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Joint Letter to Congress on Implementation of the Communications
Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

American Civil Liberties Union
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center

February 12, 1998

We are writing to you regarding the proceeding now before the Federal Communications Commission concerning the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), a law passed by Congress in 1994 that allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation to participate in the process of setting technical standards for the development of the nation's telecommunications systems. As civil liberties, consumer, and professional organizations working to protect privacy and Constitutional freedoms, we have expressed our opposition to the funding and implementation of the CALEA.

In the enclosed filing we have asked the FCC to report to Congress on the serious technical, legal, and policy obstacles to further support for this program. As we state in our comments:

For these reasons, we urge you to cut off any further funds for this effort, indefinitely postpone implementation, and for the Congress to engage in a complete review of the statute.

It is our belief that the CALEA has created an unworkable, impractical, and potentially unconstitutional surveillance scheme that threatens the privacy of citizens and the security of our nation's telecommunications infrastructure.


Laura W. Murphy, Director
Gregory T. Nojeim, Legislative Counsel
American Civil Liberties Union
Washington National Office
122 Maryland Ave., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 544-1681

On behalf of the following individuals and organizations:

Andrew Oram
Computer Professionals for Responsibility
P.O. Box 717
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(415) 322-3778

Marc Rotenberg Director
Electronic Privacy Information Center
666 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E., Suite 301
Washington, D.C. 20003
(202) 544-9240

Barry Steinhardt, President
Electronic Frontier Foundation
1550 Bryant Street, Suite 725
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 436-9333