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Secret Service to beef up its ability to intercept voice and data communications

The U.S. Secret Service wants to replace its existing telecommunications interception system with a new, all-inclusive intercept platform that can collect, analyze, decode and reconstruct voice, data and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) communications.

The new system will be used by approximately 250 Secret Service analysts, monitors and administrators, on a 24/7 basis, according to a sources sought notice published on May 12 by the DHS component.

“The system must be able to decode multiple specified common telecommunications application & network protocols,” said the agency. It must also support the automatic translation of intercepted messages in “numerous highly specific foreign languages,” which the Secret Service did not identify.

The new system must be suitable for communications intercepts that fall under the purview of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, known as CALEA, as well as “non-CALEA” communications, said the Secret Service.

The agency is requesting that vendors that are able to supply such equipment send in their capabilities statements by June 9.

The notice said the collection platform must be accessible, via secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections, by remote clients, who must still be able to enjoy complete functionality on the centralized system.

“The platform must have a robust architecture to handle high traffic flows (at a minimum of 600 Megabits per Second/Mbps) to accommodate the simultaneous intercepts required with full IP content,” says the sources sought document. “In addition, the platform must process and rebuild two million sessions per day automatically to properly maintain appropriate input without undue backlog buildups.”

The intercept system must be able to input data from network sniffers and network analyzers, or from cell phone forensic data.

A recent report from Frost & Sullivan observed that it might be in the best interest of governments to guarantee that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) maintain sufficient lawful interception capabilities, rather than simply piling new requirements on top of those ISPs, as GSN reported on May 17.

Further information about the Secret Service’s sources sought notice is available from Melanie Vennemann at 202-406-6940 or [email protected]


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