The FBI and Electronic Surveillance

January 17, 1997

In what legal observers call a 'startling' development, a U.S. Federal court last month ruled that the FBI could amass and keep — for as long as it deemed necessary — any and all information it gathers on the legal activities of Americans.

And just three days ago, the FBI said it wanted telephone companies to give police the capability to tap as many as 60,000 simultaneous phone conversations and other types of communication. Today we look at some recent — and worrying trends — involving the FBI, electronic surveillance, and the right to privacy.


KATE MARTIN, the director of the Center for National Security Studies, a Washington DC-based civil liberties advocacy and public education organization.

JIM DEMPSEY, of the Washington DC-based Center for Democracy and Technology.