Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pennsylvania House passes wiretap changes

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently passed a package of changes to the state wiretap law that would allow victims to record offenses against them and allow police to secretly respond to texts if they suspect the communications are crime-related.

With a wiretap law that has not been updated since 1998, state police have been outpaced by criminals who can slow an investigation simply by switching cell phones, Rep. Ron Marsico, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"Our statute is stuck in the days of Princess rotary phones," he said on the House floor. "It is time to move to the day of the iPhone."

The problem of disposable phone numbers would be addressed under the bill by allowing courts to authorize wiretaps for a person, rather than a particular phone number. Mr. Marsico also described situations where recordings that showed evidence of crimes could not be used in court because of the current wiretapping restