Lawful Interception Law and Legal Definition

Lawful interception (LI) is the legally sanctioned official access to communications network data such as telephone calls or e-mail messages. LI must always be in pursuance to a lawful authority for the purpose of analysis or evidence. Therefore, LI is a security process in which a network operator or service provider gives law enforcement officials permission to access private communications of individuals or organizations. Almost all countries have drafted and enacted laws to regulate lawful interception procedures; standardization groups are creating LI technology specifications. Usually, LI activities are taken for the purpose of infrastructure protection and cyber security. However, operators of private network infrastructures can maintain LI capabilities within their own networks as an inherent right, unless otherwise prohibited. LI was formerly known as "wiretapping" and has existed since the inception of electronic communications.