Saturday, June 10, 2006

Internet Telephone Providers Must Allow Wiretapping Capability

A court has ruled that IP telephony providers must build-in features allowing the government to conduct surveillance upon the contents of the calls.

Companies that provide Web-based telecommunications services must allow wiretapping by law enforcement officials, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

The ruling upholds a Federal Communications Commission decision that companies such as Vonage Holdings Corp., the country's largest provider of Internet phone service, are under the same legal obligation as telephone companies. The requirement for a wiretap-compatible system could mean higher expenses for broadband service companies, and it marks the further spread of regulation into Internet phone services.

The FCC issued its ruling based on Justice Department concerns that new technology would not accommodate police wiretaps under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, known as CALEA...

The requirement for equipment compatible with government surveillance could "impose significant costs to anyone who wants to install a [commercial] broadband network," said Philip J. Weiser, a professor of law and telecommunications at the University of Colorado.

"Any provider of broadband networks now needs to make accounts wire-tappable," he said. "That's not the way they're engineered and it's certainly not the cheapest way."...

Further regulation of Web-based phone services probably will continue as well. Legislation already has passed forcing Internet phone providers to connect emergency calls to local 911 dispatchers, which has been challenged by several providers. The FCC also may require Internet phone companies to pay into a fund for universal telephone service.

2 Comments:

Blogger Meatball One said...

Sometimes ya take the juice right ouuta my meatball

6/10/2006 5:15 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

Nice.

6/10/2006 5:25 PM  

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