Wiretaps

This page is mostly about interception of cell phone calls and internet traffic.  You might as well face the fact that neither of these communication media come with any guarantee of privacy.  When cell phones first became popular in the 1980's, it was extremely easy to listen in on them.  (Fun, too!)  These days it's a little more difficult, and a lot more illegal, but people still do it.  Not me, of course, but no doubt there are plenty of people engaged in corporate espionage in this country, not to mention a lot of warrantless listening justified by the perpetual War on Terror.  If that's what you're interested in, you should also visit my page about the Domestic Spying issue.



A Technical Mistake.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation  has obtained an FBI document  describing a mistake that was made in monitoring someone's email:  the ISP sent the FBI all of the email for the entire domain, rather than just the suspect's email.

Wiretapping is on the Increase in Europe.  In Italy, which experts agree is the most wiretapped Western democracy, a report to parliament in January by Justice Minister Roberto Castelli said the number of authorized wiretaps more than tripled from 32,000 in 2001 to 106,000 last year.

AT&T Seeks to Hide Spy Docs.  AT&T is seeking the return of technical documents presented in a lawsuit that allegedly detail how the telecom giant helped the government set up a massive internet wiretap operation in its San Francisco facilities.

Whistle-blower says AT&T gave spy agency access to network.  AT&T Inc. and an Internet advocacy group are waging a privacy battle in federal court that could expose the reach of the Bush administration's secretive domestic wiretapping program.

The Perils of Wiretapping the Internet.  Congress passed CALEA in 1994 to make it easier for law enforcement to wiretap digital telephone networks.  CALEA forced telephone companies to redesign their network architectures to make wiretapping easier.  It expressly did not regulate data traveling over the Internet.  But now federal law enforcement agencies want to change that.  On March 10, 2004, the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the DEA petitioned the FCC requesting that CALEA's reach be expanded to cover communications that travel over the Internet.

Report on security risks of applying CALEA to VoIP.  The current FBI and FCC direction on CALEA applied to VoIP carries great risks. … Building a comprehensive VoIP intercept capability into the Internet appears to require the cooperation of a very large portion of the routing infrastructure, and the fact that packets are carrying voice is largely irrelevant.  Indeed, most of the provisions of the wiretap law do not distinguish among different types of electronic communications.  Currently the FBI is focused on applying CALEA's design mandates to VoIP, but there is nothing in wiretapping law that would argue against the extension of intercept design mandates to all types of Internet communications.

The Top 12 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy.

Wiretap Rules Need Cost Vetting.  On March 10, [2004,] the FBI, DEA, and Department of Justice petitioned the FCC to require all Internet and broadband service providers to modify their technology to allow the FBI to intercept communications on their systems.  The agencies, relying on the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), want the FCC to make sure anyone providing a new communications service (e.g., voice over Internet Protocol or cable modems) leaves a trap door, so law enforcement agencies can listen in whenever they are authorized by law to do so.
This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2013 by Andrew K. Dart

Interception of E-Mail Raises Questions.  The wiretapping law broadly protects eavesdropping on messages that are not stored — such as an unrecorded phone conversation — but does not afford the same legal protections to stored messages.

Justice Dept. Worries About Internet Calls.  A Justice Department official told a Senate panel yesterday [6/16/2004] that law enforcement officers might lack the authority to monitor the phone conversations of terrorists and criminals under a proposed law governing calls that travel over the Internet.

FBI Proposes Increased Wiretapping Privileges:  In a move that may signal the Bush Administration's intention to seek additional legislation that some have dubbed "Patriot Act II", the FBI recently submitted an 85-page filing to the FCC requesting that all broadband Internet providers rewire their networks, making it easier for police to perform wiretaps.  The proposal, which has the backing of the Bush Administration, would require companies to build back doors into programs ranging from instant messaging and Voice Over Internet Protocol to live video game service such as Microsoft's Xbox.

CALEA: These Are Not Your Father's Wiretaps.  Privacy advocates fear that the FBI's need to monitor Internet Age technologies, such as voice over IP, will give it far too sweeping powers.

When You Call, Who Is Listening?  Are telephone companies working hard enough to make sure that the government can spy on your calls?  "No," said the FBI, in a recent petition to the Federal Communications Commission.  What is now at stake before the FCC is whether Americans may expect privacy for their phone calls.  The FBI is demanding surveillance powers going far beyond those it has a lawful right to claim.

Every dial you take:  The FBI is asking for more information about what you do on the phone, and no one is saying no.

Wireless Technology:  They'll Know Where You AreUnder the so-called Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA) police are given the authority to track the locations of any cell phone users even if they're not dialing 911.

Court deals blow to privacy rights:  Pennsylvania justices rule that government can intercept phone calls.  A 4-to-3 majority on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that a person has no idea who may be listening in on the other end of the phone line and, therefore, cannot believe the information being discussed won't be revealed.

Privacy Advocates Question FBI's Keystroke Logging.

FBI warns Congress:  foreign telecomms may inhibit wiretaps

Wiretapped nation:  The British government's plan to wiretap the entire country is so outrageous it seems to have been put forward just to see if anybody is paying attention.

Terror laws "eat away at privacy":  "The internet is being turned into a surveillance device and eventually surveillance will be a core design component of computers," warned Simon Davies, head of Privacy International.

EPIC's Wiretapping Page

The Wiretap Myth:  Excuses Without Substance.

The Complete, Unofficial TEMPEST Information Page

World Wide Wiretapping:  Frequently updated compendium of news stories relating to wiretapping around the globe.  Microlink uses this page to demonstrate the need for their product (secure phone lines).

Wiretap laws and procedures:  What happens when the U.S. government taps a line.  Step through the procedures involved when the government seeks to intercept electronic communications legally.

The World-Wide Wiretap?  So you think that a personal e-mail you send from work is confidential?  Don't be so sure.

Use of Wiretaps DeclinesThe nation's courts, federal and state, authorized fewer wiretaps in 2000, and the average time a wiretap was in use also declined, according to a recent report.

All about E-mail Wiretapping

Is Big Brother watching your Net searches?

Taps, Traps, and Pens -- Electronic Surveillance Overview



Back to The Privacy Page


Custom counter developed in-house

Document location http://www.akdart.com/priv7.html
Updated February 21, 2008.

©2013 by Andrew K. Dart