The FCC ruled by a vote of 5-0 this week, VoIP providers will be subject to the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which allows law enforcement officers to monitor suspicious calls. VoIP is expected to replace traditional phone services in the next few years, the argument to monitor the protocol first arose from the Justice Department, FBI, and DEA.
“Our tentative conclusion, while correct, is expressly limited to the requirements of the CALEA statute and does not indicate a willingness on my part to find that VoIP services are telecommunications services,” FCC Chairman Michael Powell said at a commission meeting.
Commercial “push to talk” services offered by wireless providers like Nextel Communications Inc. should also be subject to CALEA, the FCC ruled.
The ruling on “push to talk” services is final, but the FCC will accept further public comments before making it’s ruling on VoIP final.