Date: Fri, 27 Mar 92 21:00:18 -0800
From: brian@UCSD.EDU (Brian Kantor)
Subject: Re: dumbing down new systems (FBI vs digital phones)
Every telephone switch I have ever encountered had the capability of monitoring
individual conversations, even when those conversations are multiplexed
together with other connections in the switch. While my experience is not as
wide as others in the telephone field, it would seem to me that such a
monitoring capability is an essential switch design element for diagnostic
purposes, if nothing else.
Thus I do not believe that the FBI has any need for this law; they need only
take their court order to the telephone company and they will be provided with
the tap they have been authorized.
No, it seems to me that the ONLY purpose the FBI has in proposing such a law
would be so that it can make telephone taps WITHOUT the cooperation of the
telephone company. Presumably, the only reason for not wanting the cooperation
of the telephone company is that the FBI in such cases might well not have the
cooperation of the court either - in other words, what they are asking for is
the ability to make warrantless taps.
End-to-end encryption, of course, would NOT fit this model. Nor would it be
prevented by this law, since encryptors can be fitted to any phone without the
cooperation of the phone company.