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[FYI] (Fwd) [NEWS] FBI To Require ISPs To Reconfigure E-mail Systems

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Date sent:      	Wed, 17 Oct 2001 12:02:07 -0400
Send reply to:  	Law & Policy of Computer Communications
From:           	David Lesher <wb8foz@NRK.COM>
Subject:        	[NEWS] FBI To Require ISPs To Reconfigure E-mail Systems (fwd)

National Journal's Technology Daily

PM Edition

October 16, 2001

HEADLINE: PRIVACY: FBI To Require ISPs To Reconfigure E-mail Systems

PHOENIX -- The FBI is in the process of finalizing technical
guidelines that would require all Internet service providers (ISPS) to
reconfigure their e-mail systems so they could be more easily
accessible to law enforcers. The move, to be completed over the next
two months, would cause ISPs to act as phone companies do to comply
with a 1994 digital-wiretapping law. "They are in the process of
developing a very detailed set of standards for how to make packet
data" available to the FBI, said Stewart Baker, an attorney at Steptoe
& Johnson who was formerly the chief counsel to the National Security
Agency (NSA).

The proposal is not a part of the anti-terrorism legislation currently
before Congress because the agency is expected to argue that the
Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) already
grants it the authority to impose the requirement, Baker said. He
added that some ISPs already meet the requirements.

Baker, who frequently represents Internet companies being asked to
conduct electronic surveillance for the FBI, made the revelation
Tuesday in a panel discussion at the Agenda 2002 conference here on
how the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are likely to affect the technology
industry and civil liberties. He elaborated on the plan in an

Such a stance could result in considerable cost to many ISPs, and it
would constitute a reversal of previous government policy, which held
that ISPs are not subject to CALEA's requirements. But Baker also said
"it has been a long-term goal of the FBI and is not just a reaction to
Sept. 11."

Mitchell Kapor, chairman of the Open Source Application Foundation and
a founder of Lotus Development, also spoke on the panel. Kapor also
started the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and has been a vocal
advocate of Internet privacy. EFF played a significant role in the
CALEA debate, and divisions over whether to support that law led to a
split of the organization.

"Under the cover of people's outrage [over the terrorist attacks] and
desire for revenge, lots of things that have been defeated before have
been brought back in [to the anti-terrorism legislation] without a
demonstration that the lack of appropriate law is a problem," Kapor
said in an interview. But on the whole, Kapor and Baker shared more
common ground on the acceptability of new electronic surveillance than
they had in the past, with both expressing the view that now is a time
for calm reconsideration of positions rather than butting horns over
the details of how civil liberties would be curtailed by an
anti-terrorism bill.

"I find myself more in the middle than I used to because my identity
in life is not as a civil liberties advocate," Kapor said. "Part is
being an American and a world citizen." Baker said it was entirely
appropriate for the FBI to conduct far more surveillance.

"What has changed [since Sept. 11] is the view of the technology
community," Baker said. "I used to get calls like, 'How can I beat the
NSA?'" said Baker. "Now, people call and say, 'I have this great idea
that would help NSA,' or, 'I want to go volunteer and do outreach on
behalf of the FBI or NSA.' There is a real change of people's view
about who the bad guys are."


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