Equal Wiretap Access to Phone Calls via Internet wanted by F.C.C. (Full Version)

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SiliconFreak -> Equal Wiretap Access to Phone Calls via Internet wanted by F.C.C. (8/4/2004 5:43:36 PM)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Internet phone calls should be subject to the same type of law enforcement surveillance as cell and landline phones, federal regulators said Wednesday.

The Federal Communications Commission voted for proposed rules that would require Internet service providers to ensure their equipment will allow police wiretaps.

Lawyers for the Justice Department, FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration asked the FCC in March to affirm that Internet calls -- or Voice Over Internet Protocol -- fall under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

The 1994 law requires the telecommunications industry to build into its products tools that federal investigators can use to eavesdrop on conversations after getting court approval.

"Our support for law enforcement is unwavering," FCC chairman Michael Powell said. "It is our goal in this proceeding to ensure that law enforcement agencies have all of the electronic surveillance capabilities that CALEA authorizes to combat crime and terrorism and support homeland security."

Voice Over Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP, converts phone calls to data packets and sends them across high-speed Internet connections.

The FCC will solicit comments from industry and the public as it crafts final rules.


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