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September 30 2012

ACLU forces government to reveal skyrocketing surveillance stats


Statistics obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union provides additional evidence that government surveillance of Americans has skyrocketed in recent years. The government is legally obligated to release reports about its surveillance activities, but it refused to do so until the ACLU sued to compel the production of the documents.

The reports concern what lawyers call "pen register" and "trap and trace" records. These terms originally referred to hardware devices law enforcement could attach to the phone network to capture information about (but not the contents of) phone calls. Pen registers recorded outgoing phone numbers. Trap and trace devices recorded incoming phone numbers.

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