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FBI asking Microsoft and others to make products wiretap-friendly

In the name of better surveillance of suspected criminals, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is trying to pursue a way that could force companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google to make many of their Internet products more easily wiretapped by law enforcement officials.

News.com reports that the FBI has created the draft for a proposed law that, if passed, would make companies that offer VoIP and instant messaging software a way to make sure that their products are so-called "wiretap friendly". This same law would also apply to social networking websites and web email services.

The FBI is asking for these changes because of the rise of the Internet itself. Previously, the FBI could wiretap phone lines in order to conduct its surveillance of suspects. Now, more and more criminals are using the Internet to conduct their activities, and the FBI feels that it needs an easier way to tap into those kinds of communications.

The story claimed that FBI Director Robert Mueller is asking the various tech companies what can be put into the proposed law "to minimize impacts", according to one unnamed source.

As one might suspect, this kind of proposal may not sit well with many people, particularly those who have already tried to oppose bills like SOPA and CISPA on the grounds that it would give the government too broad of a mandate to spy and curtail Internet activities.

A Microsoft spokesperson has said simply that this new FBI proposal is "an area of ongoing interest to us" but did not elaborate. Facebook, Yahoo, and Google would not comment.

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