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 Monday, June 02, 2008

The sixth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports covers the technology and standards behind lawful interception (LI), the lawfully authorized monitoring and interception of telecommunications.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have enabled (lawful) interception since the early days of electronic communications, but it remains a shadowy area due to the necessary secrecy that must be accorded to investigations. National laws, LI methods and standards need to be adapted to new telecommunication technologies, which continue to develop at an ever faster pace.

LI has been subject of recent discussion in different ITU-T Study Groups and there is agreement that the topic cannot be limited to its technical parameters: it involves a range of different aspects including legal, regulatory, social and political considerations, at national and international levels. Some parties view LI as a national rather than an international matter while others fear that ITU efforts might duplicate work already done elsewhere. Any discussion of LI, even from a strictly technical perspective, tends to get very quickly into a parallel discussion on human rights.

The report addresses the importance of developing international standards assuring a transparent process of interception, focusing on the sometimes conflicting goals of privacy and security.

Download Technology Watch report on Lawful Interception