1994-06-05 - Wiretapping, NYT article

Header Data

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
To: peb@netcom.com (Paul E. Baclace)
Message Hash: e28669e7ce73215a630e471c5d965f06a1afc2159023922b7c83bd4dc77230b0
Message ID: <199406050107.SAA27550@netcom.com>
Reply To: <199406042343.QAA07231@netcom.com>
UTC Datetime: 1994-06-05 01:07:39 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 4 Jun 94 18:07:39 PDT

Raw message

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Date: Sat, 4 Jun 94 18:07:39 PDT
To: peb@netcom.com (Paul E. Baclace)
Subject: Wiretapping, NYT article
In-Reply-To: <199406042343.QAA07231@netcom.com>
Message-ID: <199406050107.SAA27550@netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Paul Baclace writes:

> Does anyone find the following somewhat distorted:  "...White House
> and Justice Department officials have argued forcefully that is a 
> necessary information-age compromise between the constitutional
> right to privacy and the *traditional* powers of law enforcement
> officials."   [my emphasis]  If wiretapping laws were passed 
> in 1968, I don't consider that *traditional*.  Is Markoff speaking
> about surveillance in exceedingly general terms?

I think the "traditional" use of wiretapping, prior to the 1968 law,
was _de facto_, not _de jure_. The cops just wiretapped whomever they
felt needed wiretapping. (For evidence of this, from the FBI to NSA,
see books on Hoover's era, and Bamford on the NSA. For local cops, I
have no immediate source, but note that "wire men" did not suddenly
spring into existence in 1968...wiretapping has been used for many

The increased focus on civil rights (some would disagree with this
characterizaton...) with the "Miranda rights" and "authorized wiretap"
trends of the 1960s forced these practices to be formalized.

I'm not arguing that wiretapping is "good," just noting that there is
a plausible meaning to "traditional" that extends back beyond the time
when wiretapping was "officially recognized" as a tool of law

--Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^859433 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."