October 27, 2005 | By Kurt Opsahl

Leahy Opposes Expansion of CALEA

Senator Patrick Leahy, the chief sponsor of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act CALEA), had a few strong words for the FCC ruling that would expand the CALEA to broadband ISPs and VoIP providers. In a statement Leahy writes "The expansion of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to the Internet is troubling, and it is not what Congress intended." He goes on to warn that "...stretching this law without changing it, and without properly examining the implications of doing that, invites a basketful of potential new problems." Leahy further explains:

Congress recognized the unique architecture of the Internet and explicitly excluded it from the scope of CALEA's surveillance design mandates, and we did that to allow Congress to re-visit the appropriateness of such an extension as the Internet developed. Any extension of CALEA - a law written for the telephone system in 1994 - to the Internet in 2005 would be inconsistent with congressional intent.

EFF, along with many other groups, has already told the FCC that its expansion of CALEA goes beyond the statute's letter and Congressional intent, and has petitioned for a federal appeals court to review the FCC decision. But it's great to see one of the original proponents of the legislation remind the FCC of the legislature's clear intent to keep its hands of the Internet.

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