Pushing to wiretap 'push to talk'

Friday, 16 April 2004, 5:22 PM EST

"The current technology to tap these calls doesn't exist," said a representative of Verizon Wireless, which this week told the Federal Communications Commission that it believes wiretapping laws apply to push-to-talk, a service that lets cell phone customers talk with the push of a button, like a walkie-talkie. "But being able to (wiretap push-to-talk calls) is different from believing we shouldn't be bound by law to do it."

Sprint and Alltel share Verizon's plight, according to an FBI representative. In fact, the only carrier capable of wiretapping push-to-talk calls is Nextel Communications, which is using an earlier version of the technology. Representatives of Sprint and Alltel could not immediately be reached for comment.

By Ben Charny at ZDNet.

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