news: FBI and Nortel Strike Software Agreement

Date Wed, 15 Sep 1999 14:22:16 -0400

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September 14, 1999
FBI, Cos. Strike Software Agreement

Filed at 7:49 p.m. EDT

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI reached a first-of-its-kind agreement enabling
telecommunications companies to use computer software made by Nortel
Networks to assist law enforcement agencies in conducting lawfully
authorized wiretapping.

The agreement calls for Nortel, a major supplier of telecommunications
equipment, to provide certain software to its carrier customers. Nortel
will waive the license fees.

The 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act authorized $500
million for the purpose of reimbursing the telecommunications industry for
its costs in cooperating with law enforcement agencies in wiretapping.

``Carriers can now begin taking steps to correct technological impediments
within their networks that currently prevent law enforcement from being
able to carry out court-ordered electronic surveillance directed at
suspected criminals and terrorists,'' Attorney General Janet Reno said in
a statement.

The telecommunication carrier Ameritech also is a party to the agreement.
FBI Director Louis Freeh said the bureau is working toward finalizing
similar reimbursement agreements with other carriers and manufacturers.

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