(fwd) FBI Wiretaps. Old news....

Paul Ferguson paul at hawksbill.sprintmrn.com
Sun Mar 20 08:35:28 PST 1994

For thos who haven't read some of the recent (compelling) newsbytes
on Digital Telphony II -

Forwarded message:

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> Subject: FBI Wiretaps. Old news....
> Date: Fri, 18 Mar 1994 22:26:45 -0800
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> Today's news.
>          WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The FBI warned Friday that wiretaps
> might soon become impossible unless Congress updates a law
> requiring telephone companies to cooperate with law enforcement
> agencies on electronic surveillance.
>          ``Unless Congress creates a new law, law enforcement's
> ability to protect the public against crime will be gravely
> eroded and the national security will be placed at risk,'' FBI
> Director Louis Freeh told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
>          Freeh said new technology such as cellular telephones, call
> forwarding and digital switching was making it more difficult
> for the FBI and other agencies to operate wiretaps, which he
> called one of law enforcement's best tools against crime and
> terrorism.
>          ``We could be out of the wiretap business in a very short
> time,'' Freeh said. He said 91 court-approved wiretaps were
> abandoned last year because telephone companies could not solve
> technical problems.
>          ``They (telephone companies) have told us they will not be
> able to provide the access we need. We have certain requirements
> which they tell us are not going into the software,'' he said.
>          Freeh said he wanted the 1968 law rewritten to require all
> telephone companies to meet technical requirements for wiretaps
> of new equipment. He said it would cost less than $1 billion and
> would be paid in part by the federal government.
>          He said wiretaps had helped prevent several terrorist
> attacks in the United States in recent years, including a 1986
> plot to shoot down an airliner, and helped convict over 22,000
> felons in the past decade.
>          Freeh said a new law would not jeopardize privacy, but
> Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said he was still
> concerned: ``My hope is that we can serve legitimate law
> enforcement needs without jeopardizing privacy rights or
> frustrating innovation and development of new technologies or
> undercutting the competitiveness of America's high tech
> industries.''
>          The U.S. Telephone Association, which represents more than
> 1,100 local telephone companies including the regional Bell
> companies, said it believed the current law was adequate. It
> said its members were cooperating with law enforcement.
>          Freeh said he had been meeting with representatives of the
> telephone industry but had been unable to get a voluntary
> agreement that would cover all companies.

- paul

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