Who's Watching the Watched?
Great piece by Declan McCullough on the FBI and Justice Department asking the FCC to make sure voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers make it easy on the government to listen in on your conversations using such services. The whole detailed article is worth reading, but this was my favorite:
Federal and local police rely heavily on wiretaps. In 2002, the most recent year for which information is available, police intercepted nearly 2.2 million conversations with court approval, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Wiretaps for that year cost taxpayers $69.5 million, and approximately 80 percent were related to drug investigations. Those statistics do not include approximately the same number of additional wiretaps authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
80 percent for drug investigations–of course. The FBI and DoJ made sure they threw in the words "terrorists" and "spies" when making the pitch for this, though. Of course, we don't know how long these 4.4 million or so tapped phone calls are lasting, but one wonders–who the hell has time to listen to all these tapped conversations?