Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Feds: Colleges Must Let Us Wiretap

The feds know no limits when it comes to Internet snooping: It now appears that they want to require that colleges provide them with backdoors so that they can spy on students, professors, and staff on university networks.
The issue is over an FCC ruling related to the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) wiretapping law. The FCC says that broadband Internet providers and "interconnected" VoIP providers have to comply with CALEA next year.

The problem, say universities, is that the ruling appears to extend the law to colleges. And that, they add, would mean massive invasions of privacy, and potentially billions of dollars in network upgrades.

So if you think tuition costs are bad now, just wait till the bill comes due after multibillion dollar network upgrades.

How big is the issue? Big enough that the American Council on Education (ACE) is petitioning the FCC to exempt universities from CALEA. University officials paint a dire picture of what will happen if their petition fails.

"For university networks, the worst-case scenario...would mean potentially replacing every switch and router in our system," Wendy Wigen, policy analyst at Educause, a nonprofit association promoting the use of IT in higher education,told Network World. "Just for the hardware cost, we're looking at $400 to $500 per student, which is about a $7 billion price tag for all of the colleges in the United States."

  • 1