posted on May, 8 2006 @ 03:05 AM
A circuit court appeals court judge, Harry T. Edwards, took a frosty stance Friday in response to assertions made by a lawyer representing the FCC.
The issue at hand is whether or not emerging technologies are covered in the scope of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, known as
CALEA, passed in 1994 (the relevant provisions of which will have to be enforced next year). The hearing apparently did not go well for the FCC,
their argument was deemed 'nonsense' and 'gobbledygook' by the judge.
A U.S. appeals panel sharply challenged the Bush administration Friday over new rules making it easier for police and the FBI to wiretap Internet
phone calls. A judge said the government's courtroom arguments were "gobbledygook."
The skepticism expressed so openly toward the administration's case encouraged civil liberties and education groups that argued that the U.S. is
improperly applying telephone-era rules to a new generation of Internet services.
"Your argument makes no sense," U.S. Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards told the lawyer for the Federal Communications Commission, Jacob Lewis. "When you
go back to the office, have a big chuckle. I'm not missing this. This is ridiculous. Counsel!"
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
This is interesting. I don't know whether I like this Edwards guy or not. He's doesn't seem all that well-spoken, or maybe he's just flustered, but
I do agree with him from what I've seen so far. There's no reason not to extend the provisions of CALEA to VOIP, but that's not what the FCC and the
Justice Department are asking for - they want more.
I think under normal circumstances it's reasonable to pass laws insuring that equipment used to transfer data is accessible by law enforcement, but
that's a far cry from the reality we're presently dealing with, which is a flashback to the Hoover days. I guess that's what happens when you bring
all the old criminals back into power.
There's a material difference between authorities having access that facilitates the lawful gathering of intelligence crucial to national security,
and authorities having limitless power to snoop on innocent Americans for political ends, with the consent/mandate of the Justice Department, no less.
It's a shameful state of affairs. We expect them to use every tool at their disposal to investigate terrorists who mean to do America harm. What we
don't expect them to do is use the apparatus of state against us, the citizens. No different than if a policemen had turned his gun on one of the
people he was tasked to protect. It's a shameful abuse of power.