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Judge: 30,000 Secret Spy Orders Made Each Year

June 7, 2012 by  

Judge: 30,000 Secret Spy Orders Made Each Year
PHOTOS.COM
The government may be monitoring your computer and cellphone activity right now without your knowledge.

Under the Electronic Privacy Act of 1986, estimates one judge, 30,000 secret surveillance orders are made each year.

In a new paper, “Gagged, Sealed & Delivered,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith writes that the volume of such cases “is greater than the combined yearly total of all antitrust, employment discrimination, environmental, copyright, patent, trademark and securities cases filed in federal court.”

This is all done without authorities having to issue a traditional search warrant because of the digital nature of the information sought, according to the judge.

“Through a potent mix of indefinite sealing, nondisclosure (i.e., gagging), and delayed-notice provisions, ECPA surveillance orders all but vanish into a legal void. It is as if they were written in invisible ink—legible to the phone companies and Internet service providers who execute them, yet imperceptible to unsuspecting targets, the general public, and even other arms of government, most notably Congress and the appellate courts,” he writes.

Because the law under which the surveillance orders are made was passed to dictate how electronic investigations were conducted before email and cellphones were commonplace, investigators are given almost free reign in spying on these modes of communication.

Most of the individuals investigated, according to the report, never even know it unless they are charged with a crime.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Chester

    The same rules that allow them to call for your library records and order the library NOT to tell you anyone had asked. The same rules that let them go to any store you might have done business with and ask to see the list of what you had purchased, then ORDER the store not to tell you anyone had inquired. Check the Patriot Act ordered and passed by Bush 2 to find out what all you can never be told was looked at.

  • eddie47d

    I thought all the mind controllers said it was Obama and the Democrats who started all this. Who was President in 1986? Thanks again Sam Rolley for pointing out that little gem and the fact that we do have more than a one headed snake governing us.

  • 45caliber

    This has been around since Clinton’s day. You have been warned. Don’t post or say anything that you don’t want the world to read.

    • Ben Gardner

      This was actually under GWB, not Clinton, in 2001.

      • Steve E

        This time, it really is Bush’s fault. However, Obama did sign to extend it.

      • 45caliber

        No, Ben, this was under Clinton. It was called the Privacy Improvement Act and it mandated that all communication devices (telephones, fax, computers, etc.) have chips installed that recorded all transmissions and downloaded those to the government at least once per day. They are then searched by code words (like ‘bomb’) and if one is detected a human reviews it. Sorry. GW only improved on this.

  • Big Woody

    So, If you sue the authorities for illeagal search, will they be able to prove they had a warrant and be forced to provide it to the court? Or will it be like Obama’s birth certificate? We have to take some other politician’s word that THEY saw it.

  • dufas magnet

    My question is:

    “Under the Electronic Privacy Act of 1986, estimates one judge, 30,000 secret surveillance orders are made each year.”… U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith writes that the volume of such cases “is greater than the combined yearly total of all antitrust, employment discrimination, environmental, copyright, patent, trademark and securities cases filed in federal court.”

    Judge Smith KNOWS this is going on yet he merely reports it? Where oh where have our advocates gone? It’s a damn good thing that I’m not on any judicial board as I would shake the supposed legality of this atrocity to it’s core…… Or would I instead simply pocket the chump change and keep my judicial gob shut? Decisions, decisions…

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