The Basics of Lawful Interception and 5G Considerations



A communication service provider (CSP) was in search of automated testing solutions. Like most providers, they wanted to verify speed and performance for voice and data on 2G, 3G, LTE, and 5G.

They also wanted an automated testing solution to validate lawful interception (LI) compliance. They had recently received an LI warrant from a law enforcement agency and were unable to provide all the required data quickly, putting them at risk for fines.

So often, a CSP is focused on performance and doesn’t necessarily recognize the criticality of LI compliance until it isn’t working. 

What Is Lawful Interception?

Lawful interception (LI) refers to the technical capabilities of CSPs to collect, store and transfer communications data to law enforcement databases. Law enforcement agencies issue warrants for telecommunications data to fight crime, prevent terrorism and ensure national security. 

LI regulations pertain to metadata, web browsing history, call detail records (CDR) and actual communications over voice, SMS text, emails, and other messaging apps. Law enforcement agencies can issue warrants for ongoing surveillance or historical data.

Non-compliance with LI regulations can result in hefty penalties and risks to licensing.

The Complexities

Years ago, LI was simply about wiretapping telephones. Today, we have various communication channels and radio signals. As a result, LI compliance has become increasingly complex.

CSPs must store historical data, perform ongoing surveillance, identify relevant data, and transfer the information securely to law enforcement agency databases. Security procedures and controls are vital to safeguard the privacy of non-suspects and prevent the detection of the investigation.

Continuous monitoring is essential. Ongoing automated testing verifies that technical capabilities are sustained throughout upgrades and migrations.

Quick and Flawless Response

Immediate response is required when a law enforcement agency issues an LI court order. Law enforcement can’t wait multiple days for CSP to pull the requested data or begin surveillance.

Meanwhile, the CSP must avoid providing unnecessary data that could confuse the investigation or violate the privacy of non-suspects.

5G Implications

How does 5G impact LI compliance? This is a critical consideration as CSPs future-proof their testing operations.


LI compliance is a critical aspect to consider as architecture is migrated from 4G to 5G to ensure data is available, accurate and consistent.

Increased Encryption

There are significantly more encryption interfaces in the 5G architecture compared to 4G, presenting additional layers of complexity and interoperability intricacies.

SEGRON Can Help You Maintain LI Compliance

SEGRON’s Automated Testing Framework (ATF) helps you verify compliance with LI regulations. With each network update and migration, the ATF facilitates a series of test scripts to generate the reference data that interfaces with law enforcement’s database.

Ongoing monitoring verifies your LI compliance is always on par. Alarms notify the appropriate personnel immediately if concerns are identified. Tools for reporting and evaluation enable rapid troubleshooting, root cause analysis, and resolution.Contact us to discover how SEGRON’s active testing solutions can help you monitor LI compliance and future-proof your test bench.