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Officials Push to Bolster Law on Wiretapping

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U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism officials are urging the revamping of a federal statute requiring phone and broadband carriers to guarantee that their networks can be wiretapped, citing gaps in compliance with surveillance orders. The officials are pushing for tougher legislation because some telecommunications firms have started new services and made system upgrades that interfere with surveillance.

An Obama administration taskforce recently began drafting legislation to bolster and expand the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act, and attorney Albert Gidari Jr. says corporations are likely to balk at greater government intervention in the design or launch of services, with subsequent fallout affecting industry innovation, costs, and competitiveness. The drive to expand the law is the latest instance of the lingering problem of establishing equilibrium between Internet freedom and security needs in an era of rapidly advancing and globalized technology.

Proposals for legislation that would broaden the government's authority over carriers include boosting the probability of a carrier paying a financial penalty over wiretapping lapses, or establishing an incentive for companies to show new systems to the FBI prior to implementation.

From The New York Times
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