A U.S. appeals court has upheld the government's authority to require broadband Internet service providers to allow law enforcement agencies to tap Internet phone calls and transmissions.
In Friday's ruling, the Washington court said a Federal Communications Commission order granting law enforcement access to Internet communications was legal.
The FCC order was an extension of a 1994 law, which required telephone companies to provide such access, but exempted the Internet. In the Friday ruling, the court held that allowing Internet wiretaps was a reasonable policy choice. However, one of the authors of the law said the ruling is contrary to Congress's intent.
The justice department said the decision will ensure that technology does not impede the ability of law enforcement to provide for national security.
An online civil liberties group called the ruling a threat to the privacy rights of innocent Americans.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.