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Despite Controversy, Federal Wiretaps On the Rise 149

Posted by timothy
from the most-transparent-administration-ever dept.
coondoggie writes with a report that "Federal and state requests for court permission to intercept or wiretap electronic communications increased 34% in 2010 over 2009 with California, New York, and New Jersey accounting for 68% of all wire taps approved by state judges. According to the 2010 Wiretap Report, released today by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) the most frequently noted location in wiretap requests was 'portable device,' a category that includes cellular telephones and digital pagers."
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Despite Controversy, Federal Wiretaps On the Rise

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  • by Eightbitgnosis (1571875) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @10:23PM (#36630106) Homepage
    It's easier for the moment, and will be true shortly
    • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @10:25PM (#36630120) Homepage

      I hate when an obviously trolly statement is actually the 100% truth.

      I think I'll go back to sticking my head in the sand, a much happier place there.

      • by econolog (2081738)
        lol... this is just the tip of the iceberg buddy.
        • by lexsird (1208192)

          Indeed! Rise of the smart phones; what lovely devices to proliferate about the country side. Built in GPS and video camera and cameras, and a computer capable of recording from any of these sources. Store the data, send it off, whatever. Blue Tooth stuff in there too. What kind of fun and games can we have with bluetooth if we have a serious hardon for it?

          Shall we discuss Wi-Fi and all the fun stuff there? The list goes on and on. Seriously? Are they that primitive that they are worrying over some wiretaps?

      • by jcoy42 (412359)

        Your plan is no fun.

        My plan is to do so much messed up stuff they decide to ignore it because they don't want to get stuck with the paperwork.

        • by Fluffeh (1273756)

          Your plan is no fun.

          My plan is to do so much messed up stuff they decide to ignore it because they don't want to get stuck with the paperwork.

          LulzSec, is that you?

        • by TheCarp (96830)

          You do realize what they get paid for overtime right?

          • by jcoy42 (412359)

            The trick is to make sure it's all just facepalm stuff in the hopes that they realize they're going about it all wrong.

        • My plan is to do so much messed up stuff they decide to ignore it because they don't want to get stuck with the paperwork.

          My plan is to do stuff that is SO messed up, they ignore it because they don't want to lose their lunch.

          FBI agent: "Sir, we had to stop monitoring interkin3tic"
          FBI head: "What? Why?!? That guy's too dangerous to ignore!"
          FBI agent: "You've heard of two chicks one cup?"
          FBI head: "Sadly yes... why?"
          FBI agent: "Well sir, the last 3 agents assigned to monitor his computer went completely catatonic. The fourth just rocks back and forth muttering 'ten chicks, no cup.'"

      • by jcoy42 (412359) on Friday July 01, 2011 @01:11AM (#36630718) Homepage Journal

        You know, back when Phil Zimmerman was under fire for PGP, we (the geek community) stepped up and used PGP for trivial messages, thereby lending it strength, and making it pointless to bother working to decrypt the messages.

        And he WON.

        Based on you getting a +5 for saying you want to bury your head in the sand, I'd say we're just throwing the battle. And I'd say you're a jackass.

        Don't let the FUD take you down. They're just grunts who want a day off eating hot dogs with the family same as you. If they want to be assholes for a few bucks they won't even remember having earned in 6 months, let them waste their time. But make sure it's a waste of time. Make sure it's a HUGE waste of time. Because they're the ones we want to keep busy.

        • by MacTO (1161105)

          The assumption isn't submitting to assholes, it is an acknowlegement of reality.

          Personal anecdote, so treat it as you will, but one of the most important acknowlegements in my life was that of "personal" and "public" spaces. We cannot expect privacy when we say something publically, and we shoud expect priacay in our personal communications.

          Unfortunately, the internet was developed as a public space. Even psudo-private discussions aren't much more private than chatting with a friend on the bus. So, if yo

        • You know, back when Phil Zimmerman was under fire for PGP, we (the geek community) stepped up and used PGP for trivial messages, thereby lending it strength, and making it pointless to bother working to decrypt the messages.

          And he WON.

