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CALEA is the acronym for the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Pub. L. No. 103-414, 108 Stat. 4279). In its own words, the purpose of CALEA is:
- To amend title 18, United States Code, to make clear a telecommunications carrier's duty to cooperate in the interception of communications for Law Enforcement purposes, and for other purposes.
CALEA was passed on October 25, 1994 and came into force on January 1, 1995.
Provisions of CALEA
The U.S. Congress passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in to aid law enforcement in its effort to conduct surveillance of digital telephone networks. The act obliges telephone companies to make it possible for appropriate law enforcement adjencies to tap phone conversations carried out over its networks, as well as making call records available. The act also stipulates that it must not be possible for a user to detect that his conversation is being monitored.
On March 10, 2004, the DOJ, FBI and DEA filed a "Joint Petition for Expedited Rulemaking" in which they requested the certain steps to accelerate CALEA compliance. This petition mainly involved extending the provisions of CALEA to cover communications that travel over the internet. This resulted in the FCC issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking antitled "In the Matter of Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and Broadband Access and Services" (FCC 04-187, 2004 WL 1774542) on August 9, 2004. As of February 2005, this ammendment to CALEA is still under consideration.
CALEA is also an acronym for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. CALEA issues standards for best practices for law enforcement agencies, which can voluntarily subject themselves to accreditation inspection. Meeting CALEA standards is an intensive process and is used by police administrators and civilian oversight officials to ensure that the agency is being run in accordance with a national standard for excellence.
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