Introduction

The Communications Assistance for law Enforcement Act (CALEA) is a statute enacted by Congress in 1994 to require that telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment design their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure that they have the necessary surveillance capabilities to comply with legal requests for information. CALEA is intended to preserve the ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct electronic surveillance while protecting the privacy of information outside the scope of the investigation. In 2005, the Commission extended coverage of CALEA to include facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

CALEA Compliance - Some Basic Information

Industry is generally responsible for setting CALEA standards and solutions. Unless a party files a special petition (see Petitions Section below), the Commission does not get formally involved with the compliance standards development process. CALEA also does not provide for Commission review of manufacturer-developed solutions. Entities subject to CALEA are responsible for reviewing the Commission's regulations and analyzing how this regulation applies per their specific network architecture.

A telecommunications carrier may comply with CALEA in different ways:

  • The carrier may develop its own compliance solution for its unique network.
  • The carrier may purchase a compliance solution from vendors, including the manufacturers of the equipment it is using to provide service.
  • The carrier may purchase a compliance solution from a trusted third party (TTP).

Compliance Requires the Filing of System Security and Integrity (SSI) Plans

Telecommunications carriers, as defined by CALEA section 102(8), must file and maintain up-to-date System Security and Integrity (SSI) plans with the Commission, as those plans are described in 47 C.F.R. § 1.20005.

SSI Plan information includes a description of how the service provider complies with CALEA, and carrier contact information which the FCC shares with the FBI. Such information is not disclosed to the public. This information collection has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget, control number 3060-0809. (2019). A sample SSI plan checklist is available online: CALEA Checklist 2013

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about SSI Plan filings can be found below.

FAQ - SSI Plans

How do I file a SSI Plan, including an update to an already filed SSI Plan?

Please refer to instructions below for filing SSI Plans by paper and electronically. Pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 1.20005 of the Commission’s rules, all providers subject to CALEA must file their SSI Plans prior to commencing service, and must re-file a complete updated SSI Plan within 90 days following any changes to information contained in a previously filed SSI Plan.

What are the current filing procedures for SSI Plans?

Current filing procedures allow CALEA SSI Plans to be filed with the FCC’s Office of Secretary as a paper filing or submitted voluntarily through the new CALEA Electronic Filing System (CEFS). The Bureau has proposed to make electronic filing of SSI Plans mandatory after a six-month transition period. Electronic filing in CEFS will remain voluntary until further notice. We advise all providers subject to CALEA to monitor our website for updates.

What are the instructions for Paper Filings?

During the Pandemic, the Office of the Secretary updated its webpage with the new Headquarters address for paper filings via messenger, mail, or courier delivery and that information can be found below.

Hand or Messenger Delivered accepted between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. only
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
Office of the Secretary
9050 Junction Drive
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701

Commercial overnight mail, EXCEPT United States Postal Service
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
Office of the Secretary 9050
Junction Drive Annapolis Junction, MD 20701

All other mail, including United States Postal Service Express Mail, Priority Mail, and First Class Mail
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
Office of the Secretary
45 L Street NE
Washington, DC 20554

Note: On August 5, 2020, the Commission’s rules were amended to reflect the new address of the Commission’s headquarters effective October 15, 2020 as: 45 L Street NE, Washington, DC 20554.

What are the instructions for Voluntary Electronic Filings?

On Dec. 5, 2022, the Bureau released a Public Notice regarding the launch of CEFS and voluntary electronic filing. The Public Notice includes a section that outlines preliminary steps for access to CEFS and the filing of SSI Plans. Also, the CEFS User Manual can be found here:  https://www.fcc.gov/cefs/user-manual

When will CEFS electronic filing become mandatory?

Mandatory filing will be announced by a future public notice.

For additional information about CEFS and the six month transition to mandatory filing, see the FAQ below.

To whom do I send electronic courtesy copies?

Courtesy copies should be emailed as password protected documents consistent with the Commission’s rules for emailing confidential documents to:

Rosemary Cabral
Attorney Advisor, Policy & Licensing Division
Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
45 L Street NE | Washington, DC 20554
(202) 418-0662 | Rosemary.Cabral@fcc.gov

Chris Fedeli
Attorney Advisor, Policy & Licensing Division
Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
45 L Street NE | Washington, DC 20554
(202) 418-1514 | Christopher.Fedeli@fcc.gov

Is a certain format required for SSI Plans?

