A curious development in 2015 related to Sussmann indictment and Alfa Bank saga

As so often: Interesting timing.

A story from September 2014 carried by ZDNet was recirculated on Twitter a few days ago.  The story, by Zack Whittaker for Zero Day, was about “Trusted Third Party” companies, which provide legal compliance services for Internet and communications service providers presented with surveillance subpoenas from law enforcement agencies.

The fundamental basis for this model of compliance operations goes back to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994.  CALEA was implemented before most instant communications over the Internet – things like text messaging and voice-over-IP – existed, and after 9/11 was updated (in 2004) to keep up with technology and the new imperative for security-focused surveillance.

There are a lot of details to master for a full understanding of what CALEA does, and I recommend starting with Whittaker’s article and perusing this summary and FAQ posted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

For our purposes, here’s a short summary of what matters. Continue reading “A curious development in 2015 related to Sussmann indictment and Alfa Bank saga”