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Re: [] Feds: Colleges Must Let Us Wiretap

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  • From: Candace Holman <>
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  • Subject: Re: [] Feds: Colleges Must Let Us Wiretap
  • Date: Thu, 04 May 2006 12:08:53 -0400

EDUCAUSE has been representing university interest in this for some time now [1]. It just so happens that oral arguments are starting tomorrow. I attended a seminar on CALEA earlier this year and understood that EDUCAUSE is trying to clarify that university networks should be regarded as "private networks", and thereby exempt from compliance. The ruling might be of interest to the community because the order does not specify technical details about identifying a subject under observation - especially in the context of device mobility, caller id, wifi voip, encryption, and nats.

At the same seminar, I was reassured that one of the speakers was confident that the providers in question, "facilities-based broadband access providers" do not include schools, libraries, or other private networks. The service providers that provide the facilites are those who would need to change to provide CALEA. There is even a loophole that the data must be "reasonably available", which is fairly open to interpretation. He was confident that nothing would hold up in court the way it is written now.

Ben Teitelbaum posted notes from this seminar to his blog [2].

The technical upside you note below is only a fantasy, as the requirements are such that the persons being observed cannot know that you are observing them. Thus, you'd pretty much have to constantly observe everyone and tap it when asked. Plus, the interface for CALEA is more monolithic and requires quite a bit more than just a sniffer capture. For example, you have to have a way to verify that the data is pure and hadn't been tampered with between the time you captured it and the time you delivered it. In reality, I think if this is going to be a legal requirement for universities, or any university takes it on as an ethical requirement to provide law enforcement assistance, it will likely be outsourced to an outside agency.



Duane wrote:

As bad as this is the only upside is if people are switching across to VoIP since you only need 1 set of equipment (and ethereal) verses expensive telco gear + ethereal...

Although if the Feds want this capability it should come out of their budgets, otherwise they should keep going with the existing arrangements with upstream carriers...

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