Despite Controversy, Federal, State Wiretaps on The Rise
Michael Cooney writes on NetworkWorld:
While their over-use is controversial 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 [.pdf], 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. In 2010, a total of 96% of all authorized wiretaps were designated as portable devices. The most common surveillance method was wire surveillance that used a telephone - land line, cellular, cordless or mobile. Telephone wiretaps accounted for 97% (2,253 cases) of the intercepts installed in 2010, the majority of which were cell telephones.
According to the report, 84% of all applications for intercepts (2,675 wiretaps) in 2010 cited illegal drugs as the most serious offense under investigation. As of Dec. 31, 2010, a total of 4,711 people had been arrested and 800 had been convicted as a result of all interceptions reported as terminated.