          Based on you getting a +5 for saying you want to bury your head in the sand, I'd say we're just throwing the battle. And I'd say you're a jackass.

          Don't let the FUD take you down. They're just grunts who want a day off eating hot dogs with the family same as you. If they want to be assholes for a few bucks they won't even remember having earned in 6 months, let them waste their time. But make sure it's a waste of time. Make sure it's a HUGE waste of time. Because they're the ones we want to keep busy.

          I wish I still had those mod points that I splurged away yesterday because your comment is right on target. Sticking your head in the sand is not the answer because eventually you will run out of sand and have to face reality. Better deal with it now while you still have a chance to make things right.

      • I hate when an obviously trolly statement is actually the 100% truth.

        I think I'll go back to sticking my head in the sand, a much happier place there.

        According to the fine report, there were 3,194 wiretaps authorized in 2010. That is roughly 1 wiretap for every 94,000 Americans. On average 118 people's communications were intercepted per wiretap (no doubt including pizza delivery, crank calls, and telemarketing).

        So tell me, when did you become overwhelmed with fear and despair? Was it crossing the line of 1 wiretap for every 100,000 Americans to 1 wiretap for every 94,000 Americans? Personally, I would expect that genuine fascism and oppression would

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)

        I hate when an obviously trolly statement is actually the 100% truth.

        Then mod the lawmakers down, not the people commenting their works.

      • I think I'll go back to sticking my head in the sand, a much happier place there.

        And harder to wiretap.

    • by bledri (1283728)
      On a related note, my banner Ad for this story was OmniPerscepton's CheckPoint.S "real time facial recognition software."
    • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Friday July 01, 2011 @12:15AM (#36630568)

      It's all very disappointing to me, a life long Democrat and card carrying bleeding heart liberal... I voted for Obama with great hopes for open government and a roll-back of the affront that is the Patriot act.

      Yet, under the guy that the Republican and Tea Party folks love to hate, the guy that Darth Chaney never passes a chance to skewer - under Obama the Patriot act continues to exist without a peep fro the People's President, whistle-blower prosecutions have never been higher, and the TSA continues to emulate the Sturmabteilung [slashdot.org] unabated. And we are still entrenched in the Middle East, pumping trillions into the pockets of corrupt "defense contractors" and corrupt Third World chieftains...

      I've tried explaining to people why it is that in reality we live in a Police State that is little better than the former East Germany, but most people still don't get it.

      From THX1138: It all happened so slowly that most men failed to realize that anything had happened at all.

      Just so, so disappointing, I find myself wondering if I should have voted for McCain and that twit from Alaska. In 2012, I may just throw my vote away in the presidential election and vote my heart, it can't possible get any worse.

      • ...it can't possible get any worse.

        Maybe you should take a little trip to Africa, Asia, or even anywhere south of the Rio Grande.. It will get a hell of a lot worse before the damn couch potatoes ever get up to do anything more than take a piss, or beat their wives because dinner wasn't ready at six sharp..

      • If you're a liberal, why have you been voting for Democrats? Liberals Love Liberty, don't they?

        • If you're a liberal, why have you been voting for Democrats? Liberals Love Liberty, don't they?

          Liberals love a certain amount of socially responsible "liberty". But there's more to it, as you well know, for example a strong support of the concepts social responsibility.
           
          I think you are thinking about "libertarians" .

          • Liberals love a certain amount of socially responsible "liberty". But there's more to it, as you well know, for example a strong support of the concepts social responsibility.

            Responsibility? Liberals, through effect, detest responsibility and seek to stamp it out where found. It would mean self control, which would mean the state was not IN control, and of course THAT would not be good.

            Theres nothing working so well it cannot be regulated, no personal choice so inane the law should not have a formalized o

          • by aekafan (1690920)
            I think you mean "Classical Liberal", which has nothing at all to do with modern "progressives" or "Liberals". Liberal are just as willing to accept fascism as any conservative, as long as it is their guy running the show, or a "socially responsible" fascism. What a lark. Liberals are nothing of the sort, and wouldn't know liberty if it slapped them in the face
            • by Atzanteol (99067)

              This is why we need a super majority of the opposite party in congress. Congress is quickly becoming "yes-(wo)men" for the president since democrats won't vote against a democrat president (and vice-versa). The president can now go to war without permission, order assassinations of US citizens, and wiretap the fuck out of whomever he wants.

