FCC schizo on DSL, wiretapping
August 8, 2005, 4:00 AM PT
By Declan McCullagh
The Federal Communications Commission has become weirdly schizophrenic.
In a pair of decisions on Friday, the commissioners voted to veer in
two radically different directions: deregulating DSL lines while
simultaneously imposing onerous wiretapping requirements on broadband
The text of the FCC's CALEA order is not yet public, but early signs
are worrisome. The FCC's two-page summary says that voice over
Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers like Vonage that mimic traditional
phone service must rewire their networks to be easily wiretappable.
It also proposes--and this is the worrisome part--to levy the same
requirement on "facilities-based broadband Internet access service
providers," which seems to cover any company or school offering any
type of cable modem, DSL, satellite or wireless service. They'll have
18 months to comply or be fined.
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