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Internet Wiretap

All this week, I have been seeing stuff about an FBI wiretap. I even saw something about it on your message board, but I’m still not sure what the whole deal is with it. Can you explain it a little more for us? Thanks!

You know, I’ve been seeing stuff about that all week too and I just haven’t had the time to really check it out. But since you asked so nicely, I knew it was time for me to sit down and research this. There have been a few posts on our message board about this from some of our loyal members and their information has really been helpful as well. So, thanks to all of you! Now, on to what I found out!

Monday, May 14, 2007 was designated “Wiretap the Internet Day” all over the place. As of that date, all cable modem companies, DSL providers, broadband over powerline, satellite Internet companies and a few universities are now wired with all the new FBI-friendly surveillance equipment. May 14, 2007 was the official deadline for when this project had to be done for all the parties listed above.

This requirement was put in place to comply with the FCC’s expanded version of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). This Act was first developed in 1994 to help the FBI with the new digital telecom technology. It basically required phone companies to make their phone networks easier to wiretap. It has helped tremendously in shortening the time it takes to start up a wiretap. For instance, the police can now start listening to a wiretap in less than one day’s time. That’s amazing!

Now, the CALEA is requiring that this go into effect with the Internet as well. The debates on that started way back in 2002 and although the court votes varied, it was still put into action. It did take five years to get it going, but at least it finally is.

All the computer companies listed above had to submit an FCC form saying that they were on schedule with the update or explaining why they weren’t. Again, the deadline for that was this past Monday. Now, if you’re just an average computer user, you don’t really have to worry about this, but if you’re an Internet provider, etc., you do have to comply with these regulations. (If that’s the case and you’re behind in getting your form submitted, you can find a lot more information online about what you can do now that the deadline has passed).

I know you may be wondering why this new surveillance is so important and the best answer I can give you is that it will make investigations go along much faster and easier when dealing with computers, etc. It will help the FBI rule out some of the “old fashioned” police work as well.

Like I said, this new development doesn’t really affect you unless you’re an Internet provider, etc. I just wanted to give you the information at hand, so you know you’re in the loop. You ask, I answer!

~ Erin