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.
- The FBI's report on the methodology used to produce its estimate of required wiretap capacity.
- EPIC's December 12, 1995 letter to Congress concerning the FBI's failure to produce a statutorily-mandated report on wiretap expenditures.
- EPIC's formal comments on the FBI's wiretapping capacity requirements.
- The FBI Federal Register notice
- FBI Director Louis Freeh's letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, denying any attempt to expand FBI wiretapping activity.
- EPIC's letter to Chairman Hyde in response to Director Freeh.
- EPIC Wiretap Page.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
(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.
Last Updated: February 14, 1996
Page URL: http://www.epic.org/privacy/wiretap/calea/oppose_wiretap.html