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Number of Federal Wiretaps Rose 71 Percent In 2012 84

cold fjord writes "Looks like last year was pretty busy. I wonder how many were leaks and media? From the Washington Post: '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, ... There was a 5 percent increase in state and local use of wiretaps in the same period. ... 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 about 550 annually. There was also a large number of wiretaps in 2010, when 1,207 were secured. 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 ... Only 14 court orders were for personal residences. Most jurisdictions limit the period of surveillance to 30 days, but extensions can be obtained.'"
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Number of Federal Wiretaps Rose 71 Percent In 2012

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  • by kc9jud ( 1863822 ) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @12:27PM (#44142579)
    I thought the number was supposed to be around 300 million...
    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      Not yet but us outside of the USofA can help :)

      After all according to the recent revelations there is no blanked tapping of communications between US citizens except when they get suspicious like call with foreigners.

      Therefor I ask all outside of the US to make at least one call to a new 'friend' in the US so PRISM can increase it's database of interesting persons, as long as it gets picked up the number you're dialing is not important.

      • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @12:43PM (#44142663)

        "Hello, Thailand? How's everything on your end? Uh, huh. Say, that's some language you got there. You talk like that 24/7?"

        • Well that ain't something we have to worry about, we southerners can't even understand them damned Yankees/carpetbagging bastards/, we sure as hell ain't gonna be able to understand them folks in Thailand. Although I always LMAO at the looks the ones that flooded into our area in the 80s during the whole "boat people" thang get when they hear their young 'uns speaking with an accent they could cut with a chainsaw, could'a warned 'em we tend to "turn" anybody that stays any length of time, heh heh.
          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by shiftless ( 410350 )

            If you think understanding a Yankee is hard, try being a Yankee and understanding a southerner. I'm from Alabama currently living in the boondocks in Michigan. You would think I have two heads speaking French with how hard it is for these folks to understand me. Always having to repeat myself. "Oil" "flight" "high" and other words with that "i" sound are the worst for them. I have had people guess I'm from Australia, England, etc. lol wtf?

            • Yoopers [] or Trolls []?

            • Dude you ain't telling me nothing, my ex was a phone operator that sold vacation packages and I swear I would be sitting there waiting for her to get off work and I'd hear over her headset "Hey yuse guys gotta hear this gal talk, she sounds like them gone with the wind chicks!" or something to that effect, I swear she made more sales up north strictly because they loved to hear her thick southern belle voice.

              But I wouldn't live up north on a bet, I have heard just about every accent known to man and yanke

      • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @01:20PM (#44142847) Journal

        Well, now they just sweep up all communications, guilty until incidentally shown to be innocent (at which point they'll keep it anyway), the default option seems to be if you are communicating with anyone, for any reason, you're probably up to something.

        Pretty soon they'll hook up the automated drones to the intercepts database. Since you're a foreigner (ie: terrrrist) calling into the US, it'll go something like "Hello? USA? Just makin' a prank..." *INCOMING DRONE STRIKE*

        • Caller: "Hello? USA?
          USA: Yes?

          # - Cap filter be dammed!
      • Why not just Email me a 100 MB of /dev/random?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is "Federal criminal investigations". i.e. what you expect the Feds to be up to. Not the secret court, comedy warrants.
      If anything it shows you the difference between a legal process with evidence and the judiciary, (1300) and the extra-legal stuff the NSA does (97 billion surveillance records per *month*).

      "A snapshot of the Boundless Informant data, contained in a top secret NSA "global heat map" seen by the Guardian,

      •     To be fair, the NSA did it right. It's simply permission for "Everything". Why mess around with all those pesky "who" and "why" questions, when we already know the answers to those questions are classified.

    • Those are FISA wiretaps, and you aren't supposed to know about them.

    • That we know of

    • by Phroggy ( 441 )

      I thought the number was supposed to be around 300 million...

      That only counts as one.

    • by Mabhatter ( 126906 ) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @11:03PM (#44145375)

      The NSA never needed wiretaps, they were SPIES. The problem is that the Patriot Act opened the gates to regular (police and FBI) law enforcement having access to shared toys the NSA and CIA used to use, but more importantly the TRAINING regime shifted to using spying and subterfuge rather than direct investigation and face time with citizens. The biggest shift is that Peace Officers went from being people on the street we knew, to lions that pick off the weak critters in the night.

