FBI to Target Urban Centers

Jesse Hirsh (jesse@lglobal.com)
Fri, 3 Nov 1995 15:03:58 -0500 (EST)


/* Written 4:24 PM Nov 2, 1995 by bwitanek in igc:njspeakout */
/* ---------- "FBI is On the Line!" ---------- */
Posted by Bob Witanek <bwitanek@igc.apc.org> 11/02/95

FBI PROPOSING DRACONIAN TELEPHONE EAVESDROPPING SYSTEM

The FBI is seeking a massive and expensive phone monitoring system
that will allow tapping 1 in 100 phone lines in selected areas, an
ability that greatly exceeds current law enforcement needs. Courts
authorize tapping of roughly 1 in 174,000 phone lines. The plan
would need congressional approval and financing. Supposedly, a
court order would still be required to turn on a phone tap.
Telephone companies and privacy right activists question the need
for such a system and are calling on law enforcement to define why
such phone tapping would be needed. The FBI also wants to provide
monitoring of digital lines (internet and other communications) in
addition to expanded voice monitoring. An FBI rep refused to
elaborate on its perceived need. In 1994, Clinton signed the
Digital Telephony Act, requiring telephone companies to change
their equipment to allow ease of digital monitoring. The FBI plan,
filed in the Federal Registry on 10/16/95, would call for
establishment of 3 categories for local phones: 1. Urban areas,
where most monitoring now takes place; In this category, the phone
companies would be required to provide access for monitoring of up
to 1% of phone calls. 2. In lower crime urban areas and suburban
areas, the FBI wants to have the ability to tap 1 in 200 phones.
3. In all other areas, the FBI want to be able to tap 1 in 400
phones. (New York Times, 11/2/95)

It is apparent that the areas where the FBI wants to concentrate
its highest phone tapping ability are areas where the poor and
minorities are concentrated. Is this a plan for crime control, or
are we witnessing the preparations for counterinsurgency warfare
against the poor and marginalized populations of the US?

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