Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Speed Trap on the Data Superhighway

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Speed Trap on the Data Superhighway

Article excerpt

FBI Director Louis Freeh says a proposed bill to help law-enforcement officials continue to use wiretapping would merely put in place a traffic cop on the information superhighway. But industry fears of a far greater effect on personal security and economic competitiveness deserve to be taken seriously. Monitoring activity in the brave new world of communication is one thing; making people wary of using the system in the first place is another.

Law-enforcement agencies insist that electronic surveillance is one of their most effective weapons in the war on crime. They are just as insistent that the explosive growth in sophisticated electronics and data systems threatens to make that weapon useless. Their solution is a bill that would force telecommunications to include in their equipment a way to let authorities intercept information. Withholding that ability, Mr. Freeh told a congressional hearing, would be a disaster.

But telecommunications companies are resisting, for several reasons that make sense. …

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