The Commission does not require a specific template for these filings. However, all SSI Plans must contain all information listed under 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.20003 and 1.20004 of the Commission’s Rules. A sample SSI plan checklist is available online: CALEA Checklist 2013.

How do I file a request for confidential treatment of a SSI Plan?

Requests for confidential treatment of SSI Plans should follow these instructions, noting the new headquarters address below. When filing a confidential document or other confidential material with the Office of the Secretary, filers should send the filing either:

via UPS, FedEx, or any overnight mail service, addressed to:
Office of the Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
9050 Junction Drive
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701

or via USPS First Class Mail, Express Mail, or Priority Mail, addressed to:
Office of the Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
45 L Street NE
Washington, DC 20554

Where a courtesy copy of the confidential document or other material is required or requested to be submitted to FCC staff, filers are encouraged to send an electronic version of the document or material to the identified FCC staff via email. See CAELA points of contact listed above. Please note that the document must be password protected and the password communicated to FCC staff via telephone or in a separate email. Submissions may be broken into multiple emails when necessary.

Do I need to submit Form 445?

No. FCC Form 445 was used to monitor the progress of telecommunications carriers that provide facilities-based broadband Internet access or interconnected VOIP services in complying with CALEA and the Commission's requirement for such facilities and services. FCC Form 445 was a one-time filing requirement in 2006.

Is it acceptable to submit one set of SSI plans for affiliated carriers?

A single SSI Plan for multiple commonly-owned companies is acceptable, if the policies and contact information are the same for all carriers. The names of each covered entity must be included in the SSI Plan.

What are the requirements for telecommunications providers to use Trusted Third Parties (TTPs) for CALEA compliance?

Telecommunications carriers remain responsible for ensuring they are meeting all their obligations under CALEA even when employing a TTP. TTPs are entities that provide CALEA compliance services to telecommunications providers, such as accessing the network to conduct call intercepts and providing information to US law enforcement. CALEA requirements apply to telecommunications providers themselves, not the TTPs. There is no registration requirement to provide TTP services.

What do I need to know about the new CALEA Electronic Filing System (CEFS)?

CEFS is a secure, confidential electronic filing system for covered entities to submit their SSI Plans without jeopardizing the sensitivity of these records and will lessen paperwork burdens on SSI Plan filers. CEFS facilitates timely filing of new SSI Plans and updated SSI Plans and should minimize errors leading to insufficient filings that require re-submission. CEFS links to the Commission Registration System (CORES) to reduce the need for filers to re-enter basic information that CORES users have already provided to the Commission. The system will allow users to file SSI Plans electronically and, once they have electronically filed a plan in CEFS, to log back in to CEFS and retrieve and view that filing. In the future, CEFS could potentially be expanded for electronic filing of confidential petitions for extension of time to comply with CALEA requirements filed under 47 U.S.C. § 1006(c) and CALEA technical impossibility and cost recovery petitions filed under 47 U.S.C. § 1008(b)

If I have an SSI plan on file, do need to refile it in CEFS?

  • Covered entities that have already filed their SSI plans by paper are not required to resubmit those paper filed SSI Plans electronically in CEFS. However, pursuant to the CALEA rules, a SSI Plan would need to be refiled if there has been a change to information contained in a previously-filed SSI Plan.
  • CALEA requirements have not changed with the availability of the new electronic filing system.
  • During the six month transition, filers can choose to voluntarily file their SSI Plan electronically in CEFS.
  • There will be a six month transition period to introduce covered entities to electronic filing of SSI Plans and allow covered entities time to set up accounts to access CEFS, and provide the Bureau with the opportunity to implement any necessary enhancements to CEFS for optimal functioning ahead of mandatory filing.
  • The Bureau will continue to accept paper filings until SSI Plan filing becomes mandatory for all SSI plan filers. Mandatory filing will be announced by a future public notice.
  • The CEFS User Manual includes detailed instructions for access to CEFS and filing System Security and Integrity (SSI) Plans.

How can I access CEFS?

  • If your FCC User Registration is already associated with the FCC Registration Number (FRN), you can log into CEFS at https://www.fcc.gov/cefs.
  • If your FCC User Registration is not set up yet, please refer to the CEFS Manual link above.

What should I do if I have technical questions or issues?

