FBI to pursue 'greater' 'real-time' Gmail snooping powers as 'top priority'

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 29, 2013 10:00 hrs

The FBI has said that it has made gaining more powers to wiretap all forms of Internet conversation and cloud storage a "top priority" this year, according to a report.

Despite the pervasiveness of law enforcement surveillance of digital communication, the FBI still has a difficult time monitoring Gmail, Google Voice, and Dropbox in real time.

Last week, FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann discussed some of the pressing surveillance and national security issues facing the bureau.

He gave a few updates on the FBI's efforts to address what it calls the "going dark" problem, how the rise in popularity of email and social networks has stifled its ability to monitor communications as they are being transmitted, Slate Magazine reports.

According to the report, it's no secret that under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the feds can easily obtain archive copies of emails, but when it comes to spying on emails or Gchat in real time, however, it's a different story.

Because Gmail is sent between a user's computer and Google's servers using SSL encryption, for instance, the FBI can't intercept it as it is flowing across networks and relies on the company to provide it with access.

According to Weissmann, the bureau is working with "members of intelligence community" to craft a proposal for new Internet spy powers as "a top priority this year."

Citing security concerns, he declined to reveal any specifics, the report said. (ANI)

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