European Telecommunications Standards Institute

Author: Richard Coppens, CEO at Group 2000

One of the Technical Committees of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is responsible for developing standards that support the technical requirements of national and international obligations for law enforcement: the Technical Committee on Lawful Interception (TC-LI). Group 2000 actively participates in the work of TC-LI.

The recent developments of TC-LI are lawful disclosure and 5G.

Lawful Disclosure
Telecom operators have obligations (by local law) to support law enforcement agencies in various ways. The most well-known obligation is lawful interception that deals with the real-time capture of communication. There is another obligation however: to provide information about subscriptions and about the mobile network. This obligation is called lawful disclosure.

While there have been ETSI standards for lawful interception for twenty years, there are no ETSI standards to support and harmonize lawful disclosure. This year, ETSI TC-LI will start working to provide standards that support lawful disclosure.

A disclosure request requires a warrant, just as lawful interception requires a warrant. The existing standard for formulating a lawful interception request will be extended so that a lawful disclosure request can be expressed as well. In this way, the framework that is in place for transferring the warrant is re-used.

The information that is obtained as a result of a lawful disclosure request is very diverse, ranging from e.g. the location of a cell-tower, to payment details for a specific subscription. It is expected that TC-LI will start working on a new standard that is able to express such data.

The new standard for the handover of intercepted material between law enforcement organizations of different counties will be extended for lawful disclosure as well, based on the previously mentioned specifications. For the legal basis and infrastructure between the countries, the eCodex network (www.e-codex.eu) is considered.

The 5G revolution
The ETSI standards for the internal-network-interfaces are used for 5G lawful interception. These standards, as well as the handover standard, are being updated to support 5G specific parameters. The impact of the much higher bandwidths that 5G offers will be studied as well.

As your architects in safety and intelligence we provide valuable input to ETSI. Once the standards are there we comply in full with the 5G ETSI standards ensuring you a robust and committed 5G compliance environment.