Filers experiencing technical difficulties using the CEFS system or CORES should call the FRN Help Line at 877-480-3201. Filers may also contact the CORES Help Desk at CORESHelpDesk@fcc.gov or (202) 418-4120.

Contact the FBI

The FCC encourages all carriers to consult with the FBI if they have questions about their CALEA compliance plans. Carriers may contact the FBI's CALEA Implementation Program at the National Domestic Communications Assistance Center (NDCAC), directly at the following address or phone number:

FBI Quantico Engineering Research Facility (ERF) NDCAC, Building 27958A Quantico, VA 22135, Toll Free Telephone: (855) 306-3222 or (540) 361-4600. Also see https://ndcac.fbi.gov/calea/about-calea

Contact the FCC

The FCC also encourages all carriers to contact the Commission with any questions regarding their SSI Plans. Courtesy copies of SSI plans should be emailed directly to points of contact listed above (in FAQ section).

Carriers and their representatives may send questions not addressed in the FAQ section above to FCC-CALEAinquiries@fcc.gov and our CALEA Team will respond as soon as possible.

CALEA Petitions

In addition to reviewing SSI Plans under CALEA, the FCC also reviews special petitions. Under 47 U.S.C § 1006(b), any person may petition the Commission to issue technical standards for capability assistance that the person believes are deficient, known as a “deficiency petition.” These petitions may be filed via ECFS in the appropriate docket. Under 47 U.S.C § 1006(c), covered entities may file petitions for extension of time to comply with the CALEA assistance capability provisions. Also, under 47 U.S.C. § 1008(b)(1), a carrier and other interested parties may file a petition with the Commission and an application with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to request that DOJ pay the costs of the carrier's CALEA compliance with respect to any equipment, facility, or service installed or deployed after January 1, 1995. Under this section of CALEA, telecommunications carriers and other interested persons may petition for a determination of whether an assistance capability is “reasonably achievable,” and the Commission must reach a determination on such petitions within one year. Due to the cost shifting relief sought by this petition, it is known as a “cost recovery petition.”

Only cost recovery petitions require filing fees.  For information about costs of filing petitions, refer to the CALEA Headlines section below.

CALEA Headlines

 

December 12, 2022 - Public Notice
Launch of the New CALEA Electronic Filing System
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau officially launches CEFS for voluntary electronic filing of System Security and Integrity Policies and Procedures (SSI Plans) for covered entities.


June 28, 2022 - Public Notice
CALEA Electronic Filing System
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Announces the Comment Dates for the Implementation of Electronic Filing of CALEA System Security and Integrity Plans (SSI Plans).  Comments must be filed on or before July 22, 2022, and reply comments must be filed on or before August 8, 2022.


June 1, 2022 - Public Notice
CALEA Electronic Filing System
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Provides Initial Information on Upcoming Launch of Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) Electronic Filing System (CEFS) for Filing of System Security and Integrity Policies and Procedures (SSI Plans)


December 15, 2021 - Public Notice
New Application Fee Rates for EB, WCB, and IB
This PN announces new application fee rates which apply to CALEA Petitions.


December 29, 2020 – Report and Order
Amendment of the Schedule of Application Fees Set Forth in Sections 1.1102 through 1.1109 of the Commission’s Rules
In this Report and Order, the Commission adopted the proposed cost-based fee of $6,945 for CALEA petitions, under 47 CFR § 1.1109.


March 31, 2020 – Public Notice
FCC Provides Further Instructions Regarding Submission of Confidential Materials
This Public Notice includes instructions for courtesy copies and password-protection.


December 27, 2006 - Order
FCC Adopts Order to Enable Law Enforcement to Access certain Broadband and VoIP Providers
This FCC order outlines the requirements for telecommunications providers to use Trusted Third Parties (TPPs) for CALEA compliance, which is discussed at pages 11 to 13, paragraphs 23 to 26.


May 12, 2006 - Order
FCC Adopts Order to Enable Law Enforcement to Access certain Broadband and VoIP Providers
This Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order covers CALEA implementation, SSI requirements, and petitions, among other topics.


September 23, 2005 - Report and Order
FCC Adopts Order to establish that CALEA applies to facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and interconnected VoIP service providers.
This Report & Order concluded that CALEA applies to facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and providers of interconnected voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

 

Updated: 
Monday, December 12, 2022