Control of communications in the USA.

Апр 27, 2024
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Control of communications in the United States

Kalpana Srinivasan, The San Diego Union-Tribune,
August 28, 1999.


ABSTRACT: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorizes the legal requirement to require developers of communications and telecommunications systems to provide special capabilities for control of information. The US Government has adopted regulations that will provide the FBI and other US government agencies and intelligence agencies with new electronic surveillance capabilities that allow them to use the latest developments and technologies in the field of communications and telecommunications, such as cellular and satellite communications, including the use of forced conferencing (activation microphone).


The Federal Communications Commission's regulation, based on a 1994 law, allows intelligence agencies to obtain information about subscribers and access their information transmitted in communications systems, and have access to users' cell phones. This resolution provides for this possibility only by court order.

Representatives of the Privacy Group seriously objected to this decision, arguing that it turns modern communications systems into powerful surveillance tools.

In addition to the Subscriber Locator Regulation — which was proposed by industry — the FCC has identified a number of additional protocols proposed by law enforcement agencies.

For example, the FBI will be able to connect to the cellular and regular telephone systems of any subscribers in conference mode, including even those for which negotiations are not currently underway.

“Our actions today will ensure that law enforcement agencies are equipped with the latest technology to combat criminal elements,” said FCC Chairman Bill Kennard, who introduced the resolution.

This Regulation will help implement a 1994 law that requires companies to include in their new developments the requirements of law enforcement agencies to monitor subscriber information, including identifying non-standard language properties. In addition, it is necessary to provide for the possibility of confidential access to controlled information.

The bill's panel intervened after a review by the Justice Department, the FBI and telecommunications industry representatives failed to agree on joint action plans after years of negotiations. The DOJ and FBI achieved much of what they set out to do.

According to the Resolution, companies developing and producing this equipment have until March to agree on all standards and protocols for equipment, taking into account the requirements of the Resolution, and put them into effect before September 30, 2001 and comply with them thereafter.

As stated by the Department of Justice, the FCC's regulation is intended to address key law enforcement concerns and will help law enforcement officers more effectively combat terrorism, organized crime, and drug trafficking.

«Continuing technological advances in the nation's data and communications systems pose challenges to law enforcement,» Attorney General Janet Reno said in a statement. “These new capabilities will enable security missions to be performed at a high technological level while keeping pace with the latest advances in telecommunications and communication systems.”

However, representatives of Privacy Groups said that these requirements violate the 1994 law and are an attempt by the government to expand the powers of intelligence agencies to intercept and wiretap telephone conversations.

«We are deeply disappointed that, on all relevant issues, the commission has opposed privacy in favor of expanding the FBI's powers to monitor communications systems,» Jim Dempsey, a member of the advocacy group Privacy Defense Group, said at a meeting at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington.

Industry representatives said they were pleased that the FCC's ruling did not include all of the FBI's approval requests for their long-awaited requirements. However, they warned that companies would face a difficult time complying with these requirements.

«This is not a good time to make changes to equipment,» said Grant Seifert, vice president of the Telecommunications Industry Association, which represents major equipment manufacturers, and called the project unrealistic.

Tom Wheeler, head of the Cellular Industry Association, said he hoped the agencies would «provide manufacturers with the flexibility needed to pursue these opportunities and do so in a smart way.»

According to the established procedure, the changes will allow information to be obtained based on access to cellular base station systems, or the area of ​​the “cell” where the request is initiated and terminated. The FCC rules will also allow authorities, by court order, to determine when a target is using call preemption, three-way interrogation, or other special features, as well as the number information that the target dialed, such as long-distance and international calls.

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