Technical Committee (TC) Lawful Interception (LI) Activity Report 2023

Chair: Martin Kissel, Telefonica

Responsible for developing standards supporting the technical requirements of national and international obligations for law enforcement (including lawful interception and lawful disclosure).

Lawful Interception (LI) and Lawful Disclosure (LD) play a crucial role in the growth and development of the Information Society, by helping law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to investigate terrorism and serious criminal activity.

Bringing together the interests of governments and law enforcement agencies as well as mobile network operators and equipment vendors, ETSI’s committee on Lawful Interception (TC LI) develops standards supporting common international requirements for LEAs, including the interception of content and disclosure of electronic communications related data with supporting standards for warrantry and internal interfaces.

Working in partnership with other ETSI technical bodies, projects and partnerships, it is the primary responsibility of TC LI to develop standards that support industry compliance with the requirements of national and international law.

The committee’s role in these partnerships is in the development and publication of control and handover interfaces, and of rules for the delivery of technology specific interception or retained data.

In addition, TC LI acts in partnership with bodies inside and outside ETSI in capturing the requirements of users (LEAs - Law Enforcement Agencies), and translating those into requirements to be applied to technical specifications.

TC LI interacts with a number of bodies to make sure that LI and LD requirements are taken into account in the work of such bodies. Such regular interactions occur either through official liaison statements, or through informal reports at TC LI meetings by liaison officers who are delegates who also participate in the group(s) they report from. These bodies notably include:

  • 3GPP SA (Services and System Aspects), especially SA3-LI (Lawful Interception), but also SA3 (Security), SA2 (Architecture), SA5 (Telecom Management) and SA1 (Services);
  • 3GPP CT (Core Networks and Terminals) Plenary;
  • ETSI related groups: oneM2M/SmartM2M, TCs Cyber, ITS, TCCE, ISGs NFV, MEC, ENI, NIN;
  • GSMA;
  • ITU-T SGs 13 (Future networks & cloud) and 17 (Security).

During 2023 the committee continued to review and revise its suite of LI and LD deliverables. Of particular importance are regular published updates for the multipart Technical Specification ‘Handover Interface and Service-Specific Details (SSD) for IP delivery’:

Ongoing work to update this multipart specification represents the substantial effort of leading experts to ensure that ETSI continues to publish world-class LI and LD standards. In addition, several other specifications and reports continue to be revised as necessary on an ongoing basis, based on proposals by TC LI Members approved by the group.

Further revisions to existing Technical Specifications and Technical Reports published in 2023 included:

Meanwhile the committee made progress on further Work Items, notably:

  • Technical Specification (to be published as TS 103 705) on Data Structures for Lawful Disclosure. This work specifies flexible and extensible data structures for LD to be used in combination with existing ETSI handover interface standards, e.g. TS 103 120 or TS 103 462.
  • Technical Specification (to be published as TS 103 976) on Interface for Lawful Disclosure of vehicle-related data. This defines an interface between two parties to make lawful requests for data relating to vehicles, and to respond to those requests where appropriate. Usage of the interface will not jeopardize the safety and security of the vehicles involved and takes into account the boundaries of the responsibilities of the parties involved.
  • Technical Specification (to be published as TS 104 000) on Internal Network Interface X0. This defines the electronic interface X0 between a central LI administration function (ADMF) and any Element of LI (ELI) concerning the initial automation of configuration of ELIs also covering virtualized environments. The specification will support the initial trust establishment of the LI interfaces to secure that LI functions get only identities (certificates) for LI after being verified (e.g. using attestation) and endorsed for LI use.
  • Technical Specification (to be published as TS 104 007) on Lawful Interception Architecture. This provides a comprehensive overview of the technical framework and components involved in facilitating lawful interception of communications for law enforcement agencies. The specification will outline key principles, standards and protocols governing lawful interception, including roles and responsibilities.

As in previous years, in June 2023 the TC LI Chair, SA3-LI Chair and Technical Officer participated as speakers at the annual ISS World Europe conference in Prague. This event always features a dedicated ETSI TC LI session, showcasing work in SA3-LI and a presentation of ETSI and 3GPP activities.

See the full list of TC LI Work Items currently in development here.