The Pros of Phone Tapping

J Hey, I’m putting the paper together and this is what I’m going to use from your draft. I need you fill in the blanks. The most IMPORTANT part you’ll need to address is in the second paragraph. You need to look up “how phone tapping/surveillance has been regulated?” You stated that it has been regulated but didn’t explain how. Please work on that part and try to get as much information about it as you can. Also, give me the citations, where I bolded (NEED CITATION) below. Thanks a bunch! J

The police have been listening to phone conversations by tapping the phone lines since mid-1895. Phone tapping has been going on in America for more than a hundred years and has been an essential tool in combating crime. The practice of phone tapping has been present for generations and still remains a controversial issue. The process of phone tapping may be what some consider an invasion of privacy. However, phone tapping has grown to be an integrated part of legal activities and is crucial in their battle against crime and terrorism. In this section we wish to address the argument for phone tapping/surveillance. Thus, it has been argued that privacy doesn’t outweigh the potential lives that can be saved with phone tapping. Phone tapping, used by law enforcement agencies, is not centered on listening to conversations about “how an individual’s day was”, but rather the notions of an imminent crime posing threat on society. Thus, the use of phone tapping could prevent a national tragedy from occurring. Hence, phone tapping is seen to be more beneficial than harmful to society.

The process of getting a phone tap is similar to that of any warrant; an approval must be obtained from a judge before any action is taken. Prior to September 11, 2001, the probability of one’s phone being tapped was minimal. After September 11, the Patriot Act was passed and the likelihood of one’s phone being tapped increased. Although, the Patriot Act made phone tapping easier for law enforcement agencies, the chances of everyday individuals phone being tapped remains low (Jane, 2001). To address the public’s concern about giving law enforcement agencies too much surveillance power, legal agencies have limited their use of phone tapping. Phone surveillance is constantly regulated to prevent any law enforcement agencies from abusing such privilege (HOW HAS IT BEEN REGULATED). Therefore, the use of phone tapping is controlled and used objectively. As FCC Chairman William Kennard (1999) stated, “We have carefully balanced law enforcement’s need against the rights of all Americans to privacy” (WHERE DID THIS QUOTE COME FROM/NEED CITATION).

Phone surveillance is argued to be beneficial in a couple of ways. First, it plays a significant role in halting acts of terrorism from happening. For instance, the tapping of a phone lines could reveal dialogue about a planned attack against Americans. Thus, the use of phone surveillance could potentially save innocent lives from an act of malice. In support of these measures, former Attorney General Janet Reno stated, “[phone surveillance addressed the needs of law enforcement to combat terrorism, organized crime, and illegal drug activity while ensuring important privacy provisions” (WHERE DID THIS QUOTE COME FROM/NEED CITATION). Phone tapping can also protect our country from foreign espionage. Moreover, it can be used to aid US intelligence, in foreign affairs. Hence, US intelligence tapping of Iraqi phones aided them with Iraqi’s intent in the recent conflict between Iraq and the US (Agence France-Presse, 2003). Phone tapping has proved to be beneficial in the US, by providing information to aid in our national security. Second, phone surveillance is seen as the key element in the fight against crime. Illegal activity can be monitored by tapping the phones of known criminals. For instance, the major reason the apprehension and conviction of mob boss John Gotti was possible was due in part by phone tapping. Prior to his conviction, Gotti was known as the “Teflon Don”, because of his reputation of getting out of criminal charges(NEED CITATION/WHERE DID INFO. COME FROM?). Phone tapping is said to be a tool used, to get justice. Without phone tapping criminals, like John Gotti, would have gotten away with mass murder. All in all, these are the arguments