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Oppose the FBI National Wiretap Plan!

The FBI has released a dramatic "reinterpretation" of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (the "Digital Telephony" bill or "CALEA"). In a Federal Register notice which outlines "capacity requirements" for surveillance of the nation's communications infrastructure, the FBI is claiming that compliance with CALEA requires that telephone companies and other service providers in some regions of the country build in enough surveillance capacity so that *one percent* of all phone lines could be *simultaneously* wiretapped, calls isolated, and forwarded to the FBI. This would permit wiretapping at a level at least a thousand time greater than currently occurs in the United States. This level of surveillance is also far in excess of what Congress intended when it enacted the CALEA. The rule, if adopted, will lead to a radical change in the surveillance capabilities of the government.

The methodology used to determine capacity requirements is also deeply flawed. Wiretapping reports, as required by law, have always been based on actual taps authorized, actual conversations intercepted, and actual lines surveilled. These numbers are reported annually by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The Bureau's proposed rule attempts to shift from the analytic approach required by current wiretap law to one that is based on percentages of total communications activity.

Important Resources:


(a) Express support for Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), a former federal prosecutor and leading Congressional opponent of the FBI's request for wiretap funding:

     Rep. Bob Barr
     U.S. House of Representatives
     1607 Longworth Building
     Washington, DC 20515
     (202) 225-2931

(b) Subscribe to the EPIC Alert for up-to-date information on the FBI's national wiretap plan.

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Last Updated: February 14, 1996
Page URL: http://www.epic.org/privacy/wiretap/calea/oppose_wiretap.html