Cisco is building new technologies into its routers that'll make it easier for the government to conduct surveillance on Internet transmissions undetected.
Cisco Systems has created a more efficient and targeted way for police and intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on people whose Internet service provider uses their company's routers.
The company recently published a proposal that describes how it plans to embed "lawful interception" capability into its products. Among the highlights: Eavesdropping "must be undetectable," and multiple police agencies conducting simultaneous wiretaps must not learn of one another. If an Internet provider uses encryption to preserve its customers' privacy and has access to the encryption keys, it must turn over the intercepted communications to police in a descrambled form.
A spokesperson said the design of so-called "lawful interception" technology was conducted at the customer's request--the customet being the US government. The engineer said he had "moral and ethical issues" with the request but claimed it was Congress' responsibility to put a leash on overzealous law enforcement (which is true enough, however likely such an outcome may be). Still, some privacy experts feat that the borderless nature of the Internet will allow eavesdropping by nations with less stringent privacy protections.