According to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), today is the deadline by which network operators -- everyone who provides Internet service to businesses and consumers -- have to install "back doors" making it easier for the FBI to spy on American citizens. This is yet another nail in the coffin of American civil liberties, and a very dangerous check on free expression, not to mention the security and commercial viability of the Internet. As Wired succinctly explains:
Making surveillance easier and faster gives law enforcement agencies of all stripes more reason to eschew old-fashioned police work in favor of spying. The telephone CALEA compliance deadline was in 2002, and since then the amount of court-ordered surveillance has nearly doubled from 2,586 applications granted that year, to 4,015 orders in 2006.
Of course, we still have the right to encrypt our communications. We suggest using tools such as the TorPark browsing anonymizer (a small but effective add-on for the Mozilla Firefox browser), and GnuPG, a free and easy-to-use encryption tool that works on documents, emails, IMs, or just about anything.