      Back on topic, the NSA is something regular folks never really will ever deal with. The NSA and CIA play hunches and probabilities all the time...basing lots of actions on race, sex, income, religion, Slashdot posts, etc... Knowing that all that data just adds dice to the "probability your crazy pool" none of it STOPS YOU from being the bad guy who rolls all '1' to give the worst outcome today... But odds are you aren't that guy out of 300 million. REGULAR POLICE have no business first having access to that info because its ILLEGAL, and second have no training or the psych profile to handle knowing such things about people. Lots of people have traits of serial killers, even multiple traits... But serial killers are still a small fraction of actual people with bad traits. Regular people as police aren't trained and conditioned mentally to understand that. So all this data collection is worse than meaningless because they really are not capable of processing it properly.

  • An easy answer... (Score:5, Informative)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @12:44PM (#44142667)

    There is no explanation of why the federal figures increased so much

    Because we can!


    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      On a German protester's sign when Obama visted Berlin weeks ago...

      Picture of Obama with caption:
      Yes We Scan!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes we can!...fuck over those that didn't vote for us.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes we can!...fuck over those that didn't vote for us.

        It's more like a bipartisan fuck-over. The gas cap has been passed over to the Democrats since this fucker guzzles green bills like anything, but apart from that, the thing drives roughshod over the constitution autonomously and is not overly interested in who fills the tank because of basking in the illusion of being its driver.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is no explanation of why the federal figures increased so much

      Because we can!


      Wow, weird you got a troll rating since what you wrote is right. Congress has basically abdicated their oversight duties, and the judicial branch has become a rubber-stamp, pro-forma legal body on any secret action that the executive branch wants to do. The checks and balances mechanism of our government do not work when the government conducts it's business in secrecy.

    • IT is Bush's fault! It all started under him ... over 4 years ago right??

      • Well, why not? It was only last year that the Republicans stopped blaming Clinton for everything.

        However, on a serious note, Bush was definitely part of the problem, but only a part in a chain of what seems like increasing governmental paranoia and abuse. I still think we have more to fear from our government than we do from terrorists. For instance, the FBI was aware of a plan to assassinate organizers of the Occupy movement in Texas and did nothing about it. Think about that. A legal, non-violent pro

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Occupy is far from non-violent, in fact it's exceptionally violent. Note the arsons, theft, public and private property destruction and the attempted bombing of a bridge in Ohio.

          • Occupy is far from non-violent, in fact it's exceptionally violent. Note the arsons, theft, public and private property destruction and the attempted bombing of a bridge in Ohio.

            There were people planning an act of terrorism, the very thing the american public has told the government is its number one priority. The FBI and other law enforcement responded by sacrificing our civil liberties and claiming it was for our own good. And yet, despite this social contract, the FBI saw fit to take no action whatsoever when presented with evidence of it. While in turn, the FBI has arrested hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, for doing the exact same thing. Many tens of thousands more on su

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              I think you're missing the context. The GP stated that Occupy was non-violent, I countered on the other hand that it was exceptionally violent. At no point, did I suggest assassinating anyone was a-okay or that I agreed in principal with it. Rather that the GP's view was wrong on them being fluffy bunnies.

          • You have an exceptionally twisted definition of "exceptionally violent." The alleged bridge bomber may not even have been part of Occupy. And most of the violence I read about during the protests was cops against protesters. Not to mention probable infiltration by the FBI by people who actually did harmful things to make the protesters look bad.

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              You have an exceptionally twisted definition of "exceptionally violent." The alleged bridge bomber may not even have been part of Occupy. And most of the violence I read about during the protests was cops against protesters. Not to mention probable infiltration by the FBI by people who actually did harmful things to make the protesters look bad.

              Uh. Let's see, he was part of the Occupy inner-circle, members from said group "occupy x"(I can't remember off the top of my head if it was occupy philly or ohio) showed up at the court house to cheer him on. There were 500+ assaults in the first 3 weeks, several dozen rapes, massive(over 2300 cases for vandalizing public and private property). Several dozen firebombings, and so on.

              Note to mention that the "terrorist tea party" hasn't been marked out in any such form, even though the media has been ridin

      • His administration bears some blame, yes. Obama's administration bears some blame for continuing (and perhaps expanding) this rampant abuse of power. And, the American public bears some blame for continuing to vote Democrat and Republican despite every indication that doing so is against their best interests.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          His administration bears some blame, yes.

