CHAIRMAN WILLIAM E. KENNARD
CALEA FURTHER NPRM
OCTOBER 22, 1998
This Further Notice constitutes a very important first step toward clarifying the technical requirements of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. I emphasize that this is a first step both because the Notice addresses only wireline, cellular, and broadband PCS carriers, and because it only makes tentative conclusions regarding what capabilities fall within the scope of terms defined under CALEA's assistance capability requirements. Public comment on these tentative conclusions, and on the range of factors the statute requires us to consider, will be extremely important to the Commission's ultimate decision.
In enacting CALEA, Congress sought to balance the needs of law enforcement against legitimate privacy and industry interests. There is substantial agreement among law enforcement, industry, and privacy organizations regarding the current industry interim standard for wireline, cellular, and broadband PCS. The differences that remain are significant, but by no means insurmountable. I believe that, in presenting its tentative conclusions, the Notice we are adopting carefully weighs the important concerns of all interested parties, and that this approach is consistent with the spirit and the plain language of CALEA.
Let me also say something about our tentative conclusion on the location capability that industry and law enforcement agreed is required under CALEA. CALEA was enacted to make sure that law enforcement has the tools necessary to continue to protect the public against criminals. But it also protects the public's right to privacy. Law enforcement must go to court before it can conduct electronic surveillance. CALEA does nothing to eliminate the court protection that is a hallmark and guardian of our system. This Notice tentatively concludes that information pertaining to the location of a subject's cell site at the beginning and termination of a call, if reasonably available, is required under CALEA. This does not turn wireless phones into tracking devices. Law enforcement can only secure this information if a court authorizes it. This capability will help law enforcement make our streets safer. And the public's privacy interest will continue to be protected.
Let me emphasize that the Commission's role in this proceeding is to resolve the differences that currently exist so that CALEA can be implemented as quickly as possible. That is the role that Congress gave to the Commission when it enacted CALEA, a role we take very seriously. By adopting the Further NPRM, I believe we will be off to an excellent start in carrying out this mandate. But to ensure that the Commission does the best job possible in resolving the remaining issues, I encourage all parties to this proceeding to file detailed comments regarding our proposals.