As with wiretaps, a trap-and-trace device records the telephone numbers of inbound callers to a suspected criminal’s telephone. The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 made some major changes regarding the legalities surrounding trap and trace, as is apparent in the long title of the Act: “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” This 324-page, complex piece of legislation provided greater powers to both domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies while eliminating judicial review; provided greater assistance for victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks; increased law enforcement’s cybercrime-fighting capabilities; and expanded law enforcement’s right to use surveillance tools, such as trap and trace orders, wiretaps, search warrants, pen registers, and subpoenas.
Law enforcement entities in countries besides the United States have been pushing their governments to do more regarding information interception in the fight against terrorism and cyberterrorism. For example, in August 2004, police chiefs in Canada arranged for a conference to lobby the federal government to take legal action so that the authorities could have greater access to Canadians’ email, Internet activities, and other electronic records. They called their proposed measure “The Lawful Access.” Police organizations in Canada have been saying for years that Criminal Code provisions for wiretaps, written in 1974, need amending so that police officers and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) can monitor residents’ email, instant text-messaging, mobile telephone conversations, telephone services using Internet connections (VoIP), and Web surfing. Now the Canadian federal government seems ready to act on those concerns, but privacy advocates say that extending wiretap laws into cyberspace will give police too much power and invade residents’ personal privacy. Bill C-74, the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act, was introduced in Canadian Parliament shortly before the 2006 election call. Then supported by the Liberals in power, it would have forced communications providers to build surveillance backdoors into the hardware that routes the Internet traffic. Moreover, it would have reduced existing legal safeguards by allowing law enforcement agencies to obtain some identifying information about Internet and telephone customers from communications providers without a warrant. Civil liberties groups expressed grave concerns about this proposed legislation and its impact on individual privacy and fundamental freedoms. Given that there was a change of government post-election, this bill has not been passed.
Department of Justice Canada. Lawful Access. [Online, August 14, 2003.] Department of Justice Canada Website. https://webmail.dc-uoit.ca/exchange/; Smith, G. Police to Seek Greater Powers to Snoop. The Globe and Mail, August 23, 2004, p. A1, A4; Woodside, K. and Gershel, A. The U.S.A. Patriot Act and Michigan’s Antiterrorism Act: New Anti-Terrorism Laws Make Sweeping Changes. [Online, 2004.] Michigan Bar Website. http://www.michbar.org/ journal/article.cfm?articleID=547&volumeID=41.