Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog

From 2012 to 2013, federal and state surveillance from wiretaps of oral, wire, and electronic communications increased an astonishing five percent. This electronic eavesdropping, while seemingly invasive, is considered lawful interception in the United States. Used as an investigative tool, wiretaps serve as government means for collecting evidence on various offenses. Notably, illegal drugs were the most common offense investigated through wiretapping in 2013. As most wiretapping devices emit no audible sounds, many Americans are unaware that the government is listening in on private conversations. Surveillance devices include pen registers, which capture outgoing dialed numbers, trap and trace devices, which capture incoming dialed numbers, and recording applications. Almost 97% of these devices are used on “portable devices,” such as cell phones and digital pagers. However, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act extends federal surveillance abilities to transmissions of electronic data by computer.

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