March 16, 2004 11:00 AM PST

Cable taps into wiretap law

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At least one cable operator is starting to comply with a federal law that has long required telecommunications carriers to help police conduct electronic surveillance, according to a source familiar with the company's plans.

Time Warner Cable is the first cable company to begin trying to adhere to the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, the source said. Cable companies are not yet required to comply with the 1994 wiretap law, but they see the writing on the wall.

Vernon Irvin, executive vice president at security vendor VeriSign, said during a recent interview that his company had signed a deal with a "major cable operator" in the United States to help it follow CALEA. He did not identify the provider, but the source tagged Time Warner as the company. A Time Warner representative did not have an immediate comment.

Irvin, however, did assert that other cable companies are sure to follow. That's because the FBI has made public a far-reaching proposal to require all broadband Internet providers--including cable modem and digital subscriber line (DSL) companies--to restructure their networks to support easy wiretapping by police.

"The cable guys aren?t waiting," Irvin said.

The FBI's proposal would, for the first time, force cable providers that sell broadband to come under the jurisdiction of 1994's CALEA, which further defined the already-existing statutory obligations of telecom carriers to help police conduct electronic surveillance. Telephone companies that use their networks to sell broadband have already been following CALEA rules.

Because the eavesdropping proposal has the support of the Bush administration, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to take it very seriously. Last month, FCC Chairman Michael Powell stressed that "law enforcement access to IP-enabled communications is essential" and that police must have "access to communications infrastructure they need to protect our nation."

Irvin said that details of the VeriSign deal will be announced next week.

3 comments

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I give up.
It is time to provide the local police station with a package containing a list of all safes, doors, computers & etc. --with a copy of all keys, access codes and account numbers.

What the hell?
Posted by billbutterusername (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Boycott your DSL Cable provider with Speakeasy
What's next after you're ISP provider allows the
government to watch every action you make,
along with all the passwords you type?
Kicking in you're door with the patriot act in
hand because you viewed something that "Big
Brother disaproves of??
The time is now to boycott these companies
and send the message to the ISP's you pay
them they should pay homige to you, not the
FBI.
Start by selling Wi-Fi internet access it's still
legal, and supported by "Speakeasy". By
doing this you can protect others and you're
annonimity.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20030701/163" target="_newWindow">http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20030701/163</a>
7233_F.shtml
"Found over at Glenn Fleishman's Wi-Fi
Networking News, and apparently not yet
picked up by any media outlets is the news
that Speakeasy, the DSL ISP famous for (get
this) actually being CUSTOMER FRIENDLY, is
letting customers sell their own bandwidth.
Speakeasy already encourages people to set
up WiFi networks and to use as many
computers as they want (unlike the big name
companies that want you to pay extra for every
computer you connect). Now, accepting the
fact that the bandwidth they sell you is your
bandwidth, they're making it easy to turn
around and resell your own bandwidth to your
neighbors. You set the price, and they handle
the billing. They also provide email addresses
and other features like access to the
Rhapsody music service. You split the
revenue 50/50 with Speakeasy. While I think
most people would probably just as soon let
their neighbors use their bandwidth for free,
it's very cool to see a company admit that the
bandwidth is yours to do as you please. Every
day, Speakeasy looks like a better broadband
provider. As the big cable and DSL providers
get more and more restrictive (while raising
their prices) it's cool to see a company that is
letting customers do what they want. Clearly,
they stand to benefit as well (taking 50% of the
fees!), but whereas other broadband providers
would see this as "theft" Speakeasy is being
smart about it and seeing it as an
"opportunity". "
Boycott, send a message and make a little
cash on the side.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Surrender All Thoughts
Let's just get it over with and give the government unfettered remote access to cameras in our homes, GPS units in our cars, and electronic thermometers up our butts. Hey, if you've got nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.
Posted by (1 comment )
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