Culture and Society

Is it legal to tap someone's phone?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Most governments have passed legislation making it illegal to listen in on someone else's phone conversation. Not only is it an infringement on that person's right to privacy, but it also violates the civil liberties of the people at each end of the conversation. In the United States, even police require special court orders before they can tap someone's phone line. Even with a court order, a police officer may only listen to a conversation for a certain amount of time, and there are lots of rules as to whether officers can use wiretap evidence in court. The rise of the Internet poses similar challenges. However, as of yet, Internet communication is not protected with the exact same standards of privacy as telephone communication.

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