              It's going to be a very bad day when somebody less 'nice' gets a hold of that position... And if his/her party holds even a slight majority in congress we're screwed a

      • Just so, so disappointing, I find myself wondering if I should have voted for McCain and that twit from Alaska.

        You should have voted in Palin (McCain probably would have just ended up a figurehead). She is as close to a libertarian as we are likely to get in a candidate for some time. If you feel like the police state is encroaching the ONLY solution is ambler government. Smaller government cannot spy on you as well. Government spending less does not have the funds to spy on you as much.

        Stop listening t

        • by Atzanteol (99067)

          What we *need* to start doing is voting third party. Any third party. Palin is a republican and would have done as the party wants. She needs to if she wanted the money and support necessary to win election. Money corrupts. And you're kidding yourself if you think either of the two parties will do anything about it. I believe we should make political parties illegal and declare that no candidate or elected official is allowed to accept contributions beyond some low fixed amount.

        • by N0Man74 (1620447)

          McCain would take haven a backseat to Palin? Really?

          Additionally, the only issues that Palin anywhere close to a Libertarian are the same issues that just about any Republican (or Tea Party candidate) just happen to share with Libertarians.

          Just because she supports the right to bear arms and says we need smaller government doesn't maker her a libertarian.

      • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        It really isn't nearly as bad as the Soviet Union, East Germany or the DPRK.

        "Full-time officers were posted to all major industrial plants (the extensiveness of any surveillance largely depended on how valuable a product was to the economy) and one tenant in every apartment building was designated as a watchdog reporting to an area representative of the Volkspolizei (Vopo). Spies reported every relative or friend who stayed the night at another's apartment. Tiny holes were drilled in apartment and hotel roo

        • by Atzanteol (99067)

          You're right, it isn't that bad. But "if you see something, say something" campaigns, vast unwarranted wire-tapping, courts ordering you have no right to resist an illegal search of your home, surveillance cameras becoming more prevailant, the president ordering death sentences and going to war at will, etc.it's a lot worse than it used to be. And these are things that NO democrat or republican will undo for fear of being "soft on terrorism."

      • what you have proved (and may conclude) is that it DOES NOT MATTER who is in office. the talking head does what its told.

        and I don't believe it does matter anymore. proof: look at countries across the world. its not obama there; but its a reduction of freedom EVERYWHERE. name one country - just one - that has gone forward in privacy rights for citizens.

        they ALL have encroached. all.

        sorry, I like hating obama too (hate the repubs worse, though) but its not about him. its a power grab that mankind canno

      • by Atzanteol (99067)

        It's all very disappointing to me, a life long Democrat and card carrying bleeding heart liberal... I voted for Obama with great hopes for open government and a roll-back of the affront that is the Patriot act.

        Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

        Oh, wait. You're serious. Let me laugh even harder

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        It is in both parties' best interests to keep the power given to them by the other. Why would Obama give up any authority? He's done nothing but expand upon Bush's policies and he can get away with it better since the press isn't as hard on Democrats. Can you imagine the outrage if GWB ordered the assassination of a US citizen? When Obama does it there's barely a whimper. Why is nobody camp

      • by bogjobber (880402)

        I've tried explaining to people why it is that in reality we live in a Police State that is little better than the former East Germany, but most people still don't get it.

        Maybe they don't get it because you're being more than a little hyperbolic there?

        In 2012, I may just throw my vote away in the presidential election and vote my heart, it can't possible get any worse.

        Um, it can, and probably will get much worse than this. Hell, at least in this situation we know that they are wiretapping us and for mo

      • I've tried explaining to people why it is that in reality we live in a Police State that is little better than the former East Germany, but most people still don't get it.

        Duh, that's because we're a lot better than former East Germany. You do realize they were shooting people who tried to escape, right?

