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Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

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The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA, P.L. 103-414, 47 U.SC. 1001-1010)) was enacted on October 25, 1994 and was intended to ensure that law enforcement could conduct electronic surveillance by requiring that telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment modify and design their equipment, facilities and services to enable necessary surveillance capabilities. Examples of telecommunication carriers required to comply with this legislation include common carriers, facilites-based broadband Internet access providers, and providers of interconnected Voice over Interent Protocol (VoIP).

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CALEA Compliance

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement (CALEA, P.L. 103-414, 47 U.S.C. 1001-1010) was enacted on October 25, 1994. This Act preserves the ability of law enforcement officials to conduct electronic surveillance by effectively requiring the cooperation of companies providing traditional telecommunication service and companies utilizing new digital technologies.[1] The telecommunications industry is responsible for setting CALEA standards and solutions. The Federal Communications Commission does not participate in the compliance standards formation process. Companies in this industry must review the Commission's regulations and analyze how this applies within their network architecture.[2]

Generally, three methods of compliance exist: (1) the carrier may develop an specified compliance framework for its network; (2) the carrier may purchase a compliance solution from vendors, including the manufacturers of the equipment it is using to provide service; or (3) the carrier may purchase a compliance solution from a trusted third party.

Effects of CALEA on the Internet

Competing legal arguments are made regarding CALEA's impact on the internet. The Commission's expansion of the CALEA in 2005 raised concerns regarding privacy. On August 5, 2005, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which resulted in the inclusion of Internet broadband providers and certain VoIP providers under CALEA.

References

  1. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/RL30677.pdf
  2. http://www.fcc.gov/calea/

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