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United States Communications Government Privacy

With a Single Wiretap Order, US Authorities Listened In on 3.3 Million Phone Calls ( 85

US authorities intercepted and recorded millions of phone calls last year under a single wiretap order, authorized as part of a narcotics investigation, ZDNet's Zack Whittaker reports. From the article: The wiretap order authorized an unknown government agency to carry out real-time intercepts of 3.29 million cell phone conversations over a two-month period at some point during 2016, after the order was applied for in late 2015. The order was signed to help authorities track 26 individuals suspected of involvement with illegal drug and narcotic-related activities in Pennsylvania. The wiretap cost the authorities $335,000 to conduct and led to a dozen arrests. But the authorities noted that the surveillance effort led to no incriminating intercepts, and none of the handful of those arrested have been brought to trial or convicted.
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With a Single Wiretap Order, US Authorities Listened In on 3.3 Million Phone Calls

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Great success! Flawless victory! The war on drugs is now over!

    The drugs won.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It was never about the drugs. It is about control of people who think differently.

      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        Like those that think a society should protect the people against dangers? Those that realize that a drug addict have no control? Those that knows the costs for an individual, a family and the society drug abuse have?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Megol posted:
          >Like those that think a society should protect the people against dangers? Those that realize that a drug addict have no control? Those that knows the costs for an individual, a family and the society drug abuse have?

          And yet, those very things have never been contained through the use of force via legal apparatus. Your stance is the very argument of a prohibitionist era proponent, whose actions did nothing to help families with addiction problems or promote treatment over persecution. In fa

      • Control of Apple users?
        • by doccus ( 2020662 )

          Control of Apple users?

          Precisely! Drink Thifferently... Sorry, couldn't find a matching word for druggin' differently.. but drinkin' is a droog too, eh?

  • But they rot in prison, right? I feel so safe!

  • No takers. Wow. Is Slashdot finally getting rational again? Maybe I should wait another 30 minutes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Nah... the issue is you're on a Mac - so you needed to hit Command-F.

    • It was "last year" and that's not the POTUS we'd wage a never-ending demonization campaign against.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Keep in mind that's also the POTUS that if you dared speak out against, the first response from the progressives was that: "you're a racist." But hey, they can keep digging that hole, sure going to be interesting with Rice testifying now, especially after all that backtracking and that it appears that the previous administration illegally unmasked people for political reasons(or that her story has changed and that she actually did unmask names illegally). And that those records were sent to the Obama libr []

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I think the problem people are having with the current POTUS is that he is a colossal fucking retard who claims people like Alex Jones are respectable members of the media.

          I certainly don't care if you're racist. Everybody's racist. I just care if you're an idiot. And the orange clown and his salad tossers are some of the biggest idiots we have seen in a long time, a weird mixture of terrified and ignorant old people, and unemployed and uneducated young people.

  • Yeah this sounds like US LEO-Logic... Way to go Common core! :-D
  • "And they learned nothing."

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Friday June 30, 2017 @10:37PM (#54723317) Journal
    3,300,000/26 suspects = 126,923 calls per suspect in two months?

    9065 calls per suspect per day=377 per day, or one call every 15.738 minutes if none of them sleep.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Friday June 30, 2017 @11:07PM (#54723385) Homepage

      Basically a fishing expedition authorised by secret courts. So 26 suspects and everyone they called and all the people that those people called and then all the people that those people called and on and on it went. Blatant criminal fishing expedition, criminal as it exceeds the laws governing search warrants by a huge margin. Planned from the start and approved by an extremely corrupt judge.

      • Or just an extremely lax judge. Investigators know how to play the system - if they want to push the limits of a warrant, they will know which judge is most likely to say yes.

    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      The 26 people were being tracked; reading between the lines, I'd say that Stingrays were used to try and find the location of these 26 suspects, and 3.3 million calls were routed through the Stingrays for the duration of their usage. Those calls didn't necessarily have their content 'listened in on.'

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        A court order can be very creative like that. An area has generations of people doing drug deals.
        People in the area are looking to buy drugs. Moving drugs for sale, cars driving after a drug deal. Driving to get more drugs after a sale with drug cash from the last drug sale.
        Buyer, seller, resupply, drug cash been moved. The entire area is infested with buyers, sellers and the resulting drug money been moved around.
        Every car stopped over the decades have been found with "compartments" that can be used
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Think of it in terms of 3 or 4 hops of connections from one really well presented court request. Friends of friends of friends of the internet account across the street.
      That maths gets big even with a few family, kin and average number of work, educational, friends been connected in the first 2 hops. 3rd and 4th hop gets bigger still as they all get collected on as a new hop.
      4 hops of connections to any US/international communications over decades and generations gets a lot of people all around the USA
  • You say this as though one branch of the government or other isn't tapping every phone call at all times.

    I think the true headline is they were forced to admit they USED 3.3 million of the records they already had.

  • Did they get a wiretap order for a call centre that one of the suspects worked at or something?

  • When I saw my boss's phone years ago had the ability to convert his phone messages into text, I knew we were officially living out 1984. We knew 10 years ago the phone companies were piping all their communications into a secret government room. You think they were just doing it to fight "turrists"?

  • ...and I don't just mean the US, is to rain the judicial equivalent of an Undertaker choke-slam upon government people who would abuse the law in such a fashion.

    Frankly, I think there should be a point in every constitution that someone abusing that which he is tasked to protect faces twice the penalty of someone who wasn't.

  • McNulty, what the fuck did you do?

  • The feebs can do ALL OF THIS, yet cannot arrest a single bankster responsible for the economic meltdown and continuing money laundering or Wells Fargo-like crimes? Oh, I forgot, Eric Holder . . . .(And Robert Swan Mueller III, and James Comey et al. Remember that dude, Swan, who was head of the FRBSF back in 1963 when millions of dollars of securities went missing?)
  • All that snooping using just one search warrant? That's efficiency.

    I for one welcome our snoopy police state overlords.

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.