        From THX1138: It all happened so slowly that most men failed to realize that anything had happened at all.

        Well this explains a lot.........conspiracy theories appeal to those who are more familiar with how Hollywood works than with how the real world works. Do yourself a favor and read Hardball [amazon.com]. Forget about the politics of the idiot who wrote it, when it comes to political strategy, he does a good job outlining it.

        Just so, so disappointing, I find myself wondering if I should have voted for McCain and that twit from Alaska.

        No, you really shouldn't have.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @10:24PM (#36630110)
    So, we keep reducing the barriers to wiretaps and surveillance, and the police engage in more wiretapping and surveillance. Is this a surprise?
  • by cultiv8 (1660093)
    They've been looking for me in some strange places if they're tracking my digital pager.
  • by BenBoy (615230) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @10:45PM (#36630190)
    It's not "despite" controversy, it's "regardless". They're not struggling against public opinion, they just don't care.
    • by macraig (621737)

      ^^ This.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      There is a non-trivial number of voters who care more about "security" and "keeping America safe" than civil liberties.

      All three of my Congressweasels are the same way, and one of them's not even a Republican.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "with California, New York, and New Jersey accounting for 68% of all wire taps approved by state judges" - isn't that because those three states account for a larger percentage of the population then the rest of the US? It'd make sense for more taps to be implemented where there's more people...

  • What is being discussed in TFA are the known requests, but the article is completely unclear if each of these requests involved a warrant.

    The more critical problem that "we the people" are most concerned about are the surveillance requests that do NOT involve a warrant, meaning that there is NO oversight into any reasoning or explanation for Just Cause, and instead tapping is done "just because". Previous stories seem to indicate that these warrantless taps are often under-reported or unreported.

    Was there

  • FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by U8MyData (1281010) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @10:50PM (#36630214)
    I was about to write a comment last night on another story, but I thought better and maybe shouldn't have. At what point do the citizens of this country exercise their rights? We have allowed the government or a collection of very messed up people to errode everything we have stood for since the beginning of this country in the name a national security against an enemy that is relatively nameless, faceless, and, shall I say, low rent. These guys are ruthless, but they are not particularly as dangerous as many would like us to believe. I'd love to see a group of radicalized Hell's Angles take on a grounp of radicalized Taliban in an Octogon. I'd pay money to see that. I am tired, very tired, of living in fear of the unknown and improbable. FUD, as everyone knows, motivates people in ways that is akin to manipulation, but I pretty much guarantee there will be a point where enough is enough. Can we get back to a civilized nation or is it too late? For the sticking your head in the sand notion, that won't work because they *will* find a reason to make that suspicious and pull it out to see what you're "hiding."
    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      The only way to stop this erosion is to make it to difficult for them to keep going. What's stopping them currently? A little bad press, some dissent amoung minority groups (like the general crowd here) - but not much else.

      A few courtcases that end up with solid settlements AGAINST the offices of law enforcement for breaking these liberties will put a bit of a brake on things however. The managers and bosses of these agencies are all about statistics - but only after budgets. Start cutting into their spendi

      • A few courtcases that end up with solid settlements AGAINST the offices of law enforcement for breaking these liberties

        really? you think the system will fix itself?

        courts, LEOs, politicians: they all play in the same sandbox and like the same things in life. basically all the same kinds of people. ie, NOT like us. not rational and not governed by right and wrong. they are governed by power and are drunk by it.

        there won't be court cases that fight for OUR privacy. OUR privacy is an obstacle to their 'n

        • by U8MyData (1281010)
          Respectfully I disagree. Judges have a conscience, they have to or should. If not, we are really screwed. They are certainly lawyers at first, but they also have lasting opinions and judgements. I hope they think carefully in the years to come. I hope some read /.
          • by Whuffo (1043790)

            You might be surprised to find that judges are people just like us. Law is their day job and they don't like it any more than most folks like their jobs.

            They ease the struggle a little by associating with those who carry the same burden; check the cafes near to courthouses at lunchtime and you'll find the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney, and the judge enjoying lunch together. You can speculate about what they talk about; you'd probably be correct.

