Skip to comments.State Department funds Mexican wiretap system
Posted on 05/01/2007 7:14:15 PM PDT by BGHater
With the help of the U.S. Government and a U.S.-based technology company, the Government of Mexico plans to install a communications interception system that would enable its federal investigations agency to monitor and record any landline, cellular or voice over IP telephone call made anywhere in Mexico, in an effort to thwart narcotics trafficking and terrorism.
On February 23, the U.S. State Department awarded a contract worth nearly $3 million to Verint Technology, Inc., of Melville, NY, to install the multi-faceted interception system for Mexicos Agencia Federal de Investigacions, or AFI, which will include a monitoring center located at AFIs headquarters in Mexico City.
The telephone intercept system shall provide real-time interception, monitoring, and recording of phone calls made through TSPs [telephone service providers] and selected from a database of target phone numbers, explained a statement of work posted online by the State Departments bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs in late 2005, when this plan was first unveiled.
The database of targeted phone numbers will be able to accommodate as many as 8 million sessions, said the solicitation. It will allow AFI operators to monitor up to 60 calls plus four fax transmissions simultaneously.
The monitoring center shall provide its operators with the ability to program each phone number targeted for interception, without depending on the cellular telephony providers across the regions that make up the entire national territory to be covered, said the State Department document.
A spokesman for Verint, Jayson Schkloven, said the company refrains from talking about such systems beyond what it has publicly disclosed. The only feedback I can provide is that Verint communications interception solutions are sold to government and law enforcement organizations and are used to combat crime and terrorism, he said.
A spokesman for the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, DC said his embassy had no comment on this matter.
Susan Pittman, a spokeswoman for the State Departments bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, confirmed that the contract was awarded to Verint on February 23 as part of the U.S. Governments assistance package to the Government of Mexico to support that countrys law enforcement efforts.
In addition to intercepting voice phone calls, the system will allow Mexican law enforcement authorities to intercept e-mail, chat messages and file transfers.
According to the State Departments description of the projects requirements, the equipment must comply with all applicable Mexican, international and U.S. laws, including the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), the wiretapping law passed by Congress in 1994.
The Verint system is intended to help ensure that the Mexican Government will have information in a timely manner needed to thwart criminal and terrorist activity and to deter those who strive to exploit U.S. and Mexico national weaknesses, said the State Departments document.
The communications systems data storage capacity should be able to save 25,000 hours -- thats nearly three years -- worth of intercepted telephone conversations. It will also be able to locate in real time targets on a cartographic plan, using a software tool from MapInfo Corp., of Troy, NY.
The system Verint will supply to the Mexican Government is likely to be based on its STAR-GATE product which consists of a full range of circuit-switched and packet data lawful intercept solutions.
As a leader in this market, said Dan Bodner, Verints president and CEO, in a press release about STAR-GATE that did not specifically mention Mexico, we are committed to helping service providers around the world reduce the complexity of complying with local lawful interception regulations and facilitate the delivery of communications to law enforcement and government agencies.
The Mexican system probably will create a data bank of voices that can be utilized for comparison, recognition and identification, by drawing upon the speech analytics capabilities that Verint has been developing.
With Verints recent agreement to combine with Witness Systems, we believe there is a significant opportunity to expand the reach of our speech analytics solutions across our combined customer base and beyond the traditional boundaries of the contact center, explained Bodner in a press release on February 27 that also did not cite Mexico specifically.
Verint and Witness Systems, Inc., a software firm based in Roswell, GA, announced on February 12 that Verint would acquire Witness Systems for approximately $950 million.
While the new system is intended to enhance the ability of Mexicos law enforcement establishment to intercept worrisome phone calls, it may also arouse the concerns of civil libertarians on both sides of the border.
Typo, please change mach to march for the date.
You see, certain American laws do not allow the various alphabet soup govt. agencies to monitor American citizens. So how do bureaucrats avoid this little inconvenience? They get the intelligence services of other countries to monitor US citizens. In the 80's the British were keeping tabs on us, as our intelligence agency's were keeping tabs on British citizens. That way, if the head of sans intelligence service were ever called on the carpet in front of Congress or Parliament, they could honestly say that they were not breaking any laws by monitoring their own citizens.
It seems that the Mexicans will be taking over for the Brits.
1. This is practice for doing it in the US.
2. I have yet to see a government software project of this size come in on time and within budget. And that's with Americans running it. This is to be turned over to Mexicans.
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