9th Circ. Backs Wiretaps, But Could Restrict Use Of New Tech

By Allison Grande (July 23, 2012, 10:03 PM EDT) -- The Ninth Circuit on Friday refused to throw out standard cellphone wiretaps used to convict a pair of drug dealers, but the ruling could limit the use of new cellphone-bugging technology that didn't exist when current privacy laws were enacted, experts say.

In seeking to suppress wiretap evidence against them, defendants Jorge Ortiz Oliva and Pablo Barajas Lopez argued that the police had used advanced technology to access their cellphones when they weren't in use and turn them into listening devices. The police needed but didn't receive enhanced authorization to use such technology, they said.

A three-judge panel acknowledged that the...

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