• United States
Managing Editor

FCC reaffirms deadline for wiretapping compliance

May 04, 20062 mins

FCC reaffirms May 14, 2007 deadline for service providers to comply with CALEA electronic surveillance law.

The FCC this week adopted an order that reaffirms the May 14, 2007, deadline for facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP providers to comply with the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) for electronic surveillance.

The deadline was first established under the FCC’s First Report and Order, dated Sept. 23, 2005. This week’s order concludes that this deadline gives providers of these services sufficient time to develop compliance solutions, and notes that standards developments for these services are already underway.

Second, the order clarifies that this May 14, 2007 compliance date will apply to all facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP providers.

“Applying the same compliance date to all providers will eliminate any possible confusion about the applicability of the deadline, avoid any skewing effect on competition, and prevent migration of criminal activity onto networks with delayed compliance dates,” the commission states.

CALEA has come under fire from higher educational institutions that say compliance will cost them billions of dollars, jeopardize research and open their networks to further hacker attacks. By providing facilities to access the Internet, universities and libraries fear they fall under the umbrella of the CALEA compliance order.

This week’s order also permits telecommunications carriers the option of using “trusted third parties” to assist in meeting their CALEA obligations, and provides law enforcement agencies the electronic surveillance information they require in an acceptable format. It also concludes that carriers are responsible for CALEA development and implementation costs for post-Jan. 1, 1995, equipment and facilities, and declines to adopt a national surcharge to recover CALEA costs.

“The order finds that it would not serve the public interest to implement a national surcharge because such a mechanism would increase the administrative burden placed upon the carriers and provide little incentive for them to minimize their costs,” the FCC states.

The order also requires all carriers providing facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP service to submit interim reports to the commission to ensure that they will be CALEA-compliant by May 14, 2007.

Managing Editor

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He covers enterprise networking infrastructure, including routers and switches. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy and at

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