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Feds’ Use of Surveillance Devices Rises Sharply

The Justice Department’s use of electronic devices to intercept phone numbers, email addresses and online information has climbed by 64 percent since 2009.

Michael Blann, Getty Images

 

That’s according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which says that from 2009 to 2011, the number of court orders to track incoming and outgoing calls from certain phones rose from 23,535 in 2009 to 37,616 in 2011.

The civil liberties advocacy group analyzed the government data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and released a report Thursday.

Though used far less frequently, the number of court orders targeting individuals’ email and network communications data rose from 360 in 2009 to 1,661 through the end of 2011.

The Justice Department says civil liberties are safeguarded by obtaining court approval to use such surveillance.

 

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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