Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2028152
 
 

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The Large Immortal Machine and the Ticking Time Bomb


Susan Landau


Harvard University; Sun Microsystems, Inc.

March 23, 2012


Abstract:     
Designers of the first electronic telephone switches nicknamed them the "large immortal machines" because switches last decades. The 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requires that all digital-switched telephone networks be built wiretap enabled; the law took longevity of switches into account by authorizing funding to update switches in place. But by failing to analyze how threat models would change in a highly connected IP-based world, CALEA did not consider the longevity of switches prospectively. As an architected security breach, CALEA compliance is a ticking time bomb. This paper discusses how this situation arose, and what policy the Federal Communications Commission should be following the alleviate the problem.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: communications, wiretap, interception, CALEA, security, telephone switch

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Date posted: March 26, 2012 ; Last revised: April 5, 2012

Suggested Citation

Landau, Susan, The Large Immortal Machine and the Ticking Time Bomb (March 23, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2028152 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2028152

Contact Information

Susan Landau (Contact Author)
Harvard University ( email )
1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.privacyink.org
Sun Microsystems, Inc. ( email )
United States
HOME PAGE: http://research.sun.com/people/slandau/
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