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?