Today is the official deadline for compliance with the FCC's new interpretation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act(CALEA).
Cable modem companies, DSL providers, broadband over powerline, satellite internet companies and even some universities all have until the end of today to ensure "...the ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct electronic surveillance by requiring that telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment modify and design their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure that they have the necessary surveillance capabilities."
The Justice Department began lobbying the FCC in 2002 to reinterpret the law as applying to the internet as well and last June a divided federal appeals court upheld the expansion 2-1.
Basically, this means that starting today the FBI will have the ability to wiretap your internet connection, and means that "Common carriers, facilities-based broadband Internet access providers, and providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service..." must all now have incorporated into their networks the ability for law enforcement agencies to snoop on those for which they have a court ordered warrant.
It's been pointed out however, that even though it may not necessarily be easier to get a warrant and eavesdrop on somebody, the temptation to do so and avoid real gumshoe detective work will be high. Instead of having to really investigate what a person is up to, they may choose to just try and take a look at what they're doing instead.
Also, what will eventually happen I think is that the RIAA and the MPAA will try to petition courts to snoop on suspected file-sharers and gather intelligence and incriminating information with which to build a case against them.
I mean look how they were able to get so many congressman on board with the whole crackdown on colleges and universities, invoking phrases like "file-trafficking" and warning against job layoffs and unemployment due to losses from piracy. I mean if a law is being broken who's to say which ones they will or will not enforce? I think its only a matter of time.
No longer will ISPs be able to claim that it just doesn't have the means to assist copyright holders in determining who has been uploading content illegally, for now they will be able to monitor an IP address and all the traffic that it's responsible for on the network.
It also means that the govt will now have the ability to monitor for other illegal activity, like buying prescription drugs from Canada, browsing and purchasing drug paraphanalia like bongs, pipes, etc., or perhaps even forums or chatrooms of leftist or other radical organizations.
After today the internet will forever be under the watchful eye of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and you can rest assured that corporations and other private entities will do in everything in their power to use this resource for their own ends.