Forget legislation, we have the FCC

In October 1994, President Clinton signed the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) into law forcing telephone companies to re-design their networks to better accomodate the government’s ability to spy on you. This legislation did not apply to the internet.

If you wanted this legislation to extend to data communications, what would you do? Lobby congress to change the law, perhaps? Not if you are the FBI, DEA and DOJ. Why bother with a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo when all you have to do is petition the FCC to take care of it?

The petition requested that CALEA’s reach be expanded to cover communications that travel over the Internet. Thus, Broadband providers would be required to rebuild their networks to make it easier for law enforcement to tap Internet “phone calls” that use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications such as Vonage, as well as online “conversations” using various kinds of instant messaging (IM) programs like AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).

Who do you think is going to end up picking up the tab for the $7 billion in changes?

5 Comments
  1. That’s $7 billion just for a few colleges and universities that actually complained. Not to mention the FCC simply doesn’t have the authority to make this ruling.

  2. Oh, we know who’s gonna be paying the cost. We’ll be paying to help Big Brother spy on us. It’s another one of those unfunded mandates that conservatives used to be against.

  3. Big Brother is watching, uh, listening to you. Also reading what you write, even reading your email. What to do? Gotta do something. Maybe the coming revolution will reestablish our right to privacy, speech and press. Oh, don’t forget the right to bear arms.

  4. Those are petty freedoms…. what about the right to “bare arms” huh huh wink wink….

    It’s insane that this will most likely become a reality because most people do not pay attention. I know the vast majority of people are swaying toward discontent with the current administration. This is all well and swell however it would be great to see a shake up in bothe major parties. Neither is looking out for the best interest of the citizens when they sign documents stating that viable third-party candidates can not participate in national citizen paid “public” debates.

    Welcome to the new and improved modern caste system…