FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJMD
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1999(202) 616-2777
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND FBI REACH FIRST AGREEMENT UNDER COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANCE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACT
Ameritech and Nortel Networks to Begin Providing Software to Local Carriers
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The FBI, Ameritech Services, Inc. and Nortel Networks have entered into a reimbursement agreement for Nortel Networks to provide software to its carrier customers, enabling them to assist law enforcement in conducting lawfully-authorized electronic surveillance. The first of its kind agreement, which was announced by the Department of Justice and the FBI today, was reached after months of negotiations between the three parties and based on a 1994 law known as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).
Congress passed CALEA in October 1994, to protect public safety and national security. Its purpose was to clarify and further define the telecommunications industry's existing statutory obligation to assist law enforcement in executing lawfully-authorized electronic surveillance. The law directs the telecommunications industry to pro-actively develop solutions to address law enforcement's public safety needs as a basic element in providing service to the general public. To facilitate compliance, CALEA authorized $500 million to be appropriated for the purpose of reimbursing the telecommunications industry for certain costs.
The agreement between the FBI; Ameritech, a telecommunications carrier; and Nortel Networks, a major supplier of telecommunications equipment; covers Nortel Networks' DMS-100 switching platforms installed before or deployed on or before January 1, 1995, and will provide all of Nortel Networks' carrier customers nationwide the right to use Nortel Networks' CALEA solution contained in software releases NA010 and NA011. In addition, Nortel Networks will waive the license fees for the right to use the CALEA solution contained in the DMS-100 software releases NA010 and NA011, and in the software releases NCS10 and NCS11 for the DMS-500 switches installed or deployed in the United States after January 1, 1995.
"This agreement represents both an important and effective law enforcement milestone and an extremely significant step in the implementation of CALEA," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "Carriers can now begin taking steps to correct technological impediments within their networks that currently prevent law enforcement from being able to carry out court-ordered electronic surveillance directed at suspected criminals and terrorists."
"After months of exhaustive discussions between the Department, FBI, Ameritech and Nortel Networks, the agreement signifies a quantum leap forward in the implementation of CALEA," said FBI Director Freeh. "This is an effective and efficient approach to ensure carriers' compliance with CALEA and will significantly reduce the costs associated with the implementation of the law."
The FBI is also working toward finalizing similar reimbursement agreements with other carriers and manufacturers and additional agreements are expected shortly.