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OfflinePopTop
I'll cut yourfeet!!

Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 691
Last seen: 9 years, 11 months
Vonage internet phone and U.S wiretap laws?
    #6597231 - 02/22/07 09:48 PM (15 years, 11 months ago)

Hi. I was wondering if anyone here knows if U.S. wiretap law applies to those internet phone services such as Vonage?

Thanks and a cup of mojo!


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Please be careful when picking up Poptops with hankys. A Poptop can cut a Hanky.


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InvisibleBoom
just a tester
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Registered: 06/17/04
Posts: 11,252
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Re: Vonage internet phone and U.S wiretap laws? [Re: PopTop]
    #6597960 - 02/23/07 01:00 AM (15 years, 11 months ago)

Yes
Quote:


http://www.alternet.org/rights/47459/

The Government Wants to Tap Your Internet Calls
By Jayne Lyn Stahl, HuffingtonPost.com
Posted on February 14, 2007, Printed on February 22, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/story/47459/

Over the past several months, the FCC and Justice Department have been working overtime, and fighting hard to tap not only your land line phone and cell phone, but to tap Internet calls, as well.

Effective in May, those who provide "voice transmission" and broadband services will have to ensure that their equipment that is wiretap-ready, and accessible to your local police force and the FBI. The new legislation is modeled after the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement, or CALEA, which was designed primarily to facilitate wiretapping of mobile phones. This new legislation is intended to expand governmental surveillance powers to cover companies like Vonage, so the progression evolves thus: First we can tap Ma Bell, then Cingular Wireless, then Yahoo emails, then Vonage.

The rules set to go into effect in a couple of months were challenged by a U.S. appeals panel back in July, and U.S. District Judge Harry T. Edwards called courtroom arguments made by the FCC "goobledygook." He was, in my opinion, being kind. Civil liberties groups have expressed outrage over the FCC expansionism, claiming that this legislation doesn't take into account the fundamental difference between the telephone, a vehicle for conversation, and the Internet, a tool by which information is acquired and conveyed. Lawyers for the government argued only that the 1994 legislation intended to be applied to future technology; the Judge wasn't buying that, and neither should we.

Moreover, sophistic claims by the Justice Department that not increasing wiretapping capability to encompass the rapidly proliferating Internet phone industry will transform the Web into a refuge for "criminals and terrorists" are not only hackneyed, they're transparent enough for a 6-year-old to see through.

Alarmingly, with all the discourse about theoretical differences between online, and real time telephonics, what seems to have been lost in arguments for and against the FCC's new rules to require ISPs to ensure that their equipment can be hacked by law enforcement is that this is yet another pernicious step on the part of this administration to use technology that is so advanced that it can sidestep FISA and cut right to the chase -- the chase, of course being, access to your personal conversations and mine.

Those judges on the panel who attempted to justify court-ordered wiretaps of Voice Over Internet Protocols, like Vonage, using the flawed logic that they are essentially no different from traditional telephones are myopic in their inability to acknowledge inevitable future technological inroads, and the potential threat to the First Amendment that inheres in laying the groundwork for this kind of Internet eavesdropping by the government on unsuspecting, and undeserving citizens.

If we consumers stand by and allow the expansion of federal eavesdropping from basic phone calls to cell phones to emails, and now to Skype, or Internet calls, then we have only ourselves to blame. It's time that not only civil libertarians, but Internet Service Providers, stand up to this administration's ongoing assault on privacy, and the First Amendment. We must consider a boycott of those companies, and service providers, who comply with these new rules that are scheduled to go into effect in May.





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OfflinePopTop
I'll cut yourfeet!!

Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 691
Last seen: 9 years, 11 months
Re: Vonage internet phone and U.S wiretap laws? [Re: Boom]
    #6603440 - 02/24/07 03:46 AM (15 years, 11 months ago)

Thanks! At least they will still need a court order. Hopefully.

Because it might just be like the infrared searches where they supposedly need a court order, but the cowards can always just use the equipment anyway illegally, and then snoop around hot houses looking for other evidence with which to apply for a search warrant. I hope the ISPs maintain control of their systems and don't give the government any damn golden keys.


--------------------
Please be careful when picking up Poptops with hankys. A Poptop can cut a Hanky.


