Friday, May 04, 2012

FBI seeking wiretap-ready internet, like Canada

There's a lot of buzz around the internet on the FBI's quiet effort to have the Communications Assistance to Law Enforocement Act expanded beyond traditional telcos to include anyone who provides communications services online. (See: FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites -- now.)

If this sounds oddly familiar to Canadians, it should. While most of the buzz about Bill C-30 was connected to warrantless access to subscriber information, a large part of the Bill requires any teleecommunications service provider to provide real-time, simultaneous access to transmissions. What's under-reported is the incredibly expansive definition of "telecommunications service provider", which depends on other definitions as well:

“telecommunications facility” means any facility, apparatus or other thing that is used for telecommunications or for any operation directly connected with telecommunications.

“telecommunications service” means a service, or a feature of a service, that is provided by means of telecommunications facilities, whether the provider owns, leases or has any other interest in or right respecting the telecommunications facilities and any related equipment used to provide the service.

“telecommunications service provider” means a person that, independently or as part of a group or association, provides telecommunications services.

This definition, though convoluted, is pretty broad and goes well beyond what many would consider to be traditional telcos.

So before you look south of the border and sneer about the FBI's latest initiative, look toward Ottawa as well.

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