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Obama may back plan to make FBI wiretaps easier

As Salon noted last week, a Justice Department task force -- working on the FBI's bidding -- is preparing legislation that would allow the government to wiretap online communications with far greater ease. The plan would see tech giants -- like Facebook, or Google -- facing fines were they not to build in backdoors to their messaging systems, which would enable government surveillance. The New York Times now reports that President Obama is "on the verge" of backing this surveillance law overhaul, which has been decried by tech industry players and privacy advocates alike.

Albert Gidari Jr., who represents technology companies on law enforcement matters, told the Times, "We’ll look a lot more like China than America after this." Gidari argued, according to the Times, "that if the United States started imposing fines on foreign Internet firms, it would encourage other countries, some of which may be looking for political dissidents, to penalize American companies if they refused to turn over users’ information."

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