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OfflineSeussA
Error: divide byzero

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Registered: 04/27/01
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Re: Vonage internet phone and U.S wiretap laws? [Re: PopTop]
    #6615657 - 02/27/07 02:09 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

> but the cowards can always just use the equipment anyway illegally

There was another thread that we debated this issue. Just because something cannot be used as evidence in court does not mean that it is illegal. Evidence from an infrared scan cannot be used in court (without first having a search warrant), but there is nothing making it illegal for police to use infrared scanners. If police use an infrared scanner without a warranty, they are not breaking the law, as far as I know.

The opposite holds true with wiretapping. There is an actual law that makes it illegal to wiretap without a search warrant. If police wiretap without a warrant, then they are breaking the law and can go to jail.

I'm not a lawyer, and I may be mistaken. The user XTCollection is absolutely certain that I am wrong on this subject, but he could never produce any references to back up his claims that an inadmissible search is illegal in all cases.


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OfflineBrandon2874
Stranger
Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 22
Last seen: 14 years, 29 days
Re: Vonage internet phone and U.S wiretap laws? [Re: Seuss]
    #6618309 - 02/28/07 06:04 AM (15 years, 10 months ago)

Very timely question. If you want to talk relatively securely I doubt that you would get many listeners on something like teamspeak.


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Invisiblefastfred
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Re: Vonage internet phone and U.S wiretap laws? [Re: Brandon2874]
    #6623081 - 03/01/07 12:23 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

> but there is nothing making it illegal for police to use infrared scanners.

Maybe just using them isn't illegal, but it's what they're doing with them that would make it illegal. If they are using them to violate your privacy and spy on you then that would be illegal. It would be the same as if I used some sort of infrared, ultrasonic, or x-ray device to spy on hot girls.

They can probably stick to their cover story and get away with it. They might say they were looking to spot forest fires or find a fugitive to justify flying around with infrared gear. But if they actually admitted, or were proven to be, using infrared to spy on people and conduct unwarranted/unreasonable searches of peoples homes, then it would certainly be illegal.


-FF


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OfflineSeussA
Error: divide byzero

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Re: Vonage internet phone and U.S wiretap laws? [Re: fastfred]
    #6623098 - 03/01/07 12:42 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

> If they are using them to violate your privacy and spy on you then that would be illegal.

Back to this... show me a law that states it is illegal to violate your privacy. What is the defined punishment for violating your privacy? Heck, I would be thrilled to see an actual law that defines what your privacy is... The best I can come up with is "THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974 - 5 U.S.C. ยง 552a". However, the privacy act doesn't make it illegal to spy on you, nor does it make it illegal for me to "violate your privacy", but instead it defines the rules that the government must follow when disclosing personal information.

If a cop breaks into your home to perform a search without a search warrant, then yes, the cop has broken the law and could end up going to jail. If the same cop "violates your privacy" by sitting outside your home with an infrared scanner, then as far as I know, the cop has not broken any law (at the federal level) and would not end up going to jail. In both cases any evidence collected would not be allowed in court.

The exact wording the US Supreme Court used in their ruling says that the use of infrafed scanners is "sufficiently intimate to give rise to a Fourth Amendment violation." They do not say it breaks a law, or that it is illegal, only that it violates the protections provided by the fourth ammendment of the US Constitution.

I'm not sure where people come up with the idea that their privacy is somehow protected by law... for the most part, it isn't.


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Invisiblefastfred
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Re: Vonage internet phone and U.S wiretap laws? [Re: Seuss]
    #6623121 - 03/01/07 01:15 PM (15 years, 10 months ago)

> I'm not sure where people come up with the idea that their privacy is somehow protected by law... for the most part, it isn't.

You are totally right there.

I'm not trying to say that the cops would be liable for criminal charges, but what they have done is still illegal. If I spied on some girl or a neighbor I would probably be charged and face jail time. The same laws would apply to the cops, even in no prosecutor in the country would actually charge a cop.

Laws vary by location, but I can think of a few common laws that the cops could be charged with. There's peeping tom laws in many areas, stalking laws, harassment laws, and other laws along those lines. It's highly unlikely any prosecutor would charge a cop for this kind of stuff, but if I were using an infrared device to spy on people I'm pretty sure that you would agree that I could be charged with something. The same laws could be used to prosecute a cop or the police department.

Since that will probably never happen your recourse would be a lawsuit. Anytime someone violates one of your constitutional rights you can sue them over it. It's not some imaginary "right to privacy" that you would be demanding, you are specifically protected against unreasonable search and seizure by the 4th amendment. You are guaranteed a legal recourse if your constitutional rights are violated, otherwise they wouldn't be worth the hemp paper they are printed on.


-FF


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