Government wiretaps increase by 34 percent in 2010
The number of wiretaps conducted by federal and state law enforcement in 2010 jumped 34 percent from the prior year, according to a new federal report.
The 2010 Wiretap Report said federal and state courts approved 3,194 orders for intercepting wire, oral or electronic communications. That was up from the 2,376 intercepts approved in 2009.
Here’s some more fun facts from the report:
- Of all the applications for wiretap intercepts, 84 percent (2,675) cited illegal drugs as the most serious offense under investigation. The top three state wiretaps resulting in the most arrests were all narcotics related.
- The average cost of a wiretap was $50,085, down 4 percent from 2009.
- The average number of persons whose communications were intercepted rose from 113 per wiretap order in 2009 to 118 per wiretap order in 2010.
- Only 26 percent of intercepted communications in 2010 were incriminating. Only one request for authorization was denied.
- The top three states with approved wiretap applications were California, New York and New Jersey.
The report did not include wiretaps regulated by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) or those approved by the president outside the authority of the federal wiretap law and the FISA.