The US, UK and Australian governments have all introduced legislation that effectively co-opts Internet Providers/Carriers to become legal surveillance arms for secret services. Why are governments pushing forward to use private companies to perform activities that were previously restricted to secret services such as the NSA, GCHQ and DSD ?
- low cost surveillance is good surveillance
- no additional taxes is good politics
- arms length or “its not the government” is even better politics
- They are doing it too.
The cheapest forms of law enforcement happens when a government can deputize private companies to act as part of the civil law enforcement process. The Patriot Act requires US companies to deliver any data in their possession on receipt of an order from a judge. Thus, Amazon & Microsoft are required to deliver data held in Ireland to the US Court without respect or even consideration of European Law.
That is cheap data collection that doesn’t require funding or a department to operate it
The current laws & legislation are focussed on gathering evidence from social media activity or metadata from the network traffic means that private companies will pay the costs associated administration, collection and storage. In principle, Voters/consumers will pay the price for law enforcement through higher prices on services instead of paying extra taxes.
Taxes are unpopular in the first world. Avoiding taxes means votes are not lost (but not a vote winner).
China does it
At the level of “nation-state adversary” politics, the broad assumption is that Chinese government has co-opted Chinese commercial companies as some part of the government. Communist party membership is almost mandatory for company executives and often required to receive approvals to operate or receive funding. However its done, co-opting your local corporations has been done for centuries (look at British Imperialism).
’Me Too’ or ‘Tit for Tat’ is a widespread practice of international relations. It is also good politics.
Internet Surveillance Is Cheap and its Cheap Politics
I’m avoiding the moral and societal impacts here to highlight why governments continue to push for Internet surveillance. In principle, there are two reasons that governments keep pushing crypto backdoors – its cheap to implement and its easy politics.
What society should have (privacy) doesn’t seem to weigh heavily against the short term solution.