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Despite Controversy, Federal Wiretaps On the Rise

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the most-transparent-administration-ever dept.

Privacy 149

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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Let's just assume everything is tapped (5, Insightful)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630106)

It's easier for the moment, and will be true shortly

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (4, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630120)

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.

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (1)

econolog (2081738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630188)

lol... this is just the tip of the iceberg buddy.

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (2)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630512)

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? Surely any of their people should be able to run out to Wal-Mart and find enough crap to junk out and make some surveillance equipment better than just a wire tap. Tell me they aren't just running wire taps on people with funny names or names out of a hat, just to see what they can fish up? Can they even find the tree to pick the low hanging fruit?

I am mystified because I think the only reason I would apply for a wire tap warrant would be if I needed it for evidence and wanted the intel to be able to be put on display. Other than that, run silent, run deep. Whatever happened to sneaky?

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (1)

jcoy42 (412359) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630246)

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.

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (2)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630308)

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?

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630354)

You do realize what they get paid for overtime right?

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (1)

jcoy42 (412359) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630664)

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.

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630622)

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.'"

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630276)

Maybe true. But to be perfectly honest, it's not the ones they get proper warrants for, signed by a judge, that bother me. It's the secret, warrentless ones. I have no idea what those were for, who they've happened to or why. I can't decide if a judge was wrong to sign off on it and hold them accountable, because I don't know about them. I don't know if law enforcement is doing what they're supposed to, because with no judicial oversight, there is no burden, no test. Those bug me.

Ok, they bug me more.

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (4, Insightful)

jcoy42 (412359) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630718)

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.

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631438)

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 you say something in plain text (e.g. email) you should expect that someone else can overhear it. Of course, you should expect privacy if you encrypt those communications (since that is more akin to chatting to someone in your home or via mail in a sealed envelope).

Moral of the story: plain text is public, encryption ensures a limited degree of privacy. Plain text is like a post card, encryption is more like letter mail. So when you talk, choose your medium wisely.

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631332)

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 result in numbers more like 1 for every 100 to 200 Americans rather than 1 for every 94,000.

"Security theater" has nothing on "civil rights theater", and trolls love theater.

Some recent terrorism arrests, convictions, and developments:
Terrorist plot averted in Seattle at military recruiting station [examiner.com]
Sources: Reservist Suspected in Military Shootings Self-Radicalized Through Internet [foxnews.com]
Chicago Businessman Tahawwur Hussain Rana Guilty of Providing Material Support to Terror Group and Supporting Role in Denmark Terrorism Conspiracy [fbi.gov]
North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty to Terrorism Charge [fbi.gov]
FBI Announces Identity of Transitional Federal Government Checkpoint Suicide Bomber [fbi.gov]
Two Iraqi Nationals Indicted on Federal Terrorism Charges in Kentucky [fbi.gov]

Terrorism is a deliberate human activity, not a random natural phenomenon.

Re:Let's just assume everything is tapped (1)

bledri (1283728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630326)

On a related note, my banner Ad for this story was OmniPerscepton's CheckPoint.S "real time facial recognition software."

It's all very disappointing... (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:It's all very disappointing... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630590)

...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..

Re:It's all very disappointing... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630596)

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

Re:It's all very disappointing... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630638)

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" .

Responsibility? Responsibility!!! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630658)

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 opinion on it.

Adding the word "Social" in front of responsibility is just code for who is responsible for an individual - hint, not the individual as "social" implies.

There's a reason why the term "nanny state" persists so well and so long...

Re:It's all very disappointing... (1)

aekafan (1690920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630692)

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

You should have voted for Palin (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630674)

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 to the lies you obviously are buying hook, line and sinker and think about who REALLY has your best interests at heart and is not just feeding you a line. You may not like religious people much at all but think on the fact that they hate a state with too much power as much as you do, because that rarely goes well for religions in the end.

Re:It's all very disappointing... (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630720)

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 room walls through which Stasi agents filmed citizens with special video cameras.Schools, universities, and hospitals were extensively infiltrated."

92.3% of Stasi informants volunteered to spy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi#Infiltration [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's all very disappointing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630780)

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

It seems you have a flair for the dramatic, and a grossly exaggerated sense of the importance of your vote as well.

Below is the real truth, though you won't like it and probably won't believe it because it's too awful
and you don't want to believe things which are so awful, so you choose to continue to engage in
the fantasy that the US is a relatively free country.

