Oppose the New Ashcroft Internet Snooping Request!
Attorney General John Ashcroft is asking the Federal Communications Commission for sweeping new authority to regulate the design of Internet communications services to make them easy to wiretap.
If implemented, this Ashcroft plan would dramatically increase the government's surveillance power and risk making surveillance and privacy violations much more widespread. It would force technology companies to build ""backdoors"" in their systems for wiretapping and thereby create weaknesses that hackers, thieves and rogue government agents could exploit to invade your privacy and conduct identity theft.
The government already has more than enough power to spy on individuals suspected of wrongdoing. This measure is the equivalent of requiring all new homes be built with a peephole for law enforcement agents to look through.
A sweeping increase in law enforcement's surveillance powers such as this should be reviewed by Congress, not issued by fiat by the Justice Department with the approval of the FCC. This is especially important since this Department of Justice has demonstrated it has little respect for privacy rights and instead wants to dramatically increase surveillance of regular people.
Take Action! Tell the FCC that you oppose these new wiretapping requirements.
This Ashcroft snooping plan is not necessary.
Longstanding laws already require Internet Service Providers and Internet telephone companies to allow the FBI to conduct surveillance. The Justice Department is seeking to go far beyond these existing powers by trying to force the industry to actually build its systems around government eavesdropping. It is the equivalent of the government requiring all new homes be built with a peephole for law enforcement to look through.
The Justice Department is ignoring congressionally mandated limits.
Congress, after extensive deliberations, set up boundaries for how the FBI can collect information between sources like phone companies and data sources like e-mail. The FBI's aggressive and expansive reading of the law would bypass the legislative process to alter that careful balance.
The Ashcroft plan would harm the infrastructure of the Internet itself and risk making our communications easier targets for hackers and thieves.
By requiring a master key to our personal communications, the government is creating the very real potential for hackers and thieves - or even rogue government agents - to access our personal communications. Past efforts to provide this sort of ""backdoor"" access have not been successful and only created a rich opportunity for hackers.
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