Court Order? Warrant? Who Needs Them?!
Posted on: 2007-04-02 13:00:21
by Legal Research Staff
Very quietly, all Internet Service Providers are being equipped for comprehensive undetectable surveillance of both Internet and voice traffic under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) with a deadline for compliance of May 15, 2007, and were required to file a confidential System Security and Integrity Plan with the FBI detailing the implementation by March 15, 2007 pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 1004 and 47 U.S.C. 229(b).
While the contents of these documents are secret, and it is illegal to disclose them to the public, our researchers have perused the legal requirements for these documents, and have discovered information with profound implications for freedom.
The most important information we discovered is that this electronic surveillance can be applied routinely without a court order signed by a judge.
So far, the situations under which your ISP will need to initiate undetectable surveillance are:
1) Court order signed by a judge or magistrate pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2510-2520
2) RICO, requiring only the certification of the Attorney General, and no court order or judicial review under 18 U.S.C. 1951-1968.
3) FISA, again requiring only the certification of the Attorney General, and no court order or judicial review under
18 U.S.C. 1801-1811.
4) A sort of "catch-all" for anytime the Federal government wants to snoop but can't find any other way of doing it, again requiring only the certification of the Attorney General, and no court order or judicial review under 18 U.S.C. 2518(7).
It is important to understand that "certification of the Attorney General" can be made by anyone authorized by the Attorney General to make such certification, and includes a wide array of unelected bureaucrats.
So take two vital pieces of information away from this report: 1) ISP-level surveillance will be in place by May 15th, 2007 AND 2) A court order is no longer necessary.
If you long for the days when your privacy couldn't be violated without at least pro-forma judicial review, you need to contact your Representatives and tell them what you think.
Your ISP, incidentally, is prohibited by law from revealing the foregoing - but the laws are publicly available for you to verify.