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A very interesting (but long!) read indeed. Aside from the contentions over transparency and abuse, any relevant points the author was trying to make were nullified for me by the following statements:
The chief impulse behind this law enforcement gizmo fetish is laziness, and it's a bad trend: The more policemen we have fiddling with computer equipment, the fewer we have doing proper legwork.
This demonstrates a basic ignorance of investigative procedures. You can often make more progress in an investigation by stretching ones and zeros than your legs. Obviously, there's a time for knocking on doors and a time for sitting behind a computer. Good investigators know when to do both. The author's argument seems to suggest "work harder not smarter".
The project of "lawful interception" is huge, grotesquely expensive, controversial, infused with unnecessary secrecy and often useless against the most important suspects it purports to target.
I really hope the author doesn't think that this is the only stuff that is on the market for "lawful interception". The people who make the serious stuff don't sell their wares at trade shows and the people who use it don't go there to buy them.
Well, as I think about it, if it were any other gadget trade show, Wired would be fawning all over everything and everyone proclaiming how awesome it all was. Ok, they might throw in a negative comment on Microsoft or Sony just to establish their "street-cred".
But because it it's all about surveillance, it's <dana carey doing George Bush> bad! bad! </lol>.
I also think they sent someone that did not do their research, which is unfortunate. First rule of journalism is: do your research. It's pretty clear he did not.