As Online Communications Stymie Wiretaps, American Lawmakers Debate Solutions

Leading Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday reacted skeptically to the idea of overhauling surveillance laws to make it easier to wiretap people who communicate online rather than by telephone, a major priority for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.The lawmakers expressed their concerns at a House hearing devoted to a problem that law enforcement officials call “going dark” — investigators’ inability to carry out court-approved wiretap orders when the people who are the targets communicate using services that lack a surveillance capability.To read this report in The New York Times in full, see: seePanel Debates Ways To Update Surveillance To New Technologies
The FBI came to Congress Thursday to outline the problems law enforcement officials are increasingly facing in executing court ordered wiretaps, but did not offer a proposed solution for lawmakers to consider.During a hearing before the House Judiciary Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee, even critics acknowledged law enforcement faces a problem but there was much debate over what should be done to address it. Under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, telecommunications companies are required to develop and deploy solutions to enable court-ordered wiretaps.

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