Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

carriers must have WireTap back-door into their technology

In October 1994, Congress took action to protect public safety and ensure national security by enacting the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA), Pub. L. No. 103-414, 108 Stat. 4279. The law further defines the existing statutory obligation of telecommunications carriers to assist Law Enforcement in executing electronic surveillance pursuant to court order or other lawful authorization.

CALEA is about access, not authority. CALEA does not expand Law Enforcement's fundamental statutory authority to conduct electronic surveillance. It simply seeks to ensure that after Law Enforcement obtains the appropriate legal authority, telecommunications carriers will have the necessary capability, and sufficient capacity, to assist Law Enforcement regardless of their specific systems or services.

The objective of CALEA implementation is to preserve Law Enforcement's ability to conduct lawfully-authorized electronic surveillance while preserving public safety, the public's right to privacy, and the telecommunications industry's competitiveness. CALEA implementation responsibilities are delegated to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by the Attorney General at 28 C.F.R. � 0.85(o).

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