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What is Wiretapping

Wiretapping is the monitoring of conversations by a third party. Became a bigger issue after 9/11 Two types: Passive wiretapping and Active wiretapping.
Passive- collecting information to gain knowledge Active- Attempting to alter the information


Olmstead vs. United States (1928)

Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. Roy Olmstead was a suspected bootlegger. Wiretapping did not violate Olmsteads 4th or 5th Amendment.

Background Cont.

Patriot Act
Passed by Bush in response of Sept. 11 Expanded the authority of law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism.

How Does Wiretapping Work?

Basic types of wiretapping

Who is likely to get wiretapped?

Diane = Main Hub

Who is likely to get wiretapped?

Heather = link to left and right side

Argument Against Wiretapping

Violates the 4th Amendment

Peoples privacy may not be invaded without a warrant based on probable cause. Legal wiretapping requires courts order even after the Patriot Act

Wiretaps Approved by US Courts
2000 1800 1600 1400 1200
Authorized by state/federal courts

1000 800
Authorized under FISA, including terrorism-related investigations

400 200 0 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Works Cited
Harris, Tom. How Wiretapping Works. Howstuffworks. 6 Nov. 2007 <>

McCullagh, Declan. FBI Net-wiretapping rules face challenges. Cnet. 4 Nov. 2007. <>

NISA Spying on Americans Is Illegal. 2005. ACLU. Nov. 6 2007

Olmstead v. United States. Oyez. 8 Nov. 2007 <>

Shachtman, Noah. Big Brother 101. Popsci. Aug. 2006. 5 Nov. 2007 < 2.html>

"Telephone tapping." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 8 Nov. 2007. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 12 Nov 2007 <>

Works Cited
The USA Patriot Act. PBS. 26 Mar. 2006. PBS Online. 8 Nov. 2007 <>

Vorlet, Christophe. Our Job Is Not to Stand Up and Cheer When the President Breaks the Law EbscoHost. Nov. 8 2007 < ue&db=aph&AN=20608871&site=ehost-live&scope=site>