Lawful Interception

Addressing the Complexities of 5G and MIoT

Lawful interception (LI) is a statutory obligation of communication providers to ensure and maintain interception capabilities. They must be able to intercept all applicable communications of a specified target without any gaps in coverage and must provide a network to transmit the intercepted information to the relevant law enforcement agency. Checks and balances protect citizens’ privacy. LI has nothing to do with mass surveillance and government hacking, which are fundamentally illegal in democracies.

Most countries share the view that lawful interception must be standardsbased to achieve interoperability and smooth co-operation between law enforcement and service providers, lower product costs, international law enforcement co-operation and adequate data protection. Given the rapid development of technology and communication patterns, lawful interception is characterised by frequent updates to regulation and technical specifications.

Quality, speed, security and capacity are the main LI challenges experienced by service providers, and the roll-out of 5G exacerbates those challenges and requires a new LI approach. 3GPP has developed a new, more complex LI framework architecture, which addresses the service-based, cloudnative architecture of 5G. Extreme 50 Gbps-range future bandwidths, virtualisation, multi-access edge computing, network slicing, enhanced user authentication and stronger data encryption are the most prominent new LI challenges that arise from 5G.

Regulators in different parts of the world are taking steps to bring cloud-based communication services into the framework of electronic communications regulation, which increases the LI implications for internet and cloud-based communication service providers.

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