The skepticism, expressed so openly toward the government’s case during oral arguments before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, emboldened civil-liberties and education groups who argued that the U.S. improperly applied telephone-era rules to a new generation of Internet services. The court’s decision is expected within several months.
“Your argument makes no sense,” Judge Harry T. Edwards told FCC lawyer Jacob Lewis. “When you go back to the office, have a big chuckle. I’m not missing this. This is ridiculous.” At another point, Judge Edwards called the FCC arguments “gobbledygook” and “nonsense.”
Judge Edwards appeared skeptical over the FCC’s decision to require that providers of Internet phone service and broadband services ensure their equipment can accommodate police wiretaps under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. The rules go into effect in May 2007.