The United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union has taken the unprecedented step of adopting a standard for the Internet that would essentially permit eavesdropping on a global basis.

According to a just-published piece on the web site, ITU members decided to adopt a standard, known as Y.2770, which would permit the inspection of Internet traffic. This inspection of emails and message content would be the physical world equivalent of opening any piece of mail and reading what is inside. The only defense against this is encryption.

While the decision is expected to be widely opposed, both as a stunning power grab and a disturbing intervention into privately-owned network, it carries the additional risk of unleashing a massive backlash by hackers.

Read the full story here.