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Federal Wiretaps Up 71% In 2012 (Up In 2010)

From the Washington Post:

Number of federal wiretaps rose 71 percent in 2012

By Peter Finn | June 28, 2013

The number of wiretaps secured in federal criminal investigations jumped 71 percent in 2012 over the previous year, according to newly released figures.

Federal courts authorized 1,354 interception orders for wire, oral and electronic communications, up from 792 the previous year, according to the figures, released Friday by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. There was a 5 percent increase in state and local use of wiretaps in the same period.

If this were just about crime, wouldn’t it be the same?

The office collects the figures from federal and local jurisdictions at the request of Congress, but does not interpret the statistics. There is no explanation of why the federal figures increased so much, and it is generally out of line with the number of wiretaps between 1997 and 2009, which averaged 550 annually. A large number of wiretaps was also reported in 2010, when 1,207 were secured…

Gee, both 2010 and 2012 were election years, weren’t they?

A single wiretap can sweep up thousands of communications. One 30-day local wiretap in California, for instance, generated 185,268 cellular telephone interceptions, of which 12 percent were incriminating, according to the report.

The vast majority of the wiretaps in both federal and state cases were obtained as part of drug investigations, and they overwhelmingly were directed at cellphones, according to the report

Really? Has Obama heightened the war on drugs? Why have we seen no uptick in convictions?

The amount of encryption being encountered by law enforcement authorities is also increasing, and for the first time, “jurisdictions have reported that encryption prevented officials from obtaining the plain text of the communications,” the report noted.

Which, if true, is a very significant development. And it will only become more of a problem for the police after all of these NSA stories.

Officials said 3,743 people were arrested as a result of the interceptions in 2012, and so far 455 have been convicted.

So is that a 71% increase over past years? We suspect not.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, July 1st, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Federal Wiretaps Up 71% In 2012 (Up In 2010)”

  1. “Can you hear me now?”

    “Hell, we can see you now. Stop that and put your pants back on … “


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