|Internet telephone calls are fast becoming a national security threat that must be countered with new police wiretap rules, according to an FBI proposal presented quietly to regulators this month.
Representatives of the FBI's Electronic Surveillance Technology Section in Chantilly, Va., have met at least twice in the past three weeks with senior officials of the Federal Communications Commission to lobby for proposed new Internet eavesdropping rules. The FBI-drafted plan seeks to force broadband providers to provide more efficient, standardized surveillance facilities and could substantially change the way that cable modem and DSL (digital subscriber line) companies operate. The new rules are necessary, because terrorists could otherwise frustrate legitimate wiretaps by placing phone calls over the Internet, warns a summary of a July 10 meeting with the FCC that the FBI prepared. "Broadband networks may ultimately replace narrowband networks," the summary says. "This trend offers increasing opportunities for terrorists, spies and criminals to evade lawful electronic surveillance."