Government Affairs Blog

December 13, 2017

WILL THE SUPREME COURT RAISE THE BAR FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT COLLECTION OF SUBSCRIBER LOCATION DATA?

The Supreme Court is now hearing a case that poses the question: what level of due process should a law enforcement agency (LEA) be required to meet before asking a communication service provider (CSP) to produce a criminal suspect’s historic cell phone location data? Based on the Court’s recent oral argument in the case, called Carpenter v. United States, it appears somewhat likely they will subject such location inquiries to the top-level “probable cause” standard. Why are the justices heading in that legal direction, and what would it mean for CSPs?

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November 9, 2017

HOW CAN AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION SERVICE PROVIDER AVOID INTERNATIONAL CONFLICTS OF SURVEILLANCE LAWS?

As US communication service providers (CSPs) increasingly enter foreign markets they become subject to foreign mandates for lawful electronic surveillance, otherwise known as lawful interception or “LI.”  The US LI mandate was not designed in coordination with foreign LI mandates.  As a result, an LI validly authorized in the US may be deemed illegally implemented on another country’s soil. How can an international CSP avoid these conflicts of law?

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October 4, 2017

WHY ARE DEMANDS FOR PUBLIC SAFETY AND PRIVACY COLLIDING ON THE US-EU INTERNET HIGHWAY?

The US and European Union have struggled for years to maintain open channels of Internet communications while reconciling growing demands for public safety and communications privacy.  This year the needs of trans-Atlantic public safety and privacy are headed for a collision.  What’s the conflict?

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August 24, 2017

WHEN MAY A COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDER DISCLOSE THE EXISTENCE OF A NATIONAL SECURITY LETTER?

Last month the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that touched the intersection between communications service providers (CSPs), public safety, and subscriber privacy. The issue was whether a CSP may disclose the existence of a national security letter (NSL) seeking subscriber data for an FBI investigation. According to the Ninth Circuit, the NSL nondisclosure rule meets the “strict scrutiny” standard of the first amendment. What does the ruling mean for CSPs?

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July 21, 2017

SHOULD CONGRESS RESTORE THE POWER OF US LAW ENFORCEMENT TO COLLECT COMMUNICATIONS CONTENT STORED ABROAD?

Last year a US appeals court decision interpreted a federal statute in a manner that stopped American law enforcement agencies from using judicial warrants to gather communication content stored abroad. Certain congressmen responded with proposed legislation to restore the status quo meaning of the law. What does the bill propose, and would it fairly balance the interests of public safety, subscriber privacy, and the needs of communication service providers (CSPs)?

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