Lighting the dark: Must you make your application wiretap-able?

Law enforcement has a problem, and you may be part of it.

If your company makes an Internet application that enables its users to communicate with each other and you do not have a way to hand over those communications in real time to law enforcement, then you are part of the problem. If one grants that there is a problem, as I do, the question becomes: "Is the solution worse than the problem?"

The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary recently held a hearing on the general problems faced by law enforcement in today's Internet. They called the hearing


During the hearing, FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni clearly , noting that not all telecommunications providers were able to quickly meet their obligations under the . But she focused most of her testimony on the problem that law enforcement has in getting real-time communication among users of modern Internet .

Developers of these applications rarely consider that law enforcement might be interested in communications among their users. Some of those that do may decide that such interest would violate their users' privacy even if those users might be using the communication channel for evil purposes. , president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.