Your vote doesn't make any difference. Why is this ? Because the show is not run by people
who are elected. The show is run by people who have lots of money and are able to exert
power behind closed doors. Most of these people, you have never even heard of. Let me
give you one example : have you heard of a guy named Kluge, who lives in a compound
in Virginia which civilian aircraft are not permitted to fly over ? No, you haven't heard
of this guy. But it is scum like Kluge and his ilk who are really running the show. These people
don't go to places where average people have access, ever. They travel in private jets and
bulletproof vehicles, and they have a staff of people who do nothing but make sure they are
insulated from the general population. You cannot conceive of how very different the lives of these
people are from the life you live. Do you feel betrayed by Obama ? Why ? Did you really expect
Obama to do something for you ? That's such extreme gullibility that it is tragic. It is the sort of
gullbility one expects from a very young child who has yet to learn about betrayal. An adult should
know better.

Regarding whether wiretapping is happening, virtually none of you people on Slashdot seem to
understand that ALL signals traffic inside the US, and in the rest of the world as well, is monitored, and has been monitored for
decades. The challenge did not lie in monitoring, the challenge was in how to sift through the
vast amounts of data in an efficient manner. That problem has been solved. It would not be a mistake
to assume that any emails or phone conversations you've had have not been recorded : they have. And this
data can be mined any time those with the power to give the orders wish to do so.

It is all much worse than most of you are willing or able to imagine. The only salvation for most
of you lies in the sad fact that you are willing sheep who continue to enrich those with the real power,
and that your little lives are so meaningless that you will never come to the attention of those with the
power. Sure, I am a sheep too, but I have been exposed to things most sheep never get to see or
know about, and though I wish I had never come to know these things, it's too late for that.

I envy those of you who are unaware, you are like animals who are not conscious of
their own mortality and who thus live with only an awareness of the present moment
in an extremely narrow frame of reference.

Here's some friendly advice : if you can consolidate your resources, you should consider
finding some other country where you can live. Make sure it is not a country with resources
which the US will want. Go there, start a new life, and don't look back. What you see
happen in the next ten years will make you happy you left.

Re:It's all very disappointing... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630790)

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 cannot resist.

we have found our limits. power corrupts. who knew??

Re:It's all very disappointing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630918)

name one country - just one - that has gone forward in privacy rights for citizens.

Egypt?

so remind me why i need these devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36631144)

What so anyhting can and will be used against me in and out of context in a court of law or just plain backmail and abuse?
Riiiiiiight....

No surprise (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630110)

So, we keep reducing the barriers to wiretaps and surveillance, and the police engage in more wiretapping and surveillance. Is this a surprise?

Re:No surprise (3, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630130)

In the USA, it should be. But it isnt.

Re:No surprise (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631356)

In the USA, it should be. But it isnt.

There were 3,194 wiretaps authorized last year. That is about 1 for every 94,000 Americans. When will the "madness" end?

Re:No surprise (1)

CapuchinSeven (2266542) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631448)

The fact that you don't actually seem to think that is a big number is why they get away with it.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36631294)

there's also more wiretaps because it's easier to keep changing your phone and sim. so even if you were wiretapping the same amount of people, you would need more permits. a good rule would be that you couldn't get a wiretap permit if you weren't already tailing the guy 24/7.

Damn (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630146)

They've been looking for me in some strange places if they're tracking my digital pager.

Define "strange places"? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630192)

Lemme guess... it got swallowed by Moby Dick while you were deep sea fishing?

Not "despite" controvercy (4, Insightful)

BenBoy (615230) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630190)

It's not "despite" controversy, it's "regardless". They're not struggling against public opinion, they just don't care.

Re:Not "despite" controvercy (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630222)

^^ This.

Re:Not "despite" controvercy (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630452)

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.

Well doh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630196)

"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...

Re:Well doh (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630210)

And in areas with greater ethnic diversity, to boot.

Re:Well doh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630356)

And in areas with greater ethnic diversity, to boot.

I'm sorry it is not PC but it's just the truth: the greater your "ethnic diversity" in an area, the higher the crime rate is going to be. This is true for all ethnicities.

It's what you get when everybody is a Something-American or SomethingElse-American with no expectation that they actually become just Americans and assimilate into mainstream American society. You end up with different sub-groups who have conflicting interests because they're all trying to preserve an identity they left behind when they decided to come here. Classic us against them. Happens no matter who "us" is and happens no matter who "them" is.

You idiots really think your hyphenated nationality is some kind of badge of honor? You think it makes you special and unique? Nope, it's a group identity. It's the exact opposite of the individualism that used to be a core value of America. Making people obsess over their group identities, treating some groups as special with extra rights and others as okay to shit on (like men, whites, and Christians), and making sure every last thing is always about race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, that's part of a design. The design is older than Sun Tzu. Yet most of you never really understood it. It's called divide and conquer. You need to make people feel isolated, alone, oppressed and then you can get elected to be their champion.

