Federal Government Information Technology: Electronic Surveillance and Civil Liberties   [open pdf - 7MB]

"Public policy on the use of information technology to electronically monitor individual movements, actions, and communications has been based on a careful balancing of the civil liberty versus law enforcement or investigative interests. New technologies--such as data transmission, electronic mail, cellular and cordless telephones, and miniature cameras--have outstripped the existing statutory framework for balancing these interests. The primary technical focus of this report is on technological developments in the basic communication and information infrastructure of the United States that present new or changed opportunities for and vulnerabilities to electronic surveillance, not on the details of specific surveillance devices. The primary policy focus is on domestic law enforcement and investigative applications, not on foreign intelligence and counterintelligence applications. Thus, this report addresses four major areas: 1) technological developments relevant to electronic surveillance; 2) current and prospective Federal agency use of surveillance technologies; 3) the interaction of technology and public law in the area of electronic surveillance, with special attention to the balancing of civil liberty and investigative interests; and 4) policy options that warrant congressional consideration, including the amendment of existing public law to eliminate gaps and ambiguities in current legal protections."

Report Number:
Office of Technology Assessment Report No. OTA-CIT-293
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Dept. of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/
Media Type:
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