With government agencies, one often has to try to guess what they are hiding. A close look at a FCC policy document released at 9 p.m. on a Friday may shock you.

Controlling Software

The Federal Communications Commission has issued a policy paper that sets free speech back a few thousand years. Yep, the FCC is taking the position that computer software companies must first get approval from the FBI before they will be allowed to put software products on the market. Think about that for a minute and cringe.

The ostensible reason for Big Brotherís power grab is, once again, the pursuit of terrorist and bad, bad people. You see, Brother wants to make every software company put a backdoor in their systems that lets Big Brother access your computer on the sly to keep an eye on you. No doubt, many evil people use Adobe and Microsoft products!

Big Brother Out of Control?

Obviously, everyone is interested in catching terrorists and bad guys. The idea of giving the FBI carte blanche power over the software industry, however, goes way beyond such concerns. Let us consider a practical example.

What if construction companies had to seek approval from the FBI before building homes? The ostensible reason would be to make sure the FBI could place cameras and wire taps in every home to monitor and stop terrorist activities. Surely, nobody could disagree with such a noteworthy goal. On the other hand, how would you feel about having cameras in each room of your home?

For a counter argument, government apologists claim that the FBI would watch the computer activity of only a small number of people because the FBI doesnít have the manpower to do anything else. This argument is so much nonsense. ìWatchingî computer activity doesnít require manpower. It is a technical function carried out by a software program. The FBI already has such programs, including the controversial green lantern program. If it didnít, why would it want this power?

FBI monitoring programs run automatically. They continually accumulate data, which can be accessed when needed. This data collection can be used in thousands of different ways by hundreds of different agencies. For instance, what if the IRS audits you? What is to stop it from accessing your computer data and looking at all of the sessions you performed online banking? Nothing. The IRS and FBI work hand-in-hand on numerous prosecutions.

The United States is supposed to be the land of the free. Just dont assume as much when using your computer.:spidey: