Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and
technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan
McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing
intersection of culture, technology, politics, and law. Since
2000, so has the Politech web site.
FBI blocks Canadian sat-phone company, insists on wiretaps
- Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 09:40:34 -0400
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: FC: FBI blocks Canadian sat-phone company, insists on wiretaps
- From: Declan McCullagh <email@example.com>
> Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 10:22:58 -0400
> To: Declan McCullagh
> From: Barry Steinhardt
> Subject: FBI Blocks Canadian Sattelite Telephone
> I though your list would be interested in this story from the Financial
> about the FBI blocking a Canadian Satellite Telcom from operating in the US
> because it couldn't wiretap its users.
> To: <Undisclosed.Recipients@earthlink.net>
> From: "Ama-gi ISPI" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: ISPI Clips 14.84: Cdn Satellite Phones Bug FBI, It Can't Wiretap
> Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 00:28:32 -0700
> ISPI Clips 14.84: Cdn Satellite Phones Bug FBI, It Can't Wiretap Them!
> News & Info from the Institute for the Study of Privacy Issues (ISPI)
> Tuesday July 20, 1999
> ISPI4Privacy@ama-gi.com or alternate ISPI4Privacy@earthlink.net
> This From: The Financial Post via NatPost, Friday, July 16, 1999
> Tiny TMI trapped in FBI's national security web
> FBI objects because it can't wiretap satellite phone calls
> Peter Morton
> Financial Post
> WASHINGTON - All tiny TMI Communications Inc. wanted was to sell its
> satellite telephone service in the United States.
> Little did the Ottawa-based firm owned by BCE Inc. and Telesat Canada, know
> that, before long, its application would be swept up in a complex web that
> includes the FBI, the major U.S. government departments, and ultimately the
> White House -- with nothing less than the integrity of America's national
> security at stake.
> The FBI is continuing to block TMI's 16-month-old bid to get a licence that
> would allow it to sell mobile telephone service to Americans. That's
> new U.S. wiretap laws demand the FBI be able to listen to all kinds of
> telephone calls, including ones on satellite telephones.
> But the agency cannot easily do this in TMI's case, because the company is
> in Canada.
> "The nightmare scenario for us is the word gets around in the drug
> trafficking community that the thing to do if you are a Detroit drug
> trafficker or a New York one or a New Orleans one, for that matter, is to
> to a telephone reseller in Toronto," said one senior U.S. Justice
> official. "And that shows up on the system as a Canadian person."
> >From the FBI's perspective, it cannot legally use the evidence from a
> wiretap on TMI's equipment because it cannot prove the call was made on
> soil or by an American.
> TMI is not alone in getting caught up in the FBI's new national security
> concerns. Iridium LLC, the troubled U.S. satellite company, is facing the
> same FBI objections because of its plans to build a groundstation in
> Canada to serve the U.S. northeast. The groundstation has been temporarily
> shelved because of Iridium's restructuring.
> As well, Globalstar Canada LP, a partnership of U.S. Globalstar and
> Satellite Communications, is facing a similar FBI threat because of its
> plans to use groundstations in Smith Falls, Ont., and High River, Alta., to
> reach the market in the United States.
Largely overlooked at the time was a tiny clause included in the U.S.
> enabling legislation. The clause said that, before the FCC can give a
> foreign satellite company a "common carrier" licence to operate, national
> security concerns must be met first.
> But few people, even the FCC, thought that the FBI and its boss, the
> Department of Justice, would be so worried about being able to wiretap
> satellite telephones that they would take the extraordinary step of
> a foreign licence.
> "The FBI was somewhat late in letting us know their concerns," said one
> senior FCC official. "This is the very first time we had any kind of sense
> the FBI had a national security concern about these satellites."
> Barry Steinhardt 212 549 2508 (v)
> Associate Director 212 549 2656 (f)
> American Civil Liberties Union Barrys@aclu.org
> 125 Broad Street
> New York, NY 10004 http://www.aclu.org
POLITECH -- the moderated mailing list of politics and technology
To subscribe: send a message to email@example.com with this text:
More information is at http://www.well.com/~declan/politech/
Return to politechbot.com