Specifically, the proposal is that companies have to build a “wiretapping” apparatus for law enforcement:
Instead of setting rules that dictate how the wiretap capability must be built, the proposal would let companies develop the solutions as long as those solutions yielded the needed data. That flexibility was seen as inevitable by those crafting the proposal, given the range of technology companies that might receive wiretap orders. Smaller companies would be exempt from the fines.
Currently, showing the FBI communications like chat in real time is difficult at best, so Google and Facebook have just been ignoring the wiretap requests or providing chat logs or other records as soon as possible. Both have also been pretty picky about demanding warrants, something that really chaps the FBI’s ass because terrorism you guys. Also not helping is the fact that companies like Facebook have been using end-to-end encryption to deal with hacking problems, which means the FBI can’t read your Gmail by bugging your ISP.
The services themselves are hardly excited to be involved in criminal activity, but on the other hand, they also aren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of deliberately introducing a back door that any competent hacker can probably walk right through.
It’s an open question whether this proposal will go anywhere. It would cost a lot of money, cause a lot of security problems, and it’s not clear what the Obama administration thinks of the idea. Although we do have to admit, if you’re dumb enough to talk about selling weed on Facebook in the first place, you probably deserve what’s coming.