VeriSign to Launch Wiretapping Tool

The company's new tool will help telecommunications carriers comply with a federal law.

by / June 4, 2002
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- VeriSign announced on Monday a service to help telecommunications companies comply with federal wiretap regulations and orders.

The company's NetDiscovery Service, scheduled to launch by the end of June, will help carriers comply with a 1994 law requiring them to have equipment that supports content-intercept orders.

Telecommunications companies have until June 30 to comply or request an extension. After that, they could be fined up to $10,000 a day for each intercept request from a law enforcement agency they cannot handle.

The 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act requires that carriers have systems in place that allow law enforcement -- with a court order -- to quickly intercept phone calls and data.

The deadline for compliance has been extended repeatedly over the years after companies balked at the price of upgrades.

After paying setup and monthly fees, NetDiscovery customers could shift much of the work to VeriSign, which is best known for running Internet domain names and online trust services. VeriSign would not say Monday how much the service will cost.

NetDiscovery will be available to wired, wireless and cable telephony carriers, said Raj Puri, NetDiscovery's project manager.

He said court orders will continue to be addressed to the carriers, which must review them before forwarding them to VeriSign. Courts also must sign off on law enforcement requests, he added.

"There are a lot of checks and balances in place to make sure whatever is provided to law enforcement is clearly something reviewed and approved by the courts," he said.

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