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The FBI fears an explosion of new Internet numeric addresses scheduled to begin next week with the IPv6 protocol transition may hinder its ability to conduct electronic investigations, an internal federal agency document released to ISSSource revealed today.

The historic switchover that will give the Internet a nearly inexhaustible supply of network addresses — up from the current supply of 4.3 billion — is on tap for next Wednesday.

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IPv6 is a next-generation IP protocol designed to replace IPv4, the Internet protocol most commonly used throughout the world and the foundation for most Internet communications. With the number of available IPv4 addresses quickly running out, transitioning to IPv6 will soon become a requirement for enterprise networks.

IPv6 enables significant expansion of the IP addresses needed to accommodate the continuously growing number of worldwide Internet users, and provides additional security features for Internet traffic.

Cyber Security

The internal document went on to say: “Side effects from the transition to Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6, ‘could have a profound effect on law enforcement,’ an FBI source said. That’s one reason the FBI recently formed a new unit, the Domestic Communications Assistance Center in Quantico, VA, which is responsible for devising ways to keep up with ‘emerging’ technologies. The FBI has been meeting quietly with Internet companies to figure out how its agents can maintain their ability to obtain customer records in investigations.”

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