USACM Joins Statement of Concern Over Expansion of Intercept Law

Today the Center for Democracy and Technology released a statement it developed to respond to possible changes to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). USACM is one of the organizations that signed on to the statement.

The statement was developed due to press reports that there are efforts within the executive branch to expand the law, which requires companies to modify their electronic telecommunications equipment to facilitate wiretaps for law enforcement and other purposes. Originially passed in 1994, CALEA has been expanded to address changes in technology. However, as the statement indicates,

“Clearly, lawful electronic surveillance plays an important role in enabling government agencies to fulfill their obligations to stop crime and to protect national security. These goals, however, must be reconciled with other important societal values, including cybersecurity, privacy, free speech, innovation and commerce.”

The statement goes on to address significant concerns that need to be covered for future changes to laws that deal with electronic communications. It is important to preserve trust in communications systems. This can be achieved by safeguarding cybersecurity, not compromising encryption, protecting privacy and promoting accountability. If these steps (which are given more detail in the statement) are taken, the nation can support innovation and competitiveness interests while preserving lawful interests in electronic surveillance.

Again, there is no specific proposal to change CALEA at the present time. But there is enough of a concern about making sure electronic communications remain secure and productive that a statement like the one CDT issued makes sense.

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