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. It requires 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. Communications services and facilities utilizing Circuit Mode equipment, packet mode equipment, facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service are all subject to CALEA. These compliance requirements include wireless services, routing and soft switched services, and internet-based telecommunications present in applications used by telecommunications devices.
CALEA Compliance - Some Basic Information
Industry is generally responsible for setting CALEA standards and solutions. Unless a party files a special petition pursuant to CALEA section 107(b), 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. This 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, 77 FR 156 (2012). A sample SSI plan checklist is available online: CALEA Checklist 2013.
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
PSHSB CALEA Contact (Including SSI Submissions):
- William Beckwith
Attorney Advisor, Policy & Licensing Division
Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
445 Twelfth Street, SW | Washington, DC 20554
(202) 418-0134 | William.Beckwith@fcc.gov
- Kim Anderson
CALEA Records Administrator, PSHSB Policy and Licensing Division
Phone: (202) 418-7604