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FBI: Web-based services hurting wiretapping efforts

Grant Gross | Feb. 17, 2011
Web-based e-mail, social-networking and peer-to-peer services are frustrating law enforcement wiretapping efforts, a lawyer for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation told lawmakers Thursday, but she did not offer concrete ideas on how to fix the problem.

The FBI is concerned about privacy and the Internet's security, but also about criminals running loose because the agency can't execute a wiretap, Caproni said. "That criminal may be a massive drug dealer, they may be an arms trafficker, they may be a child pornographer or a child molester," she said. "We need the actual ability to conduct the wiretaps so we can keep the streets safe."

Conyers questioned the need for more CALEA powers. "So what's a little privacy invasion compared to all those big things that you are worrying about, right?" he said.

Caproni's testimony prompted Representative Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, to ask about the reason for her appearance at the hearing. "What are you seeking here today?" he said. "What is it exactly that you would want Congress to do?"

The FBI would have recommendations for Congress soon, Caproni said. "You invited me, and we came," she said. "I'm really here today to talk about the problem."

 

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