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Electronic Surveillance: Technologies Continue to Pose Challenges

(Testimony, 08/11/94, GAO/T-AIMD-94-173).

In 1992, GAO reported that the ability of law enforcement agencies to
execute court-approved wiretaps was challenged by advanced
telecommunications technology.  To determine changes in the state of
technology since that time, GAO interviewed representatives from law
enforcement organizations, telephone service providers and manufacturing
companies.  These discussions revealed that although some technological
solutions have been developed to facilitate law enforcement agencies'
wiretap efforts, other technology changes have made it more difficult
for them to use traditional wiretap methods.  While these agencies are
still able to conduct most court-approved wiretaps, they report that
investigations were delayed or court orders simply were not pursued
because of these problems.  In addition, industry representatives told
GAO that there are current and imminent technological situations that
would be difficult to wiretap, even though they have not yet received
wiretap court orders for those situations.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Electronic Surveillance: Technologies Continue to Pose 
      DATE:  08/11/94
   SUBJECT:  Intelligence gathering operations
             Telecommunications operations
             Proposed legislation
             Law enforcement agencies
             Law enforcement
             Telecommunications equipment
             Interagency relations
             Research and development costs
             Cost control
             Crime prevention


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