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April 25, 2000

Separate Statement of
Commissioner Susan Ness

Re: CALEA Section 103 Compliance and Section 107(c) Petitions (CC Docket No. 97-213)

Preserving law enforcement agencies' surveillance capabilities in the digital technology era is a critical goal of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). Each day that goes by without CALEA-compliant equipment in operation limits the capability of law enforcement to protect public safety and to prevent terrorist or unlawful activity. At the same time, we must recognize that CALEA-compliant equipment has not been developed as quickly as we had expected. As a result, for the majority of carriers, and in particular, smaller carriers, CALEA-compliant hardware and software will not be commercially available by June 30, the deadline for compliance with the CALEA requirements.

I would have preferred to adopt an even more streamlined waiver process or a blanket extension for carriers who, despite their best efforts, are unable to obtain CALEA-compliant equipment. Nonetheless, I support the steps we have taken in this Public Notice to reduce the burden on carriers and provide a reasonably quick and efficient waiver mechanism for extensions of the deadline. Carriers using similar equipment, or associations of these carriers, are permitted to seek a joint waiver. I also urge the Commission to apply any waiver request equally to similarly-situated carriers. Finally, I strongly encourage manufacturers and carriers to work cooperatively with law enforcement agencies to develop, install, and test CALEA-compliant equipment as expeditiously as possible.