C.A.L.E.A powers expanded to Internet
Posted 06 August 2005 - 11:06 AM
Tech Mandates Force Companies to Build Backdoors into Broadband, VoIP
Washington, DC - Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a release announcing its new rule expanding the reach of the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The ruling is a reinterpretation of the scope of CALEA and will force Internet broadband providers and certain voice-over-IP (VoIP) providers to build backdoors into their networks that make it easier for law enforcement to wiretap them. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has argued against this expansion of CALEA in several rounds of comments to the FCC on its proposed rule.
CALEA, a law passed in the early 1990s, mandated that all telephone providers build tappability into their networks, but expressly ruled out information services like broadband. Under the new ruling from the FCC, this tappability now extends to Internet broadband providers as well.
Practically, what this means is that the government will be asking broadband providers - as well as companies that manufacture devices used for broadband communications – to build insecure backdoors into their networks, imperiling the privacy and security of citizens on the Internet. It also hobbles technical innovation by forcing companies involved in broadband to redesign their products to meet government requirements.
"Expanding CALEA to the Internet is contrary to the statute and is a fundamentally flawed public policy," said Kurt Opsahl, EFF staff attorney. "This misguided tech mandate endangers the privacy of innocent people, stifles innovation and risks the functionality of the Internet as a forum for free and open expression."
At the same time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is asking airlines to build similar backdoors into the phone and data networks on airplanes. EFF and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) submitted joint comments to the FCC arguing against the DOJ's unprecedented and sweeping new technology design mandates and anticipatory wiretapping system.
The FCC's new proposal to expand CALEA to airline broadband illustrates the fallacy of law enforcement's rationale for its CALEA request. The DOJ takes the position that broadband has "substantially replaced" the local telephone exchange, but this claim is reduced to the point of absurdity aboard an airplane and opens the door for CALEA to cover just about anything.
Posted 29 September 2005 - 11:31 PM
"EFF and Others to Challenge Privacy-Invasive Rule
Washington, DC - The Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) has issued a "First Report and Order" confirming
its expansion of the Communications Assistance to Law
Enforcement Act (CALEA) to the Internet. EFF is
planning to challenge the rule in court.
The new rule forces Internet broadband providers and
"interconnected" Voice-over-IP (VoIP) providers to
build backdoors into their networks to make it easier
for law enforcement to listen in on private
"A tech mandate requiring backdoors in the Internet
endangers the privacy of innocent people, stifles
innovation, and risks the Internet as a forum for
free and open expression," said Kurt Opsahl, EFF staff
CALEA, which was passed in the early 1990s, forced
telephone companies to make their networks
wiretap-ready, but due to pressure from EFF and other
privacy groups, explicitly exempted "information
services" like broadband. Yet the new FCC order
now requires "facilities-based" providers of any type
of broadband Internet access service, as well as
interconnected VoIP services, to make their
networks easy to wiretap - a blatant contradiction
of Congress's intent.
FCC officials themselves tacitly admit that the
Commission has overreached. FCC Commissioner Michael
J. Copps said that "[the] statute is undeniably
stretched," and FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy
issued a plea that Congress revisit its decision
to exempt the Internet, stating that "application
of CALEA to these new services could be stymied for
years" by litigation.
"By mandating backdoors in any service that has the
capability to replace functions provided by a
telephone, the FCC has stretched the statute to
the breaking point," said Lee Tien, EFF senior
For the original version of this release online:
More about CALEA:
In this case, one can only hope that the lawsuits will be brought - and won. Pete
Posted 30 September 2005 - 03:26 PM
Posted 01 October 2005 - 11:43 AM
Feds Unable to Search Own Anti-Terrorism Database
Read 'em and weep - these are the idiots that you're expecting to "protect" you? Pete
Posted 25 October 2005 - 07:28 AM
"US online surveillance
p2p news / p2pnet: The US government is using an old FCC wiretap law to force hundreds of universities, online communications companies and cities to overhaul their Internet networks, "to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to monitor e-mail and other online communications, says the New York Times.
"The action, which the government says is intended to help catch terrorists and other criminals, has unleashed protests and the threat of lawsuits from universities, which argue that it will cost them at least $7 billion while doing little to apprehend lawbreakers," it says. "Because the government would have to win court orders before undertaking surveillance, the universities are not raising civil liberties issues.
The order was issued by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in August and first published in the Federal Register last week, says the NYT. It extends the provisions of the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act which requires telephone carriers to engineer their switching systems at their own cost so that federal agents can obtain easy surveillance access.
Universities, libraries, airports providing wireless service and commercial ISPs, as well as to municipalities that provide Internet access to residents, are affected.
San Francisco is looking for free Wi-Fi with Google front and centre among companies wanting to provide it and one of the primary concerns is privacy.
