Australia gives us an example of the powers given to intelligence agencies in this instance ASIO or the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
In case of difficulty, ASIO is empowered to enlist the help of the telecommunication carriers, to gain access to data.
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1999
Section 25A - Computer Access Warrant
Issue of computer access warrant
(1) If the Director-General requests the Minister to do so, and the Minister is satisfied as mentioned in subsection (2), the Minister may issue a warrant in accordance with this section.
Test for issue of warrant
(2) The Minister is only to issue the warrant if he or she is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that access by the Organisation to data held in a particular computer (the target computer) will substantially assist the collection of intelligence in accordance with this Act in respect of a matter (the security matter) that is important in relation to security.
Authorisation in warrant
(3) The warrant must be signed by the minister and must authorise the Organisation to do specific things, subject to any restrictions or conditions specified in the warrant, in relation to the target computer, which must also be specified in the warrant.
Things that may be authorised in warrant
(4) The things that may be specified are any of the following that the Minister considers appropriate in the circumstances:
(i) a computer or
(ii) a telecommunications facility operated or provided by the Commonwealth or a carrier; or
(iii) any other electronic equipment;
for the purpose of obtaining access to data that is relevant to the security matter and is stored in the target computer and, if necessary to achieve that purpose, adding, deleting or altering other data in the target computer.
(b) copying any data to which access has been obtained that appears to be relevant to the collection of intelligence by the Organisation in accordance with this Act;
(c) any thing reasonably necessary to conceal the fact that any thing has been done under the warrant;
(d) any other thing reasonably incidental to any of the above.
In common with Australia, laws are also being passed in other countries to ensure that carriers can be co-opted to help pry into private data.
In the United Kingdom, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, came into effect late in the year 2000 that allows police with a warrant to sift through a suspect's email and Internet traffic. "Black boxes" may be placed alongside an ISP's equipment, allowing law enforcers to read confidential encrypted messages.
In Russia, under the parliamentary act SORM-2 or Systems for Ensuring Investigative Activity, at least five government departments including the FSB, formerly the KGB, have the right to access an individual's email and monitor Internet traffic.