As many people know, the government is able to access data from the internet or internet providers in order to track or collect information about someone such as possible terriorists. The 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) lets law enforcement force internet providers and phone companies to install monitoring software on their networks in order to collect this information. What a lot of people don’t realize, however, is this collection is not allowed to be collected in real time. Additionally, this law does not cover email, such as Hotmail or Gmail, and also does not include cloud services such as Skype or Google Voice.

Not being able to get data as they see fit, the FBI wants to change this. The current system for them is not an “effective lever”.  Andrew Weissman, FBI general counsel, said that being able to monitor these services is a “top priority” this year.

The problem with monitoring services such as Google’s Gmail email service is that the emails can first be created on the person’s computer. The email is encrypted from their computer to the Google server and this makes it difficult for the government as they would need Google’s permission… which Google is happy to provide.

It will be interesting to see what happens here. The internet is becomming more and more transparent and some people even give up personal information to the public through Social Networking sites like Facebook.

If you have any security or privacy questions concerning your company please feel free to contact us. Several of our customers require government privacy restrictions such as HIPAA or PCI and we can help you stay compliant as well.