How to Report an Illegal Wire Tap. We're long from the days of Watergate, but concerns over the potential for an illegal wire tap to affect ordinary lives still hangs in the air. Specifically, the "war on terror" raises questions about the legality of the U.S. National Security Agency's (NSA) ability to wire tap communications based on the belief that they may relate to terrorist activity. Of course, there are other occasions where an illegal wire tap might take place, such as in the case of a domestic dispute. In any case, you should know how to protect your constitutional rights and report an illegal wire tap to the authorities.
Take a lesson from recent history. On behalf of U.S. consumers, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against the NSA and AT&T, citing that the two entities teamed up to spy on communications, either via an illegal wire tap or from data mining. A federal judge denied motions from both parties to dismiss and the case has gone forward (see Resources below).
Realize that while incidents of legal wire tapping are relatively low (outside of television and movies), today's technology makes it quite easy for nearly anyone to place an illegal wire tap on your communications.
Report your suspicions to your phone company if you think your phone may have an illegal wire tap on it. Most phone companies will check the line for free and inform you if the wire tap is, in fact, illegal. They should also notify the appropriate law enforcement, as well as remove the tap.
Consider pressing charges if it turns out the illegal wire tap was placed by a menacing individual. You may also wish to consult a trial attorney to pursue a civil action.
- Be aware that experts insist that there are no valid detection devices available on the commercial market to determine if you have a wire tap of any kind on your phone. So, be wary of any product that claims it can.
- Your phone company will not tell you if there is a wire tap on your phone legally placed by a court or law enforcement agency with probable cause. In this case, you can expect to be notified of the wire tap within 90 days of its removal by the party responsible for it.