More Ears on the Wire


Federal and state wiretaps were used 24 percent more in 2012 than they were in 2011, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts' annual Wiretap Report.

Judges approved a total of 3,395 orders authorizing the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications in 2012, up from 2,732 in 2011.

Each year, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts reports to Congress the number of applications for orders authorizing or approving wiretaps.

During 2012, 97 percent of all wiretaps were authorized for “portable devices,” a category that includes cell phones and includes the monitoring of text messages.

Investigations into illegal drugs were cited in 87 percent of all applications in 2012.

As of December 31, 2012, a total of 3,743 persons had been arrested (up 6 percent from 2011), and 455 persons had been convicted (down 2 percent from 2011).

Read the full report HERE.

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