Feds Push for Stronger Law on Wiretapping

Government can't keep up with phone companies' upgrades
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2010 12:40 PM CDT
Feds Push for Stronger Law on Wiretapping
A mobile telephone antennae system is seen in this file photo.   (Shutterstock)

Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials are pressing to change a 1994 wiretapping law to force wireless carriers to make their phones easier to wiretap. Telecom companies have been upgrading their services faster than the government can keep up, the New York Times explains. Now an Obama administration task force is toying with ideas like requiring companies to get the OK from the FBI before deploying new systems.

“The government’s answer is ‘don’t deploy the new services—wait until the government catches up,’” says one telecom lawyer. “But that’s not how it works. Too many services develop too quickly, and there are just too many players in this now.” The news comes hot on the heels of another Times report that the administration wants to expand the law to cover Internet services like Gmail and Facebook. (Read more eavesdropping stories.)

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