House Subcommittee Questions FBI Implementation of Digital Telephony Law.
October 23, 1997
On Thursday, October 23, 1997, the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to examine concerns about FBI overreaching in the implementation of the digital telephony law. CDT senior staff counsel Jim Dempsey testified, along with industry and FBI representatives. CDT and industry had called for a hearing on CALEA earlier in the year. CDT's testimony stressed that the FBI is trying, contrary to Congress' intent, to use the legislation to expand rather than merely preserve its surveillance capabilities. CDT explained that the proposed industry standard for implementing CALEA goes too far in mandating a location tracking capability in wireless systems and in allowing telephone companies using packet switching protocols to deliver call content to law enforcement when the government is not entitled to receive it. In addition, the FBI is seeking a number of further enhancements. The statutory deadline for compliance with CALEA is October 25, 1998. Most members of the Subcommittee seemed to agree that the deadline would have to be extended. CDT urged the Subcommittee to increase the standard for government access to tracking information and signaling information.