The FBI is pressuring Internet service providers to install software inside their networks to allow real-time government spying on users. The FBI claims real-time collection of information is suddenly necessary for the agency to do its job. Any resistance to the FBIâ€™s demands for access is met with legal threats as the FBI claims the spying is authorized under the Patriot Act.
The U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companiesâ€™ internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts.
FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams. The FBIâ€™s legal position during these discussions is that the softwareâ€™s real-time interception of metadata is authorized under the Patriot Act.
It was only yesterday that the FBI was responsible for breaching TOR, which may be an indication that the FBI sees the Internet and computer technology as an extra-legal playground. The FBI was also recently denied broad authority to spy on the public using webcams.
Carriers are â€œextra-cautiousâ€ and are resisting installation of the FBIâ€™s port reader software, an industry participant in the discussions said, in part because of the privacy and security risks of unknown surveillance technology operating on an sensitive internal network.
Itâ€™s â€œan interception device by definition,â€ said the industry participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because court proceedings are sealed. â€œIf magistrates knew more, they would approve less.â€ Itâ€™s unclear whether any carriers have installed port readers, and at least one is actively opposing the installation.