I thought given the wire-tapping excitement going on now, that I’d post some of the practices going on world-wide that maybe you are not aware of, all excepts from Virtual Shadows (2009), so there could be some updates since, I haven’t checked. If there are updates it will surely include social media as per USA with PRISM.
Many of the international laws on wiretapping date back to a series of seminars hosted by the FBI in the United States in 1993 at its research facility in Quantico, Virginia, called the International Law Enforcement Telecommunications Seminar (ILETS) together with representatives from Canada, Hong Kong, Australia and the EU. The product of these meetings was the adoption of an international standard called the International Requirements for Interception that possessed similar characteristics to CALEA from the United States. In 1995 the Council of the European Union approved a secret resolution adopting the ILETS. Following its adoption and without revealing the role of the FBI in developing the standard, many countries have adopted laws to this effect. Following adoption of the standard the European Union and the United States offered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for other countries to sign to commit to the standards. All participating countries were encouraged to adopt the standards so it was natural that international standards organisations, such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the European Telecommunication Standardization Institute (ETSI), would adopt the standards.
Adoption of wire-tapping laws
Australia was one of the first countries to sign the MoU along with Canada. In Australia the Telecommunications Act expects the telecommunications operators to proactively assist law enforcement by providing an interception capability.
In the UK RIPA requires that telecommunications operators maintain a ‘reasonable interception capability’ in their systems and be able to provide on notice certain ‘traffic data’.
In the Netherlands all ISPs have to have the capability to intercept all traffic with a court order and maintain users’ logs for three months.
In New Zealand the Telecommunications (Interception Capabilities) Act 2004 obliges telecommunications companies and ISPs to intercept phone calls and emails on the request of the police and security services.
In Switzerland ISPs are required to take all necessary measures to allow for the interception of mail and telecommunications.
In June 2008 Sweden’s parliament approved controversial new laws (FRA-lagen) allowing authorities to spy on cross-border email and telephone traffic. The Swedish press claim that this will make Sweden the most surveyed country in Europe. This wiretapping law enables the intelligence authorities to ‘listen’ to all traffic, Hotmail, MSN, SMS etc., across Sweden’s borders. The law becomes effective at the end of 2009. Given Sweden’s stance on human rights the passing of this law is quite remarkable. It was following some pretty heated dis- cussions in parliament that the law was passed on a very fine majority (47 against and 52 for). The argument for tapping of international lines is ‘terrorism’. Of course any ‘terrorists’ will encrypt their communications and there is nothing that the Swedish authorities can do about this. Of course one can always monitor ‘traffic patterns’ on identified suspect com- munication which can be as revealing as the communications’ contents themselves in certain situations. However the use of the contents of such communications in a court of law will be impossible without the decryption key and they cannot obtain this unless there is a law enacted similar to the RIPA in the UK, which forces the key-holder to give the encryption or decryption key to the authorities on request and if they refuse they can be convicted for concealing evidence.
There was also a telecommunications driven incentive in 2008 called Phorm. I have not checked out the present status in 2013.