          You are a total idiot. Just bend down and kiss Obama's ass some more. People like you are the problem, you won't hold ANYONE responsible because "your guy" might get caught up in it.

          The IRS targets GOP only, the DOJ targets GOP only, the EPA targets GOP only. And all of it is ignored with your "both parties are equally bad" BS. No, they are not equally bad. I won't get harrassed by the IRS if I donate to the DNC, right there shows that the worst corruption comes from one direction, not both.

          • If anything your post shows your own bias. Nothing has changed since I was a kid in HS when government spooks were following John Lennon and Jane Fonda around all day. Your list does not show that Obama is behind those "scandals" what it shows is that governments of both colors continue to support an environment in which individuals are likely to engage in such behavior. Worst still the judiciary and the military are also in lockstep agreement. It's not a conspiracy it's a state of mind, a patronizing world
        • more than doubled (Score:3, Informative)

          by raymorris ( 2726007 )
          "perhaps some some expanding"
          Is that what you call "more than doubled"?

          Bush sucked. He outspent. Obama more than doubled the deficit.
          Bush supported questionable intelligence gathering. Obama more than doubled it, actually recording more cometh medications between US citizens than foreign communications.

          By any objective measure, Bush sucked, then Obama sucked twice as much.
  • 2012 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @12:50PM (#44142711)

    Was an election year.

  • The paperwork is merely a ceremonial formality.

    There, now we don't have to keep on posting about our world under surveillance every day. Let's post better news on how people are defeating it, if there is any to be found.

  • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @01:12PM (#44142799) Journal

    Seems like an awful lot of our social (and budget) problems are caused by the over-the-top enforcement methods of the War on Drugs and the War on Terror.

    I would suggest a War on The War on Things, but since the War on Drugs only gets us more drug problems and the War on Terror only seems to be making more terrorists, the War on The War on Things will only wind up producing more Wars on Things.

    Hence, I propose The War on The War on the War on Things. That should fix it, right?

  • by mrmeval ( 662166 ) <<mrmeval> <at> <>> on Saturday June 29, 2013 @01:22PM (#44142869) Journal

    Law enforcement has traditionally gone after low hanging fruit. They don't like pissing off the really nasty ones who would kill them, their families and their cat Fluffy. They're fishing for justification to continue to exist. That's what all the terrorist crap is about and why they'll continue to expand domestic crimes as terrorism.

    Soon it will be illegal to report on crop failures, droughts, civic unrest, midnight arrests etc. etc. as that will be facilitating terrorism.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @02:39PM (#44143303) Journal

      They're fishing for justification to continue to exist.

      And more important, there is a lot of money to be made.

      There are suburbs in Virginia where every single household is involved in the surveillance state. And the sweetest part of the deal is that the money comes entirely off-budget, because of course, if you're going to have a secret program, you know the appropriations to pay for it have to be secret too, because freedom.

      I'm not even sure that the US government really has much control over the police state apparatus any more. And don't doubt for a second that the data collected will end up in the hands of private corporations, for god knows what.

      Unfortunately, the surveillance regime, the kill lists, the extra-Constitutional domestic spying, the data mining and the "partnering" with private security contractors has now cost the US every bit of moral authority they once had over countries like North Korea.

      We can no longer claim any high ground, when you've created an apparatus that the East German secret police could have only dreamed about.

      • Which is why I have always said that funding of law enforcement should come from taxes only and be completely isolated from their duties to prevent profit from becoming a motive.

        But we are way to far through the looking glass for merely reorganizing police resources to effect any real change ... the problems facing America and much of the western world are so numerous, complex, interwoven and multifaceted; and the entrenched powers have seen how our pettiness and bickering keeps us disunified and know that

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you actually believe this information is anything more than an attention grabber, when in actuality all unencrypted communications are being recorded and cataloged, including cell phones, email, text, web searches, regular phones, forums, etc. Up to the point that they run out of space to save it all so they selectively start dropping uninteresting info on the backend of their buffer. See the new Salt Lake facility for example. They're probably even watching video stream data for buried data. The NSA, FB

  • It is amazing how fast land of freedom became a surveillance state worse than what existed in the soviet bloc.

    At some time we will have to think about US citizen responsability for their failure to monitor their government. How could it happen?

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.