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Backdoor Entry in Skype, Facebook and IM for the FBI

Have you ever wondered how government security agencies have been   tracking down criminals online? The internet has not only made it easier for criminals to network with each other but has also provided a medium for the security agencies to keep track of them. The internet is a warehouse of information and the FBI, local police departments and other security agencies have been using the information  to predict the movements of the criminals and act before any substantial damage is done.

However, the FBI is not satisfied by what they have at this point of time. According to reliable sources, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is in talks with leading online companies such as Skype, Facebook and other instant messengers for a possible backdoor entry in the sites. This  will help them in accessing user information at will and according to the agency, will make their job easier and effective.

Why is the FBI Requesting a Backdoor entry?

There are two main reasons why the FBI is lobbying for a backdoor in these leading internet networks. Although the internet is a warehouse of information, the information is not organized. If you have any experience in sorting information that you have got from the internet, you will know what kind of chaos you will be faced with. Statistically speaking, almost 93% of the information that the agency gathers from the internet is waste data, or garbage, in technical terms. So, the bureau not only has to spend valuable resources on sorting out data but there is also the time constraint. In ensuring security, time is a vital constraint and if the agency does not act on time, the effort is as good as wasted.

Another reason for this is the popularity and the wide usage of these networks. Although criminals are aware of the fact that these networks are being monitored, they use some of the loopholes in the privacy system of these networks and slip away. There is hard evidence that these networks are indeed being used by criminals and that is the reason why FBI is pushing so hard for the backdoor. There have also been reports of the bureau holding meetings with the top officials from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc.

How Will It Affect the Common Man?

When we think about online security, the things that come to our mind are virtual private networks, anti-virus software, firewalls, and similar other common security measures. However, while we are worrying about how to stop cookies/tracking online, what if the FBI is accessing the information through the servers of service providers? It is true that the intentions are right and for the greater good of the nation, by the patriot act, we are obligated to agree to it. However, the system is not foolproof. There have been hundreds of examples of cops going rouge, right from local police departments to the CIA. What guarantee does the common man have that a cop or an agent who has access to that information will not sell it out to criminals?

Law is in Favor of the FBI’s Moves

According to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, the companies are required to maintain a log of all the information that passes through their servers and if there is a legitimate ground and firm suspicion, the security agencies can request access to this information. However, this backdoor entry will give free reign to anyone with authority and we all know that authority has been misused in the past and will be in the future too. So, there has to be some sort of effort from our part to ensure that this doesn’t happen or risk losing our online privacy rights.

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