Wiretap refers to the act of tapping telephone or other means of communication to gather information. The government can wiretap your communication devices to gather information. Wiretapping laws vary by jurisdiction.
The number of federal and state wiretaps increased by 17% in 2015 in comparison to the prior year. More than 2/3s of the wiretaps were authorized by state court judges. The majority of the state wiretaps took place in California, New York, Nevada, New Jersey, Colorado, and Florida. The most federal wiretaps took place in Arizona.
Drug crimes constituted the majority of crimes under investigiation using wiretaps. Homicide and conspiracy represented the second and third most prevalent crimes under investigation.
During 2015, the wiretaps continued for an average of 43 days. A small number of state wiretaps reported that the communication had been encrypted. This hindered the government from intercepting the communication. Only 7 state wiretaps and 6 federal wiretaps reported encryption.
The average cost for a single state intercept was $42,216. The average cost for a single federal intercept was $48,892.