they have nothing to hide, why are they so worried that we know how often this tool is used?

    If privacy is dead, then transparency is our only hope. But the current mood in our government is to trust no one -- not a single citizen. Yet somehow, anyone in law enforcement or homeland security is deemed automatically trustworthy.
  • ...which removes any fear it had of it's people.
  • by RDaneel2 ( 533639 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @07:09PM (#15684933) Homepage

    Who is going to want to buy this stuff?

    Not anyone outside the US... and not anyone *inside* - at least until they are required by law to "patriotically" only buy US-made networking gear.

    It would have been nice if they had learned *something* from the years of the crypto export restrictions - stuff without the restrictions / backdoors / etc will be made somewhere, and will be purchased and used...

    All this crap does is kill the viability in the global marketplace of products from US networking gear manufacturers. Sigh.

    • by DaedalusHKX ( 660194 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:37PM (#15685186) Journal
      Great Firewall Of China was created with THIS EXACT HARDWARE by such freedom loving companies as CISCO, IBM and MICROSOFT, if memory serves. Yeah, This is how China polices their internet so fast. How soon do you think our "employment issue" will be solved by creating the Great Firewall of America??

      goto www.spp.gov and do some thought.
    • How true.

      Coincidentally, I was having a conversation about the US approach to (or, rather, retreat from) issues of freedom with a group of Europeans last week, and this was just one of the issues that came up. It was unanimously agreed that the powers of the US secret (and not so secret) police were beginning to become alarming. Their possible future effects on the rest of the world are even more alarming.

      Not only does the US have a big say in how the internet is run, they also produce or licence a significant proportion of computer kit today. OK, maybe the US supply to the world market will die the death and other countries will take up the slack; but that's not the issue, is it?

      Other countries are trying to follow suit - look at the UK. They have a law called RIP (Regulation of Investigatory Powers) act. This is a misnomer because it is really the HOMUP (Hand Over Massive and Unrestricted Powers) act. Sounds very much like the US Patriot act (BTW, that was a clever name - "If you don't support this act, you can't be a patriot".)

      There was a time, not that long ago, when the US prided itself as being the leaders of the free world. Perhaps they should hand the baton over to someone else before they drop it.
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @07:52PM (#15685051) Homepage Journal

    The US government is probably the most powerful threat to peoples' security, but it is certainly not the only threat.

    Whether or not the FBI manages to mandate that backdoors be installed in your ISPs equipment, you have to already assume that some backdoors exist. Maybe the government already did some of it while no one was looking, maybe some peeping tom at your ISP did it so he could read your love letters, maybe organized criminals are trying to build a database of names and social security numbers, whatever. You damn well know that not everyone is able to secure their system, or that they don't have your best interest as their top priority, and that includes the ISPs. Big Brother and all his Little Brothers are already a plausible threat, and this particular story doesn't change a thing.

    It is your responsibility and my responsibility to make sure that we have protected our privacy. Encrypt your mail. Make sure your next stupid web server project can do everything on top of SSL. Meet with people and expand the PGP WoT. Assume the government and the identity thieves and the little green men from Alpha Centauri will completely subvert the network, and work on protecting the endpoint(s) instead. As it has always been, the Internet isn't trustworthy, so don't get your panties in a bunch just because someone wants to make it worse.

  • There is no way this will work: if a firmware/OS update for a router or switch or server comes along and it implememnts the back door, what sysadmin in their right mind would apply it? also, what about open source firmwares and OSes that sont/wont have the back door because they are not based in the USA? will it be illegal to use a Linux gateway unless it is Novell or Redhat powered?
    • In answer to your first question. They will be legally compelled.
      In answer to your second question, probably, it will be illegal, yes.
      In answer to the question you didn't ask. Yes it IS time for an armed rebellion against these evil assclowns.
  • A whole lot of a good a backdoor will do if the organization is using point-to-point encrpytion. I mean, just think about what will happen if this becomes common place? Organizations that want to keep the government out will simply migrate to IPV6 which encrypts everything by default. How would this work with Microsoft's idea of encrypting traffic to and from servers and other computers when they join a domain? Frankly, if someone has something to hide, it won't be that difficult to keep them out by using e
    • Re:Encryption? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Unlikely_Hero ( 900172 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:33PM (#15685173)
      No kidding...which proves the point a lot of us have been saying for a damn long time.
      This isn't about terror, this isn't about child porn.
      Hell, the NSA request to ATT came in February of 2001, before 9/11.
      This is about setting up an authoritarian Judeo-Christian Police State. Finally, finally it's becoming apparent.
      If information is meant to be hidden, it is all but impossible to stop it from remaining hidden in this day and age.
      The solution is at our fingertips (but maybe only for a while) and that solution is firearms an ordnance.
      Take back the country, by force if neccessary.
  • by jmac880n ( 659699 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @09:05PM (#15685258)

    Hmmm... The day they push this through is the day I go buy a router that *I* compile the firmware for.

    If they make THAT illegal?... I am not sure... I might just become a criminal...

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @11:03PM (#15685590) Homepage
    If there is a "secret backdoor" in routers and switches, it will be found by security experts both white and black hat. This will open up ENORMOUS security and privacy issues. Compromise a machine, get it to link to the routers and switches and just collect the info. Could it BE more obvious? And if you think a warrant will be used, you're imagining things. Accoding to Bush, he doesn't need a warrant for anything while we are "at war." The war is just an excuse to allow his group to snatch more power for themselves and take more away from the people. If he was REALLY interested in fighting terrorism and defending the homeland, the closing of borders would have been the FIRST thing he did, not the last and most reluctant thing...
  • by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:08AM (#15686386)
    ...then why should you accept being treated as a criminal ? This planet will just become one day a Zoo with chipped, tattooed and rfid'd humans wandering around lining up happily for their free daily beating.

    Some say it doesn't matter if someone else is always listening/watching. Well, do you speak and behave the same if someone is watching ? Can you pee with someone standing beside you watching ?

    Hell, I'm not in the U.S., still I've come to a point where I don't even sign [before you start, I mean gpg] my e-mails going to the U.S., let alone use encryption.

    I'd never use network equipment with backdoors known to have been built in (and I don't even have trade secrets to guard). Would you ? Would a company ? Would they prosecute you if you use certified hw with backdoors but keep everyone out with proxies and firewalls ? Or would they then make it also illegal to filter network traffic ?

    Am I going too far ? Maybe. But sometimes you have to think further. Where can a road paved with ever more often restrictions lead ? If the police gets more freedoms while you loose your freedoms, what does that tell you about your future ?

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

Working...