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Interception of Gmail messages: FBI’s key priority

9 July 2013, by — admin ()

gmail-300x200Speaking at an event organized by the American Bar Association, Andrew Weissman, an FBI counsel, called the development of a legal base for monitoring major online services the top priority of the bureau in 2013.

The current legal foundation for online surveillance is a part of a law that grants secret services access to email and chat services and is called the “Wiretap Act”. It enables the FBI to monitor users’ activities on the provider level. However, most Internet services encrypt data connections between users and the server, thus rendering FBI surveillance partially useless.

Weissman mentioned Gmail, Google Voice, Dropbox and built-in chats in many games as examples of such services.

Therefore, FBI can legally compel Gmail, for instance, to assist in intercepting some information, but it does not oblige Gmail employees to mandatory actions, so the efficiency of FBI investigations in limited. This happens because the Act only applies to providers, who must install FBI equipment in their data centers. Online services are currently out of reach for the bureau.

According to Weissman, FBI will be working hard on new legislation, which, once adopted, will considerably broaden their authority.

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