In the government’s latest assault on civil rights, California Attorney General Kamala Harris has announced a new policy last month that the California Department of Justice (“CADOJ”) will only be issuing its annual reports on wiretaps as locked pdfs– which would significantly limit the public’s ability to view the information.
Every year, the CADOJ is required to compile the details on each state-level wiretap order filed by local prosecutors. The report that is released yearly is mandated by the state legislature as a means to facilitate transparency. See the 2014 California Electronic Interceptions Report (released last month) here. The report for 2014 shows a massive spike (an increase of 44%) in California’s wiretaps, mostly in Riverside County as compared in 2013. Further, on a national level, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has also showed an exponential increase in the use of wiretaps, increasing from 3,394 in 2000, to 11,681 electronic intercepts last year. DEA agents have also taken to making requests directly to state prosecutors instead of making federal requests, meaning most of the requests were never even reviewed by a federal judge.
Both the DEA and CADOJ offer little explanation regarding the massive expansion of wiretaps; they merely vaguely refer to the need to fight drug crimes.