FISA/CALEA and "Lawful Intercept" Technologies

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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As I noted earlier, May 14th was the official deadline for CALEA compliance for a number of industries. How, you may be wondering, does one implement such a thing?

These solutions are typically divided into three key functions: access, mediation and collection. The access function comprises existing network elements that are provisioned to provide call detail records or call content for target individuals. Alternatively, passive probes may be used where no such capability exists on the access element. The mediation (or delivery) function is used for warrant provisioning, communicating with the access elements and probes and formatting call data for delivery to the law enforcement agency (LEA). The collection function equates to products deployed by LEAs for the appropriate collection and analysis of call records and content.

— Complete “Lawful Intercept” Solutions

Scott Coleman writes:

I’ve talked about probes in the past, both in the context of Active vs. Passive and with regard to doing VoIP intercept. And now as the May 14th date for compliance approaches for both broadband and VoIP providers, I’m taking a look at another category of probe, the Mediated Probe, since they seem to be popular with the ISPs.

— http://demystifyingli.blogspot.com/

Pen-Link provides a complete product for CALEA compliance:

LINCOLN provides a complete system solution for any CALEA-based or facilities-based (local loop) approach to electronic surveillance. Our system encompasses hardware, software, and services to meet all of the intercept needs of an LEA.

— LINCOLN by Pen-Link

Finally, NetEqualizer provides bandwidth shaping based on a Linux platform, and has added minimal CALEA compliance to its services:

NetEqualizer appliances are bandwidth shaping systems designed for voice and data networks. The flexible, scalable and cost-effective bandwidth control products can be deployed in both corporate and service provider networks. NetEqualizer is plug-and-play, installing in minutes. NetEqualizer appliances automatically shape traffic based on built-in fairness rules. This approach allows network administrators and operators to quickly and easily bring network traffic into balance without having to build and manage extensive policy libraries and with no changes to existing network infrastructure.

We provide a network probe with the following capabilities:

  • It will allow an ISP or other operator to comply with a basic warrant for information about a user by capturing and sending IP communications in real time to a third party.
  • Communication may be captured by headers or headers and content.

— NetEqualizer’s CALEA FAQ

Interestingly, NetEqualizer’s software is based on an open-source core running on the Linux platform. I can’t tell if the CALEA-compliant “probe” functionality is available too as an open-source add-on. See http://www.bandwidtharbitrator.com/