2001 Wiretap and JEC cyberterrorism Reports

R. A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Wed May 29 14:29:28 EDT 2002

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Status:  U
From: Brad Jansen <bjansen at freecongress.org>
Subject: 2001 Wiretap and JEC cyberterrorism Reports
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 13:32:42 -0400

The 2001 Wiretap report is out (my observations and press statement
attached) and the Joint Economic Cmte has just released its report on the
Cyberterrorist Threat: Security in the Information Age: New Challenges, New

>From the Wiretap report:
A total of 1,491 intercepted authorized by federal and state courts were
completed in 2001, an increase of 25% (from the previous year).  Not
counting illegal ones, ones under FISA, and some from US Customs in NY that
were lost in WTC.    Does not count pen register and trap and trace data.

68% of all wiretaps were for "portable device carried by/on individual",
next most common was "personal residence" (14%)

"roving" wiretaps: 15 of 16 for drug offense investigations

78% of all applications for intercepts authorized in 2001 cited drug
offenses as the most serious offense under investigation.

only one in five of those arrested as a result of intercepts were convicted
(732 of 3,683)

judges approved all applications

>From 1991 to 2001, the number of intercept applications authorized increased
74%.  The percentage of wiretaps involved in drug-related investigations
increased from 63% in 1991 to 78% in 2001.

For the JEC report:

>  <<...OLE_Obj...>> For Immediate Release:
> Contact: Steve Lilienthal 202-204-5304
> May 29, 2002
> slilienthal at freecongress.org
> Regarding the release of the 2001 Wiretap Report
> The release of the 2001 Wiretap Report by the Administrative Office of the
> United States Courts led Free Congress Foundation's J. Bradley Jansen to
> warn Americans that our nation's time-tested freedoms can be eroded by the
> overzealous use of electronic surveillance by law enforcement.
> "Wiretaps can be an important and legitimate tool for law enforcement, but
> the importance of probable cause and respecting  privacy should not be
> lost. More than 23 million conversations were intercepted last year
> resulting in 3,683 arrests. Since only one  in five of those arrested were
> convicted, evidence suggests that judges should be more mindful of privacy
> and hold law enforcement to a higher standard," said Jansen, Deputy
> Director of the Center for Technology Policy.
> Over three-quarters of wiretap intercepts in 2001 involved drug
> investigations compared to 63% a decade ago when we were not fighting a
> War on Terrorism.
> "Law enforcement and politicians should take a look at those numbers in
> light of 9/11 and examine if too many resources are spent chasing the
> pager signals of petty drug dealers instead of greater threats to the life
> and property of Americans whom  they are sworn to protect," said Jansen.
> All applications for wiretaps were approved by judges.
> One fact worth noting is that encryption was encountered in 16 wiretaps
> that were terminated in 2001. However, in none of  the cases involving
> encryption were law enforcement officers unable to obtain the plain text
> of the communications that had been intercepted.
> The report can be found at:
> <http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap01/2001wttxt.pdf>
> - 30-

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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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