Why You Should Love CALEA


I published a show from Emerging Telephony on IT Conversations that consisted of three lightening talks by Bill Weinberg, Brad Templeton, and Johannes Ernst. Bill gave a good talk about open phones and why we don't have one yet. Open phones are a subject I care about, so I enjoyed that. Johannes gave one of the best short presentations I've heard on the multiple identifier problem. But Brad really entertained with his talk on why you should love CALEA. Brad's talk starts about 15 minutes in.

Actually, I should clarify. Brad didn't really give the presentation, rather it was his evil twin. CALEA is the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, a lot passed in 1994 that requires telephone carriers to put hooks in their system to allow wiretaps.

Now you see why Brad's evil twin gave the talk--no self-respecting EFF chairman could tell you to love something like CALEA, but if you're an ILEC (incumbement telephone company) you'd love it because it stifles innovation and makes it hard for small companies to compete with you.

I wish every legislator in every state could listen to Brad's talk and understand it. Legislators talk about making it easy for small companies and wanting innovation, and I think they're sincere. But they don't understand how their actions create environments that favor incumbents.