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Here's a question that has been talked about a lot in my city following the Mickey Loomis Outside the Lines report that has yet to be officially substantiated.

Is it fair that wiretapping is legal for law enforcement and governmental purposes but not for private citizens? Consider the fact that recording telephone conversations is legal.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I have given this one enough time to simmer. No one jumped on it, so I'll get out there.

I guess it's been ever since I first read 1984 that I was quite leery of wire-tapping. When Bush started authorizing the monitoring of phone calls between U.S. citizens after 9/11 to "reduce the threat of terrorism," I was quite skeptical. Without going through the due process of obtaining a court order on a "suspicious" individual, wire-tapping can essentially just be racial profiling. I'm all about my own right to privacy. Same goes for emails.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
 

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I think wire-tapping is a necessary tool in the law-enforcement/counter terrorism tool box.

I think organized crime would be much worse here without wiretaps.

I'm sure that Patriot Act provisions have prevented terrorism.

That said it can be abused. I'd never trust Hoover with the powers of the Patriot Act.

It's critical to have an independent judiciary and a not-so-independent Congress in oversight roles.
 

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I think wire-tapping is a necessary tool in the law-enforcement/counter terrorism tool box.

I think organized crime would be much worse here without wiretaps.
I don't think anyone would dispute these points, but that variety of wire-tapping is court-ordered. At least that gives the illusion of check-and-balances in the process.

I'm sure that Patriot Act provisions have prevented terrorism.

That said it can be abused. I'd never trust Hoover with the powers of the Patriot Act.

It's critical to have an independent judiciary and a not-so-independent Congress in oversight roles.
This is more the meat of my problem. When it occurs "outside the law", you've left the boundaries of that "independent judiciary" you think is critical.
 
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