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Date: 1999-09-01

US: Handys werden Ortungsgeraete fuer FBI

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GSM Provider müßen ihre Netzwerke so modifizieren, dass
aus Handys Ortungsgeräte werden, dazu will das FBI noch
permanenten Zugang in die Netze - CALEA [US] grüßt
ENFOPOL [EU] . Die Civil Libertarians laufen Sturm gegen
die Bewilligung der Federal Communications Commission.

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On Friday, August 27, the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) ordered the nation's telephone companies
to modify their switching equipment to provide more
information to government agencies conducting electronic
surveillance. The Commission largely rejected privacy
concerns and aligned with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, which had sought the enhanced monitoring
capabilities under the 1994 Communications Assistance for
Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

The decision was the latest step in a long-running struggle
over the surveillance potential of communications technology.
CALEA was enacted in 1994 after the FBI complained to
Congress that new digital technology and other advanced
services would soon make it impossible to carry out wiretaps
and other electronic surveillance. The FBI originally sought
direct control over phone system design. Congress refused
to grant the Bureau that kind of power, but adopted CALEA
with the intent of balancing law enforcement, privacy and
industry interests. Congress made it clear that CALEA was
intended to preserve but not enhance government monitoring
capabilities. The Act left design decisions to the telephone
industry, subject to FCC review.

However, soon after CALEA was enacted, the FBI began
insisting on very specific surveillance features, including
some never before available to the government. After industry
worked with law enforcement agencies to draft technical
standards to put CALEA into effect, the FBI claimed the
industry plans did not go far enough and petitioned the FCC
to order additional, specific surveillance features. CDT
claimed that the industry plan failed to protect privacy and
opposed the FBI's add-ons.


The most immediately disturbing element of the FCC's ruling
was its requirement that cellular and other wireless phone
companies provide the capability to identify where their
customers are at the beginning and end of every call,
effectively turning wireless phones into tracking devices. In
1994, FBI Director Louis Freeh testified twice before
Congress that CALEA did not cover this kind of location
information. While many cellular systems already have
some ability to locate callers, CDT argued to the FCC that
this should not be a mandatory element of system design.
CDT was concerned that, as the technology evolves, the FBI
is likely to seek more and more precise location information.
The FCC ignored the legislative history and rejected CDT's

In addition, for both wireline and wireless systems, the FCC
ruled that six other specific surveillance features sought by
the FBI were required by CALEA. One of the six requires
carriers to ensure that the government will be able to
continue listening to those on a conference call after the
criminal suspect has dropped off the call. Another add-on
guarantees the government access to credit card numbers
and bank account data generated when a user punches
numbers on a telephone. Other add-ons ensure government
access to the detailed signaling information generated in
connection with calls, information that law enforcement would
obtain under a legal standard lower than the one required to
conduct a wiretap. CDT and the telephone industry had
argued that none of these items was required by CALEA.

Carriers are currently required to comply with most aspects
of CALEA, including the location mandate, by June 30, 2000.
The other features required by the FCC last week must be
available to the government by September 30, 2001.



One CALEA issue of immense importance has received little
press attention: how to conduct electronic surveillance in
packet environments. Packet technology, until recently used
mainly on the Internet, breaks communication into many
small packets, each consisting of some addressing
information and some content. For efficiency's sake, the
packets may be transported by various routes, and are
reassembled at their intended destination to create a
coherent communication. Packet technology is becoming
increasingly important for voice communications, posing the
risk that the government will obtain access to the content
portion of packets when it has only sati
sfied the lower legal standard for intercepting the call routing or addressing information.

CDT argued that CALEA imposes on carriers an affirmative
obligation to design their equipment, to the extent technically
reasonable, to withhold content from the government when
the government has not met the legal standard to intercept it.
Industry responded that carriers should be allowed to
disclose everything to law enforcement, including content,
and rely on the government not to read (or listen to) what it is
has no authority to intercept.

The FCC declined to require carriers to protect the privacy of
packet communications that the government is not
authorized to intercept. Instead, the FCC requested the
industry to report on what steps can be taken to protect the
privacy of packet communications. Last Fall, the
Commission asked the same question and industry said that
protecting privacy was too hard. This leaves it to CDT to
prove to the industry that the technology can be designed to
protect privacy.


relayed by Ari Schwartz
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