[NetBehaviour] US court backs government broadband wiretap access.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Sat Jun 10 12:53:36 CEST 2006


US court backs government broadband wiretap access.

By Peter Kaplan

WASHINGTON, June 9 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld the 
government's authority to force high-speed Internet service providers to 
give law enforcement authorities access for surveillance purposes.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected 
a petition aimed at overturning a decision by regulators requiring 
facilities-based broadband providers and those that offer Internet 
telephone service to comply with U.S. wiretap laws.

The court concluded that the FCC requirement was a "reasonable policy 
choice" even though information services are exempted from the 
government's wiretapping authority.

The FCC has set a May 14, 2007 deadline for compliance.

"I am pleased that the Court agreed with the Commission's finding, which 
will ensure that law enforcement agencies' ability to conduct lawful 
court-ordered electronic surveillance will keep pace with new 
communication technologies," FCC chairman Kevin Martin said in a 
statement after the ruling.

The ruling comes at a time when critics have voiced concerned that the 
Bush administration's surveillance program violates civil liberties. The 
administration argues it needs the program, which allows the National 
Security Agency to monitor international telephone calls of U.S. 
citizens, as part of its broader war on terrorism.

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