ISP CALEA compliance

Sean Donelan sean at
Thu May 10 19:20:32 UTC 2007

On Thu, 10 May 2007, Jason Frisvold wrote:
> Here's a question that's come up around here.  Does a CALEA intercept
> include "hairpining" or is it *only* traffic leaving your network?
> I'm of the opinion that a CALEA intercept request includes every bit
> of traffic being sent or received by the targeted individual, but
> there is strong opposition here that thinks only internet-related
> traffic counts.

The DOJ/FBI has been pretty consistent. They want it all and if there is 
a technicality in the law that doesn't give it to them they have 
consistently tried to expand the laws, regulations and court cases to 
give it to them. If you want to be the test case, talk to your lawyers 
about how little you can do.

But its also important to remember CALEA compliance and responding to a 
Title III intercept court order are not necessarily the same thing.

CALEA is only a subset of stuff some carriers have to be prepared to do 
for "Free." Other wiretaps requiring things above and beyond CALEA can be 
done for a time and materials billing to law enforcement after you get an 
lawful order (which can vary depending on what is demanded).  For 
example, a Title III, FISA or ECPA lawful order can apply to traffic and 
institutions not covered by CALEA.  ISPs have been responding to lawful 
orders for over a decade, even before CALEA was a law.  And the reality
is most of the stuff law enforcement actually wants from ISPs on a day to
day basis isn't covered by CALEA (i.e. stored communications and 
transaction records).

   All facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and providers
   of interconnected VoIP service have until May 14, 2007 to come into
   compliance with CALEA.

So are you a

    Facilities-based? (DSL v. cable, dark fiber v. ATM?)
    Broadband? (< 200Kbps?)
    Internet? (VPN?)
    Access? (backbone v. access?)
    Provider? (freenets or paid?)

or are you a


If the answer is yes, talk to your lawyer before May 14.  If the answer is
maybe, talk to your lawer, if the answer is I don't know, talk to your 
lawyer.  And if the answer is no, you probably should still talk to your

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