Calea and the ISP

The Communications and Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) passed in 1994 is a piece of legislation every U.S. ISP should know about and be in compliance with.  If for the simple fact the government can levy heavy fines if you aren’t compliant.

For those of you wanting some background please follow these links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_Enforcement_Act

https://www.fcc.gov/public-safety-and-homeland-security/policy-and-licensing-division/general/communications-assistance

First of all CALEA isn’t simply sticking wireshark onto your network and sending a packet dump to a law enforcement agency. It is much more complicated than that. You have several things which the CALEA standard addresses.

1.The ability to send multiple streams, in real time, to different law enforcement agencies.
2.The ability to not interrupt the connection to a person of interest.  In other words you don’t want to interrupt their connection to insert a piece of hardware.
3.The ability to provide just the information on the warrant.  Too much information can actually violate the court order.
4.There is a difference between a typical “request for information” warrant and a CALEA request.  These are not the same.  CALEA almost always comes from a federal agency. They are expecting you to be compliant with CALEA.

Now, here is where things get a little subjective.  The FBI has https://askcalea.fbi.gov/ which is linked from the above fcc.gov web-site.  The askcalea web-site has not been updated since 2011.  The service provider login and service provider registration simply does not work. The information about CALEA is pretty outdated.

So what does this mean for you as a small ISP? Stay tuned for more information.