            One thing that is always true: Judges are almost a

    • mostly agreed.

      and if the hell's angles won't take the job, I bet heaven's planars will.

    • Re:FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

      by argStyopa (232550) on Friday July 01, 2011 @09:32AM (#36632822) Journal

      Sadly, one of the defenses against FUD is willful ignorance, and it's not a bad one.

      Bear with me please while I explain.

      I grew up in a rural MN town, and shook my head in patronizing amazement that these poor ignorant farmers would sit and have coffee and chat about local crap. It was always variations on a few simple themes, about their neighbors, sports, the weather, local events and scandals, etc..
      As a self-identified 'world citizen' long before such was cool, I would spend hours poring over world news in the newspapers. I generally skipped the local stuff (and never 'bothered' with the local paper at all) - who cared about such trivialities when the Cold War was going on? (this was in the 1970-1980s). Momentous things were happening in the shift of world geopolitics! National policy changes portended significant changes in the way our government works and how things will be in the next few years!

      Now in middle age, I've discovered something. Willful ignorance works. I used to get really worked-up about politics and policy. But more and more, I just find all politicians (even the ones I allegedly agree with) tiresome and identical. The only people who reach the level of serious political involvement on a state and national stage seem to be so deeply co-opted by their party affiliations and fundraising requirements that they have no principles that remain to exceed their self-interest.

      (And yes, for the readers who are Democrats: it's *clearly* Republicans who are whores to big business while Dem politicians are simply hard-working joes doing their best in difficult circumstances. For Republicans, the Dems are either pollyannish and ignorant, or whores to organized Labor/Lawyers, while Republican politicians are the only ones who actually care about their country. (rollseyes))

      What I've found is that by ignoring international news, ignoring national news, not watching a single minute of any news channel, and only pretty much involving myself in local community issues including volunteering with the Boy Scouts, local faith organizations, and our schools - I'm one HELL of a lot happier most of the time.

      I've (re)discovered what those 'ignorant' Norwegian farmers knew all those years ago either by choice or instinct: Nothing really changes. The government's always going to heck. The world is always going to heck. The grossly wealthy continue to manipulate the system for their benefit in collusion with the politicians, and will continue to screw everyone else for their own ends. One can either get worked up and fulminate about it 24/7, or one can go about ones' business and try to be happy, raise a balanced, intelligent, contributive family.

      I have a friend who has always been intensely political. Every conversation with him is still an interesting challenge (we're on the opposite sides of the political fence) that forces me to question my assumptions and evaluate my givens, so to speak. For that I value his friendship tremendously. But more and more often, I find the conversations pointless and exhausting. We've been arguing over the same points, without serious changes in position, for nearly 30 years. In point of fact, we agree about most of the essentials of life - the importance of education, the things that are really important - but if you heard us talk you'd assume we must despise each other because (from what I see) the idea of an intellectual argument without hatred behind it is incomprehensible.

      Certainly, I could just be furiously rationalizing; I could be trying to make myself feel better over my inability to care about the budget crisis, the presidential elections, or world events in general. I recognize that this may be a response to a sense of impotence, certainly. Maybe.

      But again, I'm one heck of a lot happier. I'm not sure there's more to it than that. At least, not as sure as I used to be.

      • by U8MyData (1281010)
        Now that was a gem of advice. I have been pondering just that for a couple of years now. I'd bet I am just behind you in age so it makes total sense. But I am still concerned and most likely will be for the forseeable future. Thank you.
      • In point of fact, we agree about most of the essentials of life - the importance of education, the things that are really important

        This is one of the tricks of politics.....Americans are vastly more similar than we are different. But Democrats and Republicans get real benefit by finding small things that divide us, and blow them out of proportion. It's a great way to beat an incumbent.

  • Amount of digital communication keeps rising and so does amount of investigations that needs to be performed that involve such communication. I am sure we all like "bad guys" to be caught and punished when they steal, lie and cheat. But noo - not wiretaps. Feds need to raise a bunch of Sherlock Holmes-clones who could solve crimes by tilting their head just so, squinting a bit and getting the whole story to us.

