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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld the government's authority to force high-speed Internet service providers to give law enforcement authorities access for surveillance purposes.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a petition aimed at overturning a decision by regulators requiring facilities-based broadband providers and those that offer Internet telephone service to comply with U.S. wiretap laws.
The court concluded that the FCC requirement was a "reasonable policy choice" even though information services are exempted from the government's wiretapping authority.
The FCC has set a May 14, 2007 deadline for compliance.
"I am pleased that the Court agreed with the Commission's finding, which will ensure that law enforcement agencies' ability to conduct lawful court-ordered electronic surveillance will keep pace with new communication technologies," FCC chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement after the ruling.