Pipeline Publishing, Volume 3, Issue 11
This Month's Issue:
The Long Arm of Telecommunications Law
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Staring Down the Compliance Conundrum

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In most of the democratic countries throughout the world these two surveillance capabilities, one designed for domestic law enforcement and the other for gathering foreign intelligence, were historically separated and administered by different courts. In the US, for example, surveillance for domestic law enforcement is overseen by state or federal courts responsible for criminal prosecution whereas surveillance for gathering

Over 85% of all intercepts executed worldwide are for communications over a mobile or portable device.


approach (RFC 2804 – IETF Policy on Wiretapping). The Netherlands came up with a standard for IP interception and championed a framework for electronic surveillance when it held the EU presidency in 2004. Italy leads the world in intercepts per capita, shortly ahead of the Netherlands, and

foreign intelligence, or “counterintelligence,” is handled by a special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court called FISC.

During the initial growth period of the Internet, with e-mail and World Wide Web (WWW) usage rising dramatically, specialized Internet Protocol (IP) surveillance solutions were developed to support evidence gathering for prosecuting early forms of electronic or “cyber” crimes. During the 1990s, child pornography, exploitation, and fraud represented typical cases that occasionally required use of “packet sniffers” for the collection of evidence only available from IP networks.

The passing of (CALEA) in October 1994 and similar laws enacted in Europe catalyzed the market for third party lawful intercept and surveillance solutions. Amendments to existing laws to support packet-mode communications increased the size of the solutions market with the first “converged” LI solutions becoming commercially available by 2002.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, additional legislation was enacted in many Western countries, and these emerging mandates have largely driven the current evolution of the market.

In general, surveillance mandates across Europe are more rigorous than those currently enacted in the US with a bias towards a standards-based, best practices

corruption inquiries are perceived as the primary driver for this high degree of activity.

What’s on the horizon?

Work continues within CALEA and elsewhere as operators are increasingly being asked to improve their environments to enable rapid responses to government requests for voice and data, even in the face of other regulatory pressures.

In the U.S., the latest figures available from the Department of Justice show that 1.2m requests to tap telephones and email addresses were made in 2005, and while most involved requests for historic telephone call record data, there were 48,000 requests for real-time call data and 2,600 intercepts of communications. These figures exclude additional activity in the U.S. from the controversial warrant-less requests and the work of the National Security Agency.

Data reported by various government agencies requesting lawfully authorized intercepts illustrates an important underlying trend: over 85% of all intercepts executed worldwide are for communications over a mobile or portable device. Thus roving surveillance is of utmost importance, and as operator networks for converged service providers grow in complexity with the deployment of next-generation infrastructure,


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