Is Big Brother Really Watching?

In the last few months and even years, there has been a great deal of media coverage regarding the leaking of intelligence information by famous insiders like Edward Snowden. The news reports and discussions reveal the ease with which the Government has collected phone records and other personal information of United States citizens. So the question becomes how easy is it in the state of Florida to intercept secure communications of Florida citizens also known as wiretapping?

To obtain a wiretap law enforcement has to follow the procedures laid out in chapter 934 of the Florida statutes. Although there are many technical conditions the most important requirements include a showing of necessity for the wiretap order. To show necessity to tap a phone, law enforcement must have probable cause to believe the suspect phone, or person using the phone, is using the phone to facilitate a crime.

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The crimes must be crimes listed in chapter 934. To show necessity law enforcement must include in their application and affidavit that they have tried normal law ENF techniques or that trying those methods is not likely to succeed or that it is too dangerous to try the technique. Surveillance of the target is one of the primary techniques the government must discuss.

The bottom line in Florida? Big brother could be watching and listening but not without probable cause and much real police work first.   Though this may be disheartening and seem like an infringement on personal freedoms, the debate is still open on whether this is necessary to protect our personal freedoms or it is simply a direct attack on freedom, thus making the whole effort counter-intuitive.