Vendors collaborate to beef up IP wiretapping tool

Two software vendors have made their IP wiretapping tools forcarriers and law-enforcement agencies work together.

In August 2004, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission ruledthat interconnected VoIP service providers will have to allow lawenforcement wiretapping under Communications Assistance for LawEnforcement Act (CALEA) by May 14, 2007. A federal court upheldthat ruling on Friday.

Narus Inc.’s NarusInsight Intercept Suite for carriers has beenfully tested for interoperability with Pen-Link Ltd.’s Lincoln 2data collection and reporting software for law enforcement, thecompanies will announce Tuesday.

The transition on carrier networks from circuit-switched phonecalls to IP packet data services has turned the world ofwiretapping upside down. With new laws requiring carriers to handover information about subscribers’ e-mail and Web surfing,carriers and legal agencies need new tools that work with eachother.

A set of rules from ETSI (the European TelecommunicationsStandards Institute) that cover interception and analysis of e-mailand other IP communications is now being phased in across Europeand adopted in some Asian countries, according to Steve Bannerman,vice president of Marketing at Narus. ETSI doesn’t yet have a lawon VOIP wiretapping, he said.

The software a carrier uses to intercept communications has tomatch up with the tools used by the law-enforcement agency thatwants to collect and interpret the data, Bannerman said.

The Narus and Pen-Link products are the first to comply withboth the ETSI rules and the VOIP CALEA regulations as well as U.S.laws on collecting e-mail and Web data, the companies claim.Specifically, they fully comply with the CALEA T1.678 standard andthe ETSI TS 102 232/233/234 standards.

The software is intended for probes, with warrants, of specificusers’ traffic during specific periods, Bannerman said.

While service providers and law enforcement work out how toimplement the new breed of lawful intercept, enterprises and otherusers are just beginning to face the questions it raises, accordingto Stacey Quandt, an analyst at Aberdeen Group, in Boston.

“There is still a cloud of uncertainty as to what information isbeing accessed and how it is being used by government agencies,”Quandt said.

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