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Wiretapping and Eavesdropping - The Impact Of Electronic Surveillance On Personal Privacy

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While electronic surveillance undoubtedly enhances the government's ability to investigate crime, inherent in the nature of these techniques is the potential for grave invasions of individual privacy. Indeed, as one scholar of the topic has noted, "electronic surveillance has long posed a classic confrontation between privacy interests and the need for effective law enforcement" (Goldsmith). Wiretapping obviously invades the privacy interests of people who speak on the telephone. Eavesdropping allows the government to overhear and record all conversations occurring within the range of the bug or wired informant. Further, because electronic bugs and informants can gain access to private areas like homes and offices, eavesdropping can reveal information that is extremely private in nature. Consequently, clandestine electronic surveillance has the potential to eliminate personal privacy if left to the unfettered discretion of police officials. Because of this threat, wiretapping and eavesdropping have been subject to numerous constitutional challenges under the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees all persons the right to be free from unreasonable governmental searches and seizures.

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over 6 years ago

Wiretapping and Eavesdropping - The Impact Of Electronic Surveillance On Personal Privacy