With the UK terror threat level rising to “Severe” and the US State Department releasing an official warning for Americans travelling to Europe, it can come as no surprise that the Obama administration has turned its watchful eye on social networking.
In a move echoing Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’ BlackBerry ban earlier this year, the US government is drawing up a Bill that will enable federal and national law enforcement agencies to wiretap social networks and VoIP platforms.
According to The New York Times, the administration’s latest assault on privacy will allow them to access all forms of communication. Identifying the change in how people communicate this will heavily focus on the internet, with BlackBerry’s encrypted emails, Twitter, Facebook and Skype all among the top services targeted.
Expected to be submitted sometime next year, the Bill will force these communication services providers to be built in a way that the government can monitor them at all times, leaving no conversation private again –which is not at all hypocritical, considering their hard stance on the telecommunication regulation of the UAE, Iran and China.
Despite Valerie E Caproni, general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stating that this new legislation will focus on “preserving” and not expanding existing authority, the debate over security vs. privacy rages on.
And with headlines filled with suspected “tourist targets” and “Mumbai-style attacks”, Obama’s administration will no doubt have some company soon enough, with other governments taking a similar line over their security concerns.