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Federal use increase

Federal investigations accounted for nearly half of all requests for electronic surveillance in 1993. 450 requests were approved by Federal judges, a 30 percent increase in requests over 1992. The 450 requests approved by federal judges represent a 30 percent increase over 1992. Federal use of electronic surveillance has increased nearly 450 percent since 1980. 51 federal judicial districts utilized electronic surveillance in 1993. The Southern District of New York, which includes New York City, and the Eastern District of Michigan, which includes Detroit were the areas with the highest number of orders. State use of electronic surveillance declines

State use of electronic surveillance declined from 1992 to 526 orders, a decrease of nine percent. State use was at its peak in 1973, when 734 orders were approved. Since the mid-1970's, average number of state orders has fluctuated between 450 and 550 per year.

In 1993, only 23 states used electronic surveillance. New York had the highest number of orders-204.73 percent of state orders were in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Total days in use increases substantially

The total use of electronic surveillance methods increased in 1994. Taps and bugs, on average, are in operation far longer overall There was a substantial increase in the total number of days in which surveillance was in reported in operation. The total number of days jumped 22 percent over 1992 to a total of 39,819 total days. Since 1980, there has been a nearly 400 percent increase in the number of days that surveillance devices have been in operation. Federal orders accounted for 56 percent of the days.

Requests for extensions have also increased substantially. The total number of extension requests granted for existing has surveillance increased 27.7 percent over 1992 to 825 total. Since 1980 there has been a 400 percent increase in the number of extensions granted. Each extension was conducted for an average of 29 days. Costs increase substantially

The average cost of each electronic surveillance order rose sharply in 1993. The average costs increased by 23 percent over 1992, up to an average of $57,000 per order. Federal orders were more expensive, each costing an average of $66,323. The total cost in 1993 for electronic surveillance was an estimated $65 million dollars. Since 1970, the average cost per order has increased 1,100 percent. Efficiency declines

As the use of electronic surveillance has increased, its efficiency as a law enforcement tool has substantially declined. The vast majority of conversations overhead are determined by the prosecutors to be irrelevant to any investigation. In 1993, prosecutors determined that only 20 percent of all conversations were relevant. For federal investigations, only 17 percent were relevant. These percentages have been rapidly decreasing since the 1970's when prosecutors reported that on average over half of all conversations were relevant.

Prosecutors reported that, on average, 100 different individuals' conversations were intercepted per order. Of the nearly 100,000 people whose conversations were intercepted, 2,400 were reported in 1993 to have been arrested with the assistance of electronic surveillance.




Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Director
David L. Sobel, Legal Counsel
Dave Banisar, Policy Analyst
EPIC Board of Advisors:
Hon. John Anderson
Prof. Chris Borgman, UCLA School of Information Science

David Burnham, Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse
Dr. Richard Claude, Human Rights Quarterly
Simon Davies, Privacy International
Dr. David Chaum, Digicash
Prof. Oscar Gandy, Annenberg School of Communications
Judith Krug, American Library Association
Prof. Gary Marx, University of Colorado Boulder
Dr. Peter G. Neumann, SRI International
Michael Pertschuk, Advocacy Institute
Dr. Barbara Simons, USACM
Dr. Willis Ware, RAND Institute
(affiliations are for identification)

Titic III - Total Reported Days in Operation 1968-1993

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Average Number of People Intercepted Per Tide III Intercept 1968-1993

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