    • by c0lo (1497653)
      Essentially you are saying that the judges are required to issue separate warrants for tapping into mobile, internet, fixed phones and so on. Because this can be the only explanation for an increased number of wiretap requestsif the number of suspects remains pretty much the same but their communication diversify.

      If there is a need of a single wiretap warrant per suspect (no matter how many channels they use) a 68% increase in wiretaps request can mean only that there is an 68% increase in the number of su

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        You do understand that unlike the rest of the First World countries the population of the US is growing by leaps and bounds? Also, understand that the growth is not home-grown but largely imported from third-world countries where the separation between "ordinary citizens" and what we would consider to be criminals is not so large. Meaning that we are getting l lot of folks that really don't give a crap about what laws there are, they are going to make their way in the world the way they want to and the re

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          You do understand that unlike the rest of the First World countries the population of the US is growing by leaps and bounds?

          [Citation needed]

          Until you provide something else, let's look at some official [census.gov] data: "Net gain of one person every 13 seconds" with "1 birth every 8 seconds" and "1 new immigrant every 48 seconds" (i.e. 6 newborns for every immigrant)

          To put the things into perspective: 1 new person every 13 seconds means approx 2,500,000/year. This means an annual growing rate of 0.78% for the over 311 mils of US. And you call it "leaps and bounds"?
          Gosh, similar calculations gives for Australia [abs.gov.au] an annual growing rate of 1

  • ... Dennis Duffy did. I mean besides Liz Lemon.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @11:22PM (#36630364) Journal
    I thought the controversy was over warrantless wire-tapping, and the answer by most everyone is that it's bad (grey area for when the warrant is obtained after the fact; some oppose it, most politicians don't). Does anyone really oppose wire-tapping when there is a warrant? Really?
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      If the answer to warrantless wiretapping is "hand warrants out like candy," which knowing the government I think is a safe assumption in this case, then yes. Everyone should oppose it. That's not even getting into if the government should be wiretapping people in the first place...
      • The answer is YES, the government should be wiretapping. That is called police investigation. As long as there is enough evidence to hand out warrants, then there is no problem. You may have an issue with the standard of evidence required for wiretapping, or you may think the courts aren't following the standard (which of course would be bad), but police SHOULD be able to investigate bad people. This is braindead obvious. Wake up.
        • ...but police SHOULD be able to investigate bad people.

          Then they should look in the mirror

          • What is your point
        • you trust the police too much.

          I think you make the mistake so many others do and gleefully hand over powers that, rationally, you would not otherwise hand over.

          poor brainwashed fool. you really think 'crimes are solved' by invading our privacy?

          poor tool is more like it.

          • I don't trust the police. That's why we have judges to oversee them. And yes, crimes are solved by invading the privacy of those who commit crimes. That's kind of a 'duh' question.
            • you watch too much tv. thinking for yourself has eroded.

              police don't solve crimes, in general. they clean up after the mess. ask them; they'll tell you (if they are honest) what MOST of their job is all about.

              clean-up. and for clean-up crews, you don't need wiretaps.

              btw, how did we EVER get by without the modern privacy invasions we have now? do you think more 'justice' is served now than, say, 50 yrs ago when tapping was really difficult and truly meant moving plugs and wires around by hand? or 100 y

              • you ASSUME that and I question that very assumption.

                You are nothing but a mess of paranoid assumptions. Clean up your own house before accusing others.

                prove it before you force us to live under your theories.

                Burden of proof is on the one who wants to make a change. That is you.

                • Burden of proof is on the one who wants to make a change.

                  I'd say that the burden of proof is on whoever states something as a fact (because it implies that they know something for a fact).

                  • You can ask for proof from whomever you want, but if you demand proof from me to justify warranted wireless tapping, I will mock you overtly, and go on my way knowing that warranted wiretapping will continue.

                    This is the fact of democracy: if you want to change something, the burden is on the people who want to change, to show that it is worth the effort of changing. Right now the majority of people are ok with warranted wiretapping (and for that matter, getting a warrant to break into your house and stea
                    • You can ask for proof from whomever you want, but if you demand proof from me to justify warranted wireless tapping, I will mock you overtly, and go on my way knowing that warranted wiretapping will continue.

