Oppose The FBI’s Secret New Internet Surveillance Law

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Tell the White House you oppose the new version of CALEA would force companies to provide a secret backdoor to your digital communications.

September 28, 2020
Please oppose the FBI-backed CALEA expansion

Dear President Obama,

I’m writing today to urge you to uphold the privacy of Internet users by rejecting the FBI-promoted new version of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The new proposal aims to ensure that the FBI can listen in on conversations online, regardless of the technology used, by mandating engineers build dangerous "backdoors" into communications systems and software.

I urge you to oppose this attempt to push an unnecessary expansion of CALEA, which would:

  1. Undermine the privacy of millions of Americans who rely on secure digital communications;
  2. Have dire ramifications for online security by creating “backdoors” to technology that can then be exploited by malicious hackers;
  3. Run contrary to America’s long-standing position in support of innovation and against mandates that require built-in government surveillance.

Furthermore, the FBI’s proposed changes to the law are unnecessary. According to its own statistics and its most recent reports, from 2006-2010, the government’s wiretaps have never been thwarted by encryption.

Please oppose the FBI-backed CALEA expansion.

Thank you,

Signed
Your Name

According to the New York Times, the Obama administration is “on the verge of backing” a sweeping new Internet surveillance bill — an expansion of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). This bill would effectively force companies like Google and Facebook to install government-friendly backdoors so they can have direct access to a user's communications.

This bill is disastrous for both user privacy and Internet security. The government doesn’t need it, it places a vice on anonymous free speech, and it restricts innovation. Let’s tell the White House to oppose this plan before it gets to Congress.

The US government has claimed that cyberattacks are the number one threat to this country, yet the proposal unequivocally makes the Internet less secure by creating a centralized vulnerability in every popular messaging system. These vulnerabilities could be exploited to steal sensitive information, like passwords and banking data. Academics have called it a “ticking time bomb” for security.

The government already has unprecedented access to communications. They don’t need this. Electronic surveillance is at an all time high by every possible measure. The government is far from "going dark," or losing its ability to spy on users. According to its own statistics and its most recent reports, from 2006-2010, the government’s wiretaps were ultimately thwarted by encryption zero times. In fact, former White House Chief Counselor for Privacy Peter Swire said, "today [is] a golden age for surveillance."

This bill sends the wrong message to other countries. The US State Department has engaged in an Internet freedom initiative for years trying to get companies to help protect users against spying by repressive governments. We’ve criticized countries like Saudi Arabia for wanting to install similar backdoors on the Blackberry network. This FBI-promoted surveillance bill would contradict our message of Internet freedom and innovation.

Tell the White House to oppose this dangerous Internet surveillance bill.

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