ISP CALEA compliance

Sean Donelan sean at
Thu May 10 19:51:35 UTC 2007

On Thu, 10 May 2007, Daniel Senie wrote:
> Just had this conversation with one of my clients, and it's a good question. 
> Seems like the telco providing the ATM (or other) access cloud might be the 
> responsible party. The ISP reselling that DSL is too far upstream anyway to 
> capture traffic between users of the same DSL cloud, though they could 
> capture traffic between those DSL users and other users of their network or 
> the Internet at large.
> Consult your attorney, of course.

The problem for the DOJ/FBI is CALEA doesn't apply to "private line" 
networks.  The underlying ATM carrier is just providing a private line
"emulation" between the ISP and the subscriber, like a T-1 circuit.  In 
the Voice world, CALEA generally applied to which ever carrier is 
operating the first voice switch connected to the subscriber.

But since CALEA was passed, the world changed.  The carrier providing
the facilities and the carrier providing the switching may not be the
same company.  So the phrase "facilities-based broadband Internet access"
is a mess, unless you happen to be a vertically integrated company.  For
vertically integrated carriers, its mostly a problem of which division
gets stuck with the bill.  But for unaffiliated carriers, I think there
is going to be a lot of finger pointing between the facilities-based,
broadband, and Internet companies.

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