[ISN] FBI To Require ISPs To Reconfigure E-mail Systems

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Oct 18 2001 - 00:41:04 PDT

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    Forwarded from: Erik <eparkerat_private>
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    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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