Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kevin Bankston said this evening that the FBI already can intercept messages on social-networking sites and Web-based e-mail services with existing law. (This was the purpose of the FBI surveillance system known as Carnivore, later renamed DCS1000.)

"Facebook messages and Gmail messages travel in plain text over those same broadband wires for which the FBI demanded wiretapping capability just a few years ago," Bankston said. "Why has that new capability not been sufficient?"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011