Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The impact of new CALEA legislation

In Early February, I wrote a little about how colleges are fighting the new CALEA requirements

Last summer, the US Government updated the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and surprised everybody by including vague wording that might require ISPs to allow surveillance access to their networks. In a recent brief filed with the US Court of Appeals, the Association of American Universities, American Library Association, and some companies are asking the court to reconsider the ruling.

The University of Illinois estimates that it would take $13 M to comply with the requirements – on top of a $20 M upgrade that they are undertaking now (source: Arstechnia). Budgets at many universities and colleges can not handle an expensive upgrade and this cost cannot likely be absorbed into tuition fees.

CALEA was crafted specifically to regulate phone networks, which are closed systems. The Internet, on the other hand, is a distributed, global network. It is my opinion, CALEA should be applied to telephone networks, not wired or wireless networks of colleges and universities. It would also help if the impact of CALEA was a little bit clearer.

Does a school need to provide access at every router or only where the Internet meets the school's intranet? It's not entirely clear at this time. Certainly only providing access at the Internet/intranet location is more financially viable, but still a mess if you have to then have to possibly monitor every e-mail/communication leaving and entering the school.

Interested in reading more? There is material worth checking out from Educause



Post a Comment

<< Home