A mixed court ruling on the issue of whether a 12-year-old wiretapping law can be expanded to include internet phone calls and broadband transmissions has given new hope to school leaders concerned that the law's expansion could force them to upgrade their telecommunications networks.

Though a federal appeals court ruled 2-1 in favor of the Federal Communications Commission, which says equipment using the new technologies must be able to accommodate police wiretaps under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), it left open the possibility that schools and other operators of private

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