Due to the federal Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) network access at American University is limited. Please see below for more information.
Public computer access, including access to electronic journal and database resources, is available at three terminals on the first floor.
What is CALEA?
CALEA, enacted in 1994, requires that telephone companies ensure that their networks do not impede law enforcement agencies from setting up wiretaps. In 2005 the scope of the law was extended to include all "facilities-based" Internet service providers. However, the law has provisions that exempt private networks, such as those operated by many colleges and universities, from such regulation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
What is a "private network"?
Neither the statute nor the FCC's rules define the term. However, it's strongly suggested that interconnected networks will be considered private when made available only to limited constituencies, rather than to the general public. Thus, campus networks that exclude the public at large, such as those that require University ID cards or password authentication, would likely be considered private.
To continue to offer access to the internet to the public at large, a service the AU Library has long offered, is to increase the likelihood that the campus network will be deemed "public" and thus subject to CALEA.
Why doesn't the university provide a public network and comply with CALEA?
The costs of complying with CALEA are daunting. An institution with a network not deemed private is required to provide equipment, systems, and people to perform Service Provider administration, access control, and data delivery to law enforcement agencies. Additional costs to the university would include training and background checks and staffing a 24/7 point of contact for law enforcement agencies. University administrators estimate that the costs could reach into the millions.
Can I still use the library?
The library will continue to be open to the public. Visitors are welcome to use our books, videos, and periodicals onsite for research and recreation. More information regarding resources available to visitors can be found here.
What is an Associate Borrower and can I become one?
The Associate Borrowing Program enables persons not affiliated with the American University or the WRLC to borrow from the University Library's general collection and access the Internet in the library.
Where can I learn more about the law?