                      I was just saying that claiming to know something as a fact will probably make people think that you have some degree of evidence to prove it (and I don't think that is such a terrible assumption). Otherwise, why would you state it as a fact?

                      So the only way that will ever change is if people show that it is bad.

                      "Bad" is subjective.

                    • I was just saying that claiming to know something as a fact will probably make people think that you have some degree of evidence to prove it (and I don't think that is such a terrible assumption). Otherwise, why would you state it as a fact?

                      ok, if you have a problem with what I said, point it out. Otherwise you need to stop playing stupid word games.

                      "Bad" is subjective.

                      Um, why do all your points sound like you just took a Freshman philosophy class? Of course bad is subjective. And we have subjectively decided that warrantless wiretapping is not bad. Glad we clarified that.

                    • Otherwise you need to stop playing stupid word games.

                      I don't see where I was playing "stupid word games." You stated that the burden of proof is on people who want change (and you said nothing else about it at the time), and I disagreed with that slightly. Hence, my reply.

                      Um, why do all your points sound like you just took a Freshman philosophy class?

                      I don't know what someone who just took a freshman philosophy class sounds like, and I don't see what it has to do with anything.

                      Of course bad is subjective.

                      Actually, you'd be surprised at how many people that I've seen state that things such as "good," "evil," and "bad" are not subjective. In light of this, how am I t

                    • Do you have anything to actually say about wiretapping, or is your goal to discuss the meaning of the word 'bad'?
                    • I merely replied to what was in your comment. If you do not want that to happen, then I suggest that you do not comment in the first place.

                • by Atzanteol (99067)

                  You wouldn't say the burden of proof is on the one taking away liberties over a claim? You say the opposition needs to prove it doesn't work first?

                  I'm sorry, but that's a world I don't want to live in.

                  • OK, but it's not about what you want, it's about what the world is really like. There is nothing unconstitutional about warranted wiretapping......as far as I can tell, people like you who are against it do so because they hear the word 'wiretapping' and like Pavlov's dogs, think 'bad!' I mean really, if they have a warrant, they can also break into your house and steal your stuff. Doesn't that bother you too?

                    The fact is, MOST people are ok with warrants, which is why the burden of proof is on you to show
          • poor brainwashed fool.

            poor tool is more like it.

            You know, being a condescending jerk is not usually the best means by which to enlighten someone, even if you are right.

        • but police SHOULD be able to investigate bad people.

          Whether or not they "should" be able to and whether or not these people are "bad" is subjective.

    • I do.

      do you think the powers should be able to spy on a whisper? seriously - lets go down that path for a moment. should ALL communications be tappable? are there limits?

      if you think the whisper is sacred and should not be tappable then we are only arguing on thresholds, then.

      I do believe, given the last 10 years of history or so, that this 'tapping' ability is more abuseful than useful. therefore, out with it. ALL OF IT.

      we do that with drugs! we 'say' that such and such is more harmful than useful an

      • do you think the powers should be able to spy on a whisper?

        Yes, and there are directional mics with that exact capability.

        are there limits?

        Yes, judicial oversight. You are asking some obvious questions here, you really should do some research on the matter.

        I do believe, given the last 10 years of history or so, that this 'tapping' ability is more abuseful than useful.

        Really, it's so great that you believe things. I'm glad you have belief. Back in the real world, facts matter, not belief. What percentage of authorized tappings were abused? (Note we are not talking about warrantless wiretapping, which is bad, but not the topic here).

        • by Atzanteol (99067)

          And while he's trying to get the government to tell him how often they've been abusing their authority (good luck with that) why don't you go fetch the statistics that report how "usable" wiretaps really are and how many cases wouldn't have been solved without them? It would be good to know just how needed this violation of freedom is in order to justify it would it not?

