Wiretapping has been around since the invention of the telephone-and the government has been listening ever since. In 1928, the Supreme Court approved of wiretapping, along with using the recorded conversations as evidence. In 1945 the government takes it a step further by receiving microfilm copies of every telegram that enters and leaves the country-known as project Shamrock. In 1967, the Supreme Court overturned the 1945 ruling, and in 1968 a federal law restricts wiretapping. Shortly after Watergate, the government shuts down the Shamrock project.
In 1978, Shortly after Jimmy Carter becomes the new president, he signs in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allowing surveillance without a court order. After a failed attempt in 1986 to protect the privacy of emails, webpages, and electronic communications, the first court-ordered internet wiretap takes place, landing Julio Ardita in prison. October 2001 saw a huge change in wiretapping, including William Binney resigning from ThinThread and the Patriot Act being signed into law. From 2005 to today, we see acts, amendments, judgments and revelations from government officials that prove to us that our privacy may not be as private as we thought.
Learn more about wiretapping – what it is and it’s history in this infographic by Security Degree Hub.