Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Monday, August 8, 2005

FCC Requires Certain Broadband, VoIP Providers to Accommodate Wiretaps

In response to a request from the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) the FCC has decided to require certain ISPs to comply with wiretaps as provided for in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). After examining both CALEA and the Communications Act for the definition of "telecommunications carrier", the Commission determined that the definition given in CALEA was broad enough to cover service providers that are not otherwise covered under the Communications Act. See the press release here. Affected providers have 18 months to come into compliance. The Commission "also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will seek more information about whether certain classes or categories of facilities-based broadband Internet access providers--notably small and rural providers and providers of broadband networks for educational and research institutions--should be exempt from CALEA."

Read Chairman Martin's statement here. Read Commissioner Abernathy's statement here.

While the FCC was considering this interagency request, it was already being debated. Read comments by John Cimko here, and a 2004 story from the Washington Post. Challenges are likely to pop up now that the ruling is in place.

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