FBI wants real time Gmail spying powers, according to new reports out this week.
The FBI is saying that legislation passed decades ago dictating many of its current powers in dealing with internet-based communication are not sufficient for the current technological world.
The bureau has admitted that it is having difficulty cracking down on some crimes, and believes that if it were granted wider powers to spy on people's emails in real time then they could operate much more effectively at clamping down on an array of serious crimes.
However, the FBI's proposals for wider powers have been criticized by some as a complete breach of privacy of individuals.
At the moment the FBI can look to obtain subpoenas and warrants to get access to legacy copies of emails. However, they are not allowed to listen in on conversations on systems such as Skype or GChat.
Rob D'Ovidio, associate professor of criminal justice at Drexel University has commented on the FBI's proposals saying, "The FBI is looking to address the 'going dark' problem."
The "going dark problem" spoken about by D'Ovidio, refers to the problem of criminals using new technologies not covered by old landline era legislation and rules. For example email systems such as Gmail, cloud services for files such as Dropbox, as well as online chat systems, are often used by criminal organizations and are out of the reach of the FBI in real time.
D'Ovidio has said, "We know that criminal organizations are using them. Whether they're street gangs, child pornographers, or terrorist members — they're using simple video game embedded communication tools. So the FBI is just saying we need a level playing field," according to CBS News.
To gain a so-called "level player field" the FBI wants to be given permission to listen in and watch text chats live. However, the debate rages on about whether offering such powers to the bureau would create a Big Brother type state.
Here is a video about other new proposals in America for the government to spy on financial dealings and other private individual information to combat crime: