November 21, 2001 7:20 AM PST

FBI wants Carnivore powers for phone taps

Related Stories

Patriot Act draws privacy concerns

October 26, 2001

Revamped anti-terrorism bill hits House

October 2, 2001

Privacy vs. safety

September 17, 2001

ISPs aid FBI in terrorist search

September 13, 2001
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has asked telecommunications companies to make changes in their state-of-the-art networks to make it easier for the FBI to conduct surveillance, according to a report.

The FBI, which hopes to gain the same access to voice communications that it has gained with e-mail through use of its controversial Carnivore snooping technology, made the request in a 32-page document sent to telecom companies earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The FBI's request was in the works before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the report, but those events have lent new credence to the issue. Expanded law enforcement capabilities have been a priority since the attacks, with the new Patriot Act giving law enforcement broad powers amid criticism from civil libertarians.

The request encompasses both land-based and wireless networks, potentially including companies such as Qwest Communications International and AT&T Wireless, for example.

The FBI is concerned about technological developments in networks and their ability to keep up with accompanying surveillance techniques, the report said.

In recent years, a new wave of communications based on "packet" technologies has changed the way telecom companies transmit phone calls, allowing a voice call to be broken down into numerous bits and reassembled at its destination. That makes surveillance and tapping of such transmissions more difficult.

The FBI's request was made under the 1994 Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement legislation, which requires phone companies to tweak their networks so authorities can conduct surveillance.

1 comment

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
phone tapping
I think that phone tapping should be illegal. I understand that the president is only trying to protect us but it's wrong and it's an invasion of privacy and these days no one has a right to privacy, the goverment checks our computers, cellphones, and home phones, what rights do we have anymore. I also know that you are trying to stop the terrrorists but this is not the way thank you sinserly,
anonomous
Posted by frankie g (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.