Market Leadership in CALEA Compliance

Safe Harbor

CALEA Compliance is a complex process whose success hinges on advanced technology, in-depth knowledge of the court order regimen, and close liaison with law enforcement.

The Communications Act for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) states that if a telecommunications carrier complies with publicly available CALEA technical standards adopted by an industry association or standard-setting organization the carrier “shall be found in compliance” with CALEA’s technical capability requirements and in “Safe Harbor.”

But CALEA Compliance involves far more than just a technology solution. The assurance of “Safe Harbor” applies to other key aspects of compliance that require expertise and experience. One of the most important is the court order review process. Done correctly under expert supervision, management of court orders results in evidence delivered to law enforcement exactly as outlined in the order, on a timely basis, and with no impact on the privacy of a service providers’ customers. However, without expert oversight — or in rare instances when a court order contains errors — problems can arise.

All too often, a service provider may not know the proper steps to take upon receipt of a court order for lawful intercept. Among the issues that can arise: Is the order legally valid? How do they implement the order? Can they be certain that the order itself is correct in every respect? What happens if the lawful intercept is applied to the wrong customer? It doesn’t happen often, but even law enforcement makes mistakes, and when that happens it can be bad news for all involved. If an order contains errors, it is not valid. Not only is the evidence gathered invalid in a court of law, but the service provider that implemented the order is legally at risk.

Managing the court order process is a detailed and complex process. It requires legal expertise to ensure that the court order is valid, that the lawful intercept is correctly established, executed and then terminated once the expiration date of the order is reached.  Is that your business?  It is Subsentio’s and has been for two decades. In our view, putting the client in “Safe Harbor” involves far more than deploying a technology solution for the client. It means making the entire lawful intercept process “safe” from start to finish.


As a CALEA Compliance service bureau Subsentio not only provides the technical solution, we validate (in the US, Belgium, and Australia) court order upon receipt by our clients and then implement and manage the intercept. This means that we intercept only the subscriber listed in the court order. We administer the lawful intercept according to the strictures of the court order, and make sure that only the correct information is intercepted and relayed to the law enforcement monitoring location. During this process we’re in continual contact with both law enforcement and our client to make sure that all privacy and security processes are in place to protect the subscriber, other subscribers, and our client.


Expertise in every facet of the security and legal requirements relevant to CALEA Compliance is a hallmark of Subsentio. Our Security Department is staffed by former FBI technical personnel who have spent a lifetime managing surveillance activities and have direct, first-hand knowledge of the required security procedures.  This is especially important in the implementation of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders, which require a Top Secret clearance to manage. Our team reviews all court orders for both authenticity and correctness to make sure that each, whether federal, state or local, is correct in both content and the authorizing statutes listed. Finally, our Customer Care Department works with client compliance personnel to help them establish in-house compliance procedures and reporting required by the Federal Communications Commission.


CALEA was established to support law enforcement.  The intent of the Act is to “…make clear a telecommunications carrier’s duty to cooperate in the interception of communications for law enforcement purposes…” while protecting the individual’s right to privacy.  At Subsentio, meticulous attention to the legal and security aspects of CALEA compliance protects the privacy of the client’s customers, and indemnifies the client from legal risks while ensuring that they meet their full obligation under the law.