"Justice Department officials, who declined to comment for this article, said in their written comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission that the new requirements were necessary to keep the 1994 law 'viable in the face of the monumental shift of the telecommunications industry' and to enable law enforcement to 'accomplish its mission in the face of rapidly advancing technology'," says the NYT, going on:
"The F.C.C. says it is considering whether to exempt educational institutions from some of the law's provisions, but it has not granted an extension for compliance.
"Lawyers for the American Council on Education, the nation's largest association of universities and colleges, are preparing to appeal the order before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Terry W. Hartle, a senior vice president of the council is quoted as saying.
Universities don't "question the government's right to use wiretaps to monitor terrorism or criminal suspects on college campuses," Hartle said, "only the order's rapid timetable for compliance and extraordinary cost".
Technology experts retained by the schools estimated that it could cost universities at least $7 billion just to buy the Internet switches and routers necessary for compliance. That figure does not include installation or the costs of hiring and training staff to oversee the sophisticated circuitry around the clock, as the law requires, the experts said.
"This is the mother of all unfunded mandates," Mr. Hartle said.
The story continues that if obtain a court order to monitor the Internet communications of someone at a university, the current approach is for law enforcement officials, "to work quietly with campus officials to single out specific sites and install the equipment needed to carry out the surveillance." But the federal law would apply a high-tech approach, "enabling law enforcement to monitor communications at campuses from remote locations at the turn of a switch."
"We keep asking the F.B.I., What is the problem you're trying to solve?" - the New York Times has Center for Democracy and Technology executive director James X. Dempsey saying. "And they have never showed any problem with any university or any for-profit Internet access provider. The F.B.I. must demonstrate precisely why it wants to impose such an enormously disruptive and expensive burden." "
Can you see where this thing - if implemented - will send already-high college tuitions even higher, since the colleges themselves will have to pay for it?
There are ways to keep your population "dumbed-down" (and scrambling to make a living, with no time to become better educated, and thus less likely to become politically knowledgeable and active) - one of those ways is to make higher education even more un-affordable and out-of-reach than it already is.
There are also ways to control/limit access to the Internet - making it exorbitantly expensive by forcing ISP's to incur (and pass on to their customers) expenses caused by ever-more-restrictive government "regulations" . FI, it's only a short stretch to imagine the F.C.C similarly "mandating" that all ISP's be forced to maintain complete records (for an extraordinarily long time) of everyone's total Internet-use history (the specter of which has already been raised by the Justice Dept. ( http://news.com.com/..._3-5748649.html ).
Think about it. Pete
Posted 26 October 2005 - 07:17 AM
http://www.theorator...ment/house.html in case you want to contact yours, too, by phone, FAX, email or "contact form" ):
"Can you rein in the F.C.C?
The F.C.C's recent decision and regulations have expanded the reach of C.A.L.E.A into the Internet arena.
Aside from the fact that this was definitely determined previously not to be within the purview of C.A.L.E.A (explicitly exempting "information services" like broadband) and should have been an illegal regulation to start with, colleges and I.S.P's are now ready to start suing the
government because of the recent F.C.C regulation, which will - if allowed to take effect - cause both those and other organizations massively increased costs of operation to comply.
As your Constituent, I ask you to find out what you can do to repeal/rescind the latest F.C.C mandate - or even to penalize the F.C.C through budget cuts, which would hamper their ability to prosecute individuals or organizations that don't comply.
This is a "lose/lose" situation for all citizens - because the costs involved are going to be directly passed on to us (and you, for that matter) in the form of higher Internet provider costs and higher educational costs for those attempting college educations. Not to mention the fact that MY tax dollars are going to be wasted when the F.C.C has to start fighting the lawsuits.
Likewise, I am totally opposed to the Justice Dept.s attempted pressuring of I.S.P's to keep extensive records on everyone's Internet usage - for the same reason. (See this article for details: http://news.com.com/..._3-5748649.html ).
It is time for this privacy-and-freedom-destroying hysteria on the part of the government to stop - and I look forward to your help in getting it stopped. Thank you.
Feel free to use that one if you like - or write your own - if you're in disagreement with the new F.C.C "regulation" . Pete
Posted 26 October 2005 - 08:17 AM
Subject: Appying C.A.L.E.A to the Internet is ILLEGAL
" It is totally beyond me why you have bowed down to the F.B.I.'s demand for your recent "regulation".
In the first place, it's illegal - C.A.L.E.A was specifically worded to prevent this. Can you not read?
Secondly, by this action on your part, it will - if implemented - throw huge costs upon colleges and I.S.P.'s for compliance. You deserve to be sued for this - and you will be.
Thirdly, you seem to have no concern whatsoever for the fact that your latest regulation - if implemented - will both chill free speech and quash innovation on new software.
What the hell are you thinking over there?
In any case, I have written my Congressmen and Representatives, asking them to find a way to either rescind or repeal your latest "regulation" - or to find ways to cut your funding so that you can't enforce it. Should this not be sufficient, I will write every single member of both Judiciary Committees.
