Deadline for ISPs to provide wiretap access for the feds

U.S. broadband and VOIP providers have to prove they have the ability to allow wiretaps on their systems - and the deadline is coming up quick, reports IDG News ServiceThe 2005 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) states that broadband ISPs and VOIP carriers that connect to public telephone networks must allow wiretap access.

U.S. broadband and VOIP providers have to prove they have the ability to allow wiretaps on their systems - and the deadline is coming up quick, reports IDG News Service

The 2005 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) states that broadband ISPs and VOIP carriers that connect to public telephone networks must allow wiretap access. ISPs and VOIP providers had a March 12 deadline to submit a plan to the FCC. Monday was the deadline to have a monitoring system in place or hire an outside contrator to make it possible.

CALEA pits privacy advocates against lawmakers who are concerned about secret communication by terrorists. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has brought several suits accusing the government of illegal wiretapping. EFF also sued the government over the extension of CALEA, arguing it overstepped the law, but lost in the Court of Appeals last year. The rule has hit some smaller VOIP companies hard, according to IDC VOIP analyst Will Stofega.

"The technical issues are for the most part solved, but getting people to comply and making sure everyone's up and running is tough," IDC VOIP analyst Will Stofega.

EFF attorny Lee Tien worries about the government getting to approve of infrastructure.

"If the Internet 15 years ago had been subject to CALEA, it probably wouldn't have gotten off the ground," Tien said.