New Rules On Internet Wiretappintg Challenged
Privacy, high-tech, and telecommunications groups argued against new FCC wiretapping regulations in federal court yesterday, claiming the rules would force broadband ISPs to pay for redesigning their networks in order to make it easier for law enforcement to monitor Internet-based phone calls and emails, in accordance with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994.
The groups also said civil liberties and Internet innovation could suffer because of the pressures the new rules would put on developers.
“It’s simply a very bad idea for privacy and for free speech for the government to design any technology, much less the Internet, to be surveillance-friendly,” stated Electronic Frontier Foundation counsel Lee Tien.
John Morris with the Center for Democracy and Technology said the Internet’s continued evolution depends on scores of innovators developing new concepts, a practice that new CALEA rules threatens to stifle. He added that his group does not oppose court-ordered wiretapping per se, but is against its application through the 1994 law, which is unsuitable for the Internet era.
Morris suggested the matter should be put before Congress, which “can tailor the obligations to the Internet context as opposed to importing the very clumsy [telephone system] obligations and imposing them on the Internet.”
The American Council on Education made a separate request for the federal court to review the rules, which senior vice president Terry Hartle warned could add up to billions in upgrade costs for colleges and universities.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Washington Post (10/26/05) P. D1; Mohammed, Arshad .