You need to stop being government toadies and start using your brain, because your latest "regulation" is an insult both to the American population and our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Posted 02 November 2005 - 11:57 PM
To: Michael Copps
Subject: Applying C.A.L.E.A to the Internet is ILLEGAL
Sent: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 09:03:41 -0500
was deleted without being read on Thu, 3 Nov 2005 00:20:40 -0500
To: Kathleen Abernathy
Subject: Applying C.A.L.E.A to the Internet is ILLEGAL
Sent: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 09:03:07 -0500
was deleted without being read on Thu, 3 Nov 2005 00:10:58 -0500
Posted 24 November 2005 - 11:38 AM
I won't quote all of it, but I can't pass up this paragraph:
"The FCC has distorted an already dubious law designed for telephone services in order to reach Internet providers and private networks," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "They have plainly overreached their authority in requiring internet providers to design systems that make surveillance of the public easier and we are confident that the courts will agree. But in the meantime the FCC deadline has not been moved and no one knows what CALEA compliance means on the Internet. The Commission refused to say, the FBI has been playing coy, and the rest of us just don't know. The result is a nonsensical deadline that forces companies to begin compliance without knowing what is required of them, or whether CALEA even applies to them, all happening in the shadow of a strong claim that the FCC does not even have authority to do this at all. The FCC needs to call a timeout until it knows what it wants, and seriously reconsider whether it has the authority to demand it."
Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:44 AM
CDT joined with a coalition of industry and public interest groups this week to urge the Federal Communications Commission to delay its controversial Internet wiretapping rules. In comments filed with the FCC, the groups requested that the commission push back the effective date of the rule requiring that that broadband Internet and interconnected voice-over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services be designed to make government wiretapping easier. CDT, which is also involved in a court challenge against the ruling, supports the delay because the FCC set a deadline for VoIP and broadband providers to modify their networks but failed to specify what modifications were required. January 31, 2006
FCC Reply Comments [PDF] January 31, 2006:
Posted 09 June 2006 - 11:27 PM
"Court Ruling Threatens Civil Liberties, Technology Innovation
A federal appeals court today ruled 2-1 that telephone regulators and the FBI can control the design of Internet services in order to make government wiretapping easier. The decision, which is damaging both to civil liberties and technology innovation, came in a case in which CDT joined with a coalition of universities, libraries, public interest groups and Internet companies to oppose an August 2005 ruling by the Federal Communications Commission. In that ruling, the FCC extended to the Internet the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), a law Congress intended to apply only to the telephone network. June 09, 2006
CALEA Ruling [PDF]: http://www.cdt.org/w...060609calea.pdf June 09, 2006
Posted 16 July 2006 - 10:49 AM
Read the rest of the article at the link above, but here's the meat of it:
"Breaking the legislation down
The 27-page proposed CALEA amendments seen by CNET News.com would:
• Require any manufacturer of "routing" and "addressing" hardware to offer upgrades or other "modifications" that are needed to support Internet wiretapping. Current law does require that of telephone switch manufacturers--but not makers of routers and network address translation hardware like Cisco Systems and 2Wire.
• Authorize the expansion of wiretapping requirements to "commercial" Internet services including instant messaging if the FCC deems it to be in the "public interest." That would likely sweep in services such as in-game chats offered by Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming system as well.
• Force Internet service providers to sift through their customers' communications to identify, for instance, only VoIP calls. (The language requires companies to adhere to "processing or filtering methods or procedures applied by a law enforcement agency.") That means police could simply ask broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast or Verizon for wiretap info--instead of having to figure out what VoIP service was being used.
• Eliminate the current legal requirement saying the Justice Department must publish a public "notice of the actual number of communications interceptions" every year. That notice currently also must disclose the "maximum capacity" required to accommodate all of the legally authorized taps that government agencies will "conduct and use simultaneously." "
This is the fifth tactic - "regulation". Bypasses both Legislative and Judicial Branches - unless someone brings suit and the suit is allowed to stand (given the Executive's penchant for claiming "national security", the prospects for successful suits become dimmer and dimmer).
The other four "tactics" - in case you were wondering - are:
(1) Give it a patriotic, flag-waving/tear-jerking name
(2) If that doesn't work, re-name it and try it again
(3) If that doesn't work, slip it in with some entirely un-related legislation on a bill that simply has to pass
(4) Say it's to protect women or the kids
If all that fails, simply go "black ops" with it, fund/develop/deploy it secretly and insist that no elected official (outside the Executive branch, of course) has a sufficient enough "security clearance" to examine, question or stop it.
Are you hearing the swelling sound of jackboots marching in lock-step yet?
You should be. Pete
Posted 16 July 2006 - 03:19 PM
seems to me the "point of no return" was crossed with the reauthorisation of the Patriot Act; its now a matter of blood being spilt