ALA expresses disappointment in CALEA ruling


Bernadette Murphy

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410
For Immediate Release:

June 9, 2006

ALA expresses disappointment in CALEA ruling

(WASHINGTON) The following is a statement from ALA President-Elect Leslie Burger on today’s federal appeals court decision extending CALEA to the Internet.

“We are disappointed that the DC circuit court of appeals supported the FCC in extending CALEA to Internet access and Voice over IP. Although the decision has no direct effect on libraries because the FCC previously determined that it is not in the public interest to cover libraries, we agree with our co-petitioners that the decision is damaging both to civil liberties and technology innovation.

“Libraries rely on nonprofit private networks like county or state networks to connect to the Internet. The FCC’s order suggested that these private networks had some CALEA obligation despite the fact that CALEA expressly excludes them. We are pleased that the court rejected that notion and made clear that private networks indeed are, and will remain, exempt from CALEA.

“Libraries remain concerned that the court deferred to the FCC’s reasoning extending CALEA to entities providing the facilities that connect private networks to the Internet. Again, libraries have an interest in seeing nonprofit networks remain in service and we do not want non-profits to be saddled with unfunded mandates for new surveillance technologies, especially when there is no history of any wiretap ever taking place in such network connections. We think the court made it clear that any imposition on private networks in this regard may be the basis for a future lawsuit.
We expect that the FCC will remain narrowly focused on implementing its order on facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and voice over IP services.

“We will evaluate our options for appeal and reconsideration. While libraries are pleased with the fact that CALEA does not extend to their operations today, we continue to be concerned with the logic and reasoning of the court upholding the FCC’s order and its implications for library Internet-based services tomorrow.”