FBI Wants Network Changes


Mar 12, 2001
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FBI Encourages Telecom Companies to Modify Networks to Make Wiretapping Easier

In a document sent to land-line and wireless carriers, the FBI reiterated its need for the companies to remove technical obstacles to wiretapping, as required by the 1994 Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).  

Wireless data services for Internet access and browsing, as well as short message or other messaging services are generally exempt from CALEA as information services, but other packet mode services are not as clear-cut, the wireless industry has said.  

Packet technology breaks up a communication into units of data that can be sent over different pathways, and then re-assembles it in the proper sequence by the time the communication reaches its destination.  That makes wiretapping more difficult.  
(Source: CNET News.com)

Glitch in FBI's E-Mail Wiretapping System Hindered Al Qaeda Inquiry, Reports Say

According to an FBI memo obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center through a Freedom of Information Act request, the bureau's controversial e-mail wiretapping system, once called Carnivore, retrieved messages belonging to people who were not targets of an investigation of the al Qaeda  network two years ago.  

When an FBI technician realized what had happened, all of the e-mail messages, including those involving the target, were deleted.  The FBI said the e-mail surveillance tool, now called DCS1000, had the capability to retrieve only authorized information.  

Opponents of the technology feared that the privacy of people not involved in investigations could be affected.  An FBI official said that the non-targeted e-mails were gathered because an Internet service provider gave agents obsolete computer settings, and that the incident was a rare mistake.
(Source: Washington Post, New York Times, CNET News.com, Reuters, AP)
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