Anyone with an e-mail account likely knows that police can peek inside it if they have a paper search warrant.
But cybercrime investigators are frustrated by the speed of traditional methods of faxing, mailing, or e-mailing companies these documents. They're pushing for the creation of a national Web interface linking police computers with those of Internet and e-mail providers so requests can be sent and received electronically.
CNET has reviewed a survey scheduled to be released at a federal task force meeting on Thursday, which says that law enforcement agencies are virtually unanimous in calling for such an interface to be created. Eighty-nine percent of police surveyed, it says, want to be able to "exchange legal process requests and responses to legal process" through an encrypted, police-only "nationwide computer network." (See one excerpt and another.)
See, if cops actually did anything --you know, like arresting 9-11 criminals who fly drones into buildings and deposit 7-series compressors onto Murray Street-- then I might be in the mood to sign off on their wishlists.
When I am done with that jurisdiction, I doubt they'll be able to pull a wiretap. They'll be swinging nightsticks and wearing bowlers and giving some street urchin a nickel to run a message back to the station.
Listen: The people in this country are in no mood for it. If you are a cop and you have a request for a new authority or some new fancy system, the answer is an automatic "no." Every last authority you gained over the past eight years is going away, and then some.
It's time to go back to basics, boys.