Feature

New snooping powers

The Obama administration will soon seek broad new powers to make it easier for the government to pry into digital communications.

The Obama administration will soon seek broad new powers to make digital communication easier to wiretap. Security officials say it’s increasingly difficult to spy on suspected criminals or terrorists who communicate via Skype, Facebook, text message, or BlackBerry instant messaging rather than by telephone or e-mail. Proposed regulations would require all communications services—including social-networking sites and Skype—to provide the text of encrypted conversations when requested by federal law enforcement officials. Privacy groups objected to the proposal, while communications companies expressed concern about the cost of retooling their technology to permit snooping.

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