Push-to-talk wiretaps on feds' speed list

Justice Department urges FCC to deny extension request of Alltel, along with those of AT&T, Sprint.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
Declan McCullagh
The U.S. Department of Justice says Alltel, a telecommunications company with 12 million customers, must not receive an extension to make its "push to talk" service compatible with wiretaps. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission last month, the department said it "opposes the granting of any further extensions" to Alltel, which had wanted the requirements to be delayed until Jan. 30, 2006.

On Aug. 4, the FCC ruled that push-to-talk services on cell phones, which resemble walkie-talkies, are subject to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. The Justice Department also has objected to extensions for AT&T Wireless and Sprint.