Sorry but you morons are so stupid for buying into this. You'd think after 3 generations or so of the same old shit you'd start to realize it isn't working to serve your best interests. But you, you just keep eating it up. We're either all Americans with no special footnotes and disclaimers or we don't have a nation anymore. It's really that simple. Many politicians love power so much they don't care if they are destroying the nation to get it, long as it happens after their own lifetime they are okay with that. It's really that simple.

But you, with your ultra sensitivity to all things politically correct, you are Satan's little helpers. Without you none of it would be possible. I hope you are satisfied since you are all assuming the role without so much as a whimper of protest.

Re:Well doh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630444)

a perfect example of the paranoid-bigoted-american.
 

Re:Well doh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630522)

a perfect example of the paranoid-bigoted-american.

You sure do know how to deconstruct and refute an argument. Well done, sir!

Re:Well doh (2)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630346)

California, New York and New Jersey only make up about 20% of the population.

Re:Well doh (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630732)

Those three states are 65.42 million people so about 21% of the total US population.

Hmmm, well.... (0)

threeseas (2245516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630204)

They must be board... How about we all give them some excitement. Just say random stuff in case you are wiretapped... it'll keep them busy for a long time trying to figure out the code...

Were warrants involved for these requests? (1)

Sipper (462582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630212)

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 non-secret judicial oversight or not? Because the article is missing this critical piece of information, I don't know how to evaluate this or how to feel about it.

Re:Were warrants involved for these requests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630454)

These are just the surveillance that had warrants associated with them or where justified with the courts at some time during their operations.

This report is compiled from documents that every judge in the jurisdiction of the US is required to file when approving any surveillance of wire, oral, or electronic communications according the the omnibus crime control and safe streets acts of 1968 (that originally made it necessary to get a warrant for wiretaps). It's been compiled every year since about 1970 and gets presented to congress but is open to the public also. The paperwork gets sent to the administration office of the US courts, whether the interception was approved before or after it happened. Domestic law provides a couple scenarios where law enforcement can tap first and get permission later- contingent on special circumstances if a legitimate warrant would have reasonably been issued if time permitted.

FUD (5, Interesting)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#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."

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630258)

we are way to late. just look around.

Re:FUD (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630318)

I like to think of it as never too late; it's just harder to recover now I fear. Don't forget something that DID make this country what it was (okay, is) is its resiliency. We need good, honest, straight shooting people in places of power. The problem is if you can't beat them join them mentality on the hill and no actual accountability. These people don't fear us anymore. The elections system is down to a science that the average citizen is basically unable to understand or even influence. The courts are the citizens power base and they have failed too.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630288)

American soldiers can go into a war zone and still remain reasonably safe all things considered. You don't see a large percentage of American soldiers getting killed in action. The same can be said of police and of the American public. It is sad that we feel the need to create new and ever more draconian laws to solve problems which don't really exist or have already been "solved".

Re:FUD (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630342)

Exactly! I wish someone in the public eye would just come out and say this. I might have the effect of a no cost stimulus program.

Re:FUD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630932)

"American soldiers can go into a war zone and still remain reasonably safe all things considered. "

What do you mean, "go into a war zone" ?

The American soldiers are the ones who STARTED the fucking wars, you goddamned idiot.

The US is actively engaged in waging war against multiple countries, NONE of which have attacked the
US. Anyone who believes the actions of the US against these countries are in any way shape or form
justfied is either a fool or a fascist who believes that might makes right. But make no mistake, the very
actions of the US will result in its undoing in a manner which no other nation could have accomplished.
It is all strikingly similar to the events which have preceded the fall of more than one empire, and the
idiots running the show in the US are so enamored of their own superiority that they don't even begin to
see they are sowing the seeds of the country's demise.

Re:FUD (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630338)

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 spending money and they will start reacting. Am I saying that it is a good thing for people to start suing the police and FBI? No, I am sure that it does take officers off the streets, but it is also likely one of the few messages that can be sent that will be heard LOUD AND CLEAR by policy makers.

Re:FUD (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630602)

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 'needs' for control and power over us.

until some major changes happen (not in our lifetimes, likely, being realistic) nothing will reverse this power-grab. we have watched a world wide regression, here. its gonna take a lot to reverse it.

and the system will not fix itself. not this system, any more than runaway trains 'fix themselves'.

Re:FUD (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630644)

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 /.