    • by Xtifr (1323)

      I thought the controversy was over warrantless wire-tapping

      Yes, it is, but slashdotters love to whine so much, so they're not going to let the fact that this is a non-story stop them from whining about how evil the government is, and how perfect things would be if only Steve Jobs and L. Rand Hubbard were in charge. (Or is that Richard Stallman and Ayn Paul--I get them all so easily mixed up.) You have to fight the power! Wiretapping should only be allowed against illegal immigrants! And Microsoft employees. We don't need no steenkin' gummint, just more peace,

      • No, slashdotters are in favor of illegal immigrants.......it's the legal Indians they don't like.
  • This is less of a concern, this is the wiretaps requiring a warrant (meaning judicial oversight). The bigger concern is the warrantless wiretapping. All international calls, traffic analysis on all domestic calls, and who knows what else. It is safer to just asume everything is tapped. I can't count the number of times I've made a disparaging comment about the government on an international call (friends overseas) and added in a "Just kidding, NSA!" I'm ashamed of what this country has become.

    -molo

    • I say it right here and now; a lot of what I say (and write!) is *intentional disinformation* for the wire-tappers 'benefit'.

      and I'm saying it now, so you should know that. slashdot is my publisher and I'm noting this officially. your datamining of me (should you desire) will get you more noise than signal.

      oh, and fuck you nsa.

  • by GJSchaller (198865) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @11:28PM (#36630380) Homepage

    1) The number of REQUESTED taps is on the rise. If they didn't give a shit, they wouldn't be requesting them, they'd just do it and not bother getting permission. At some level, the system is still working. (Most likely because without that request, anything they collect will be thrown out as inadmissible, and their target will walk.)

    2) From TFA: "The state wiretap with the most intercepts was conducted in Queens County, New York, where a 62-day wiretap in a corruption investigation..." meaning they are targeting government officials or public servants. Privacy should NOT be expected for someone serving in those roles, if they are doing something wrong on the job. (Filming police, anyone?)

    The knee-jerk reaction to "wiretapping" is "bad!" - but the knee-jerk reaction to a citizen recording a public figure is "Good!" The standard isn't that clear cut, especially when the conditions (i.e. - the person being recorded is a public figure) are the same on both sides.

  • These numbers are based on applications for court permission - I'm assuming that means a warrant or something equivalent to a warrant. Doesn't this mean there's some sort of due process going on? Seems to me it's warrantless wiretaps that are bad, since there is no due process and therefore violates an amendment or two of the constitution. The fact that law enforcement is actually following due process seems like it should be a *good* thing. Or am I missing something?
  • Glad to see it. Well, maybe not glad, since the paranoia is usually accompanied by wanton imprisonment and mass killings, a la Khmer Rouge.
  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Friday July 01, 2011 @01:30AM (#36630786) Homepage Journal

    Getting out and talking to informants, questioning suspects, developing leads, etc - it's a lot of hard work and leads to tons of paperwork. Technology allows our finest to do their jobs quickly and easily (if somewhat sloppily).

    Here's how it works: stumble upon a criminal; a drug user for example. Stumbling upon them is how most of them get caught; usually in a motor vehicle stop. Now, get their cell phone records; cell phones are great because the cell carriers will hand it over without a quibble or warrant. Now you've got a list of that criminal's associates; get their cell phone records too and you can probably figure out who some of the other users are and who their dealer might be.

    It's all educated guesses and even though they sometimes kick down the wrong door or arrest the wrong person, it leads to more good arrests with a lot less work. Law enforcement LOVES these wiretaps and they'll keep asking for more, more, more.

    Of course, that "computers are always right" thing crops up. And you know that phone numbers are recycled; imagine that drug user that got popped a while back had a cell phone and since the bill didn't get paid they shut it off and now that phone number is recycled and it's your new phone number. Happy dreams; "checks and balances" got thrown overboard a while back.

  • "...'portable device,' a category that includes cellular telephones and digital pagers."

    Uhhh, pagers? Seriously? Give me a break.

    If you're still using a pager these days, that alone is probably enough to justify probable cause. Doubt you could find anyone under the age of 15 that even knows what a pager is.

  • Innumeracy at it's best. The number of electronic communications is increasing therefore so are the wiretaps. The real question is how are the total number of wiretaps as a percentage of population increasing.

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