Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

National Security on the Line

blank image Wednesday, October 26th
HP Auditorium, Soda Hall

Susan Landau
Distinguished Engineer
Sun Microsystems Laboratories


Wiretaps have been used since the invention of the telegraph and have been a legal element of the U.S. law-enforcement arsenal for over a quarter century. In 1994, in keeping with law enforcement's efforts to have laws stay current with changing technologies, Congress passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). This controversial law, which mandated that digitally-switched telephone networks must be built wiretap compatible, was not easily implemented. Now the FBI is seeking to extend CALEA to Voice over IP (VoIP). Such an application is less than straightforward and in the current communications environment, with an unsecured Internet upon which critical infrastructure depending heavily, building surveillance technology directly into Internet protocols may have very negative national-security implications. This talk discusses wiretapping, the Internet, communications security, and national-security needs in this communications environment.


Susan Landau is Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems Laboratories, where she works on security, cryptography, and policy, including digital-rights management and surveillance issues. Landau had previously been a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts and Wesleyan University, where she worked in algebraic algorithms. She is coauthor, with Whitfield Diffie, of ``Privacy on the Line: the Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption'' (MIT Press, 1998). She is a member of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, a member of the editorial board of IEEE Security and Privacy, and she moderates the ``researcHers'' list, an international mailing list for women computer science researchers. Landau is an AAAS Fellow. She received her BA from Princeton, her MS from Cornell, and her PhD from MIT. Privacy on the Line: the Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption

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