Re:FUD (1)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630746)

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 always appointed by politicians, and they handle themselves accordingly. No surprise verdicts, nothing to embarrass their masters. No Perry Mason moments, either. Just a slow, bureaucratic application of the law to those who will cause the least political fallout.

Most Americans believe in a fantasy where judges find the truth and the guilty are punished while the innocent go free. That may never have been true, but it certainly isn't true now. The courtrooms are public places; go and watch and learn. You can't fix the problem until you know it exists...

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36631040)

"Judges have a conscience, they have to or should."

You are a pathetically naive human.

You have no idea what the legal system is really about in the US.

What you think "should" be is so far removed from the operative reality that
you may as well be wishing for a visit from Jesus Christ.

Judges are often corrupt. Judges at the federal level are bound by the
sentencing guidelines. And you obviously have not been paying attention to the
decisions handed down by the US Supreme Court, which has become a rubber stamp
for corporate power and bears little resemblance to a court which would defend the
interests of the majority of people in the US.

Your set of beliefs are what those in power WANT you to believe. Those in power
know that their retention of power relies of a series of lies, which people like you
so willingly swallow, hook, line, and sinker.

Tell ya what, Pollyanna : go get yourself into serious trouble with the law. THEN you will learn
how it really works, and you will understand the world as it is, not as you wish it to be.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630384)

What makes you think this erodes any rights you might think you had or that it's in the name of terrorists or anything of the sorts?

This article is prepared by the courts in an effort to document the scale of legal law enforcement usage of intercepts that would otherwise be guarded as off limits by the US constitution (fourth amendment I believe). The mere fact that each and every single one of these went through a court, had a judge approve it, and was done in compliance with not only the intent of the US constitution, but US law since the late 1960's and mid 1970's which I would wager as being older then you.

why you are marked interesting when all you did is look at wiretap and start screaming oh noes, the damn patriot actz is killin me, is beyond me. At best, all this document does is show that crime rates are either starting to rise, or cash strapped states are seeing more enforcement of existing laws, probably so Law Enforcement Officers, can justify their keeping their jobs over others when it comes time to cut positions in yet another round of we spent too much and now can't afford to provide any services to the community.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630574)

Wish I had points to mod you up for these sentences alone:

"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..."

Re:FUD (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630592)

mostly agreed.

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

Re:FUD (1)

redkcir (1431605) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631182)

This will change when we allow the people to actually vote. Our "vote" is manipulated by "drawing" districts to favor a certain political group or by letting anonymous "electoral" voters decide who will win what elections. When our system was first designed it may have been necessary for this to decide elections. Today this is not the case. We have the means to count and register every vote for who it was meant for. Until we change our way of "voting", our vote will always be manipulated and our rights trampled on..

And that's surprising why? (1)

ugen (93902) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630260)

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.

Re:And that's surprising why? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630376)

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 suspects. This increase can be real (if the criminality is growing) or imaginary (if the paranoia of the law enforcement is growing). Question is: which one you want to bet on?

Re:And that's surprising why? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630712)

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 rest of the world can screw off.

Immigration has turned into a revolving door where instead of imprisoning folks that came to the US recently we just send them back where they came from. Since that country isn't thrilled about having them, they put them on the bus going north again. Two weeks later, they are back in the USA. We see it as a never-ending cycle in Arizona with stories about the latest rapist being caught after being deported 13 times and being deported again.

So in some ways there being a bit of a rise in law enforcement activity shouldn't be surprising. What I hear about because of the job is law enforcement making do with less, sometimes a lot less, in the face of significant increases in workload. I don't get into the "tactical" end where wiretapping and surveillence comes in, but where there is more work in forensics, there is more tactical stuff going on which feeds into it.

Certain types of crimes are up and one solution to keeping the statistics down is not to prosecute but simply deport the criminals. Makes everything look like things are getting better all the time which is what the federal government wants to show off.

Re:And that's surprising why? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630958)

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 1.43% - almost double the US (and I hope you will abstain to suggest that Australia is not a First World country).

We see it as a never-ending cycle in Arizona with stories about the latest rapist being caught after being deported 13 times and being deported again.

Ah, I see. If you think the illegal immigration is the reason for which the wiretap warrants number increased, read again TFS and ask yourself why the hell the most significant jump in wiretapping doesn't take place in Arizona, Texas or New Mexico, but in California, New York and New Jersey?

(I'm stopping short of suggesting that perhaps it would be a good idea for you to go back under the bridge?)

I wonder what the hell ... (1)

bledri (1283728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630310)

... Dennis Duffy did. I mean besides Liz Lemon.

Is this controversial? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630364)

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?

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630450)

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...

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630534)

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.

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630594)

...but police SHOULD be able to investigate bad people.

Then they should look in the mirror

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630686)

What is your point

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630752)

We shouldn't give power to a systematically corrupt authority.. We should make them clean their own house before allowing them to peep into ours

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630844)

Uh.....police already have far greater power than warranted wiretapping. If that is your fear, you have seriously messed up priorities. There is full judicial oversight over this stuff, what exactly do you want? Police to sit in their station all day doing nothing? That's real brilliant.

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630884)

Your comprehension is beyond reproach...

There is full judicial oversight over this stuff...

Don't know what to say of your gullibility if you actually believe that

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630926)

I appreciate the compliment, but your paranoia is certainly outmatching my gullibility. You win.

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630972)

Paranoia? I'll leave it to you to google "innocent people in prison"... with the quotes. I'll take my "win" if it would get a few of them out

Keep the faith

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631084)

The most pessimistic estimates (that I found briefly) are 3%-5% of the people in prison are innocent. Which means there are ~60,000 innocent people in prison. That is truly sad. Yet, from 1990 to 2003, there were 900,000 fewer violent crimes due to 'tough on crime' policies. That means the net benefit to society was huge.

Now, I am absolutely in favor of finding ways to avoid convicting innocents. However, it's not convincing that disallowing warranted wiretapping would do that. I await your numbers that show otherwise.

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631116)

Ah, another one who plays the numbers game... the "greater good"... Sorry, homey don't do that. I sincerely hope you or yours never become one of the 60,000... You're sick

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631174)

I sincerely hope you or yours never become one of the 60,000

I do too. I really feel bad for those people. I'm sorry that you think warrantless wiretapping contributes to the problem without having data to back yourself up. It must be miserable for you to live in a world based on guesses and hope, instead of hard reality. Poor you.

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631256)

I really feel bad for those people.

Oh, I'm sure you do.. while standing tall for the authority that puts 'those people' where they are...

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630620)

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.

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630656)

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.

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630804)

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 yrs ago before the phone system?

you assume the tool (tapping) justifies itself. you ASSUME that and I question that very assumption. prove it before you force us to live under your theories. (and yes, its just some theory that spying on us 'makes us safer')

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630840)

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.

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630614)

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 and its potential for abuse is too great. we outlaw such things.

I say the same goes for tapping. too abuseful and too invasive to fundamental human rights.

no, there should be NO BUILT IN 'pass' for governments to tap. no built in pass. does more harm than good.

besides, any good criminal will work around the system so its only YOU AND I that get tapped, really.

abolish it all. all of it. its too abusable and has been shown to be such!

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630676)

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).

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631020)

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, love and iPads! Feudal corporate serfdom is the path to true freedom!

Re:Is this controversial? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631094)

No, slashdotters are in favor of illegal immigrants.......it's the legal Indians they don't like.

What about warrant-less wiretaps?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630372)

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

Re:What about warrant-less wiretaps?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36631062)

I'd say you don't need to worry that much YET. It's when they reply 'That's alright, AC!' back over the same phone line you have to worry. Or when they show up at your door five minutes later because you said something really bad. If neither of those two scenarios have happened to you yet, then they're still being discreet.

What about warrant-less wiretaps?? (1)

molo (94384) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630374)

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

Re:What about warrant-less wiretaps?? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630630)

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.

Be glad they're reporting them. (4, Interesting)

GJSchaller (198865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630380)

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.

Isn't this good? (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630382)

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?

Paranoia at citizens is a sign of a falling empire (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630420)

Glad to see it. Well, maybe not glad, since the paranoia is usually accompanied by wanton imprisonment and mass killings, a la Khmer Rouge.

Wire-Taps Save Struss-Kahn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630472)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/01/nyregion/strauss-kahn-case-seen-as-in-jeopardy.html

In the article the Investigative Prosecutor team have the telephone audio recording of the
acussor BEFORE she commited the acusations against Mr. Struss-Kahn.

What a Pre-Crime Event!!!! Go Pre-Crime Team America!!!

8O

; )

This is lazy police work (3, Interesting)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630786)

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.

In Soviet Russia ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36630798)

phones tap you.

How can this be? (1)

Cable (99315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631444)

BusHitler is out of office and the Dems control congress. I though we voted for change and hope? How is this change and hope?

(two FBI agents in an pizza van talk to each other. "he is on to us better scam!" and disconnect from my wifi, cell phone, analog phone, and cable TV devices.)

When are the OFFICIALS getting wiretapped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36631462)

There's some bitchez that need to do life @ ft. leavenworth.

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