Editorial: Eavesdropping on Internet Communications

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a new plan to intercept Internet messages, calls and video chats. Instead of requiring companies like Skype and Google to build surveillance capabilities into their services as it suggested in 2010, the F.B.I. now proposes fining companies that fail to comply with court-ordered wiretaps.The new approach has met less opposition from other agencies, like the Commerce Department, than the earlier plan, which went nowhere because some officials worried that it would hurt innovation by imposing expensive and technically difficult requirements on start-up Internet-based communication services.

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