Trap and Trace Device

Definition - What does Trap and Trace Device mean?

A trap and trace device is technology that records phone numbers that called into a specific telephone.

With a high potential to invade a person’s privacy, trap and trace devices are prohibited under federal law to those who have not first obtained a court order to use a trap and trace device. Government intelligence organizations must obtain a warrant to install a trap and trace device.

Justipedia explains Trap and Trace Device

Chapter 18, which forms the bulk of the United States Criminal Code, contains a general prohibition on trap and trace devices, as well as pen registers. Trap and trace devices are capable of pulling information from the electronic impulses forming a physical phone call. This information reveals which phone numbers were calling the phone that the trap and trace device is attached to.

Trap and trace devices are different from pen registers. Pen registers record outgoing calls made by a specific telephone.

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