The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has created a Domestic Communications Assistance Center (DCAC), with the aim of developing new electronic surveillance technologies that will enable the police to eavesdrop on Internet, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), and wireless communications.
photo by thomasrecke
The FBI has kept mum about the new unit, but CNET has come up with some information about the center’s operations through interviews and by reviewing internal government documents.
DCAC’s authority covers creating customized wiretapping devices, intercepting VoIP conversations, analyzing data turned over by a service provider or social network when faced with a court order, as well as providing a means for state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies to share technology and know-how.
Last month, the Senate allocated $54 million to support DCAC and to increase the law enforcement agencies’ electronic surveillance capabilities. The FBI also wants Internet companies to not be in the way of a proposed law that will demand social networks and VoIP, instant messaging, and e-mail providers to provide backdoors for government monitoring.
The FBI has disclosed little information about the DCAC but will eventually have to be more transparent about it. On May 2, it was directed by a House of Representatives committee to disclose the center’s accomplishments and participation by other agencies three months after the legislation’s enactment.