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Government Accountability Office, Digital Surveillance: The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CRS Report RL30677) (Jan. 29, 2008) (full-text).


The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, enacted October 25, 1994, is intended to preserve the ability of law enforcement officials to conduct electronic surveillance effectively and efficiently despite the deployment of new digital technologies and wireless services that have altered the character of electronic surveillance. CALEA requires telecommunications carriers to modify their equipment, facilities, and services, wherever reasonably achievable, to ensure that they are able to comply with authorized electronic surveillance actions.

These modifications were originally planned to be completed by October 25, 1998. Since that time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued two additional orders establishing June 30, 2002, as the date by which telecommunications carries must have upgraded all their systems. Equipment manufacturers have fulfilled their obligation to provide CALEA solutions and carriers are implementing them. The FBI and FCC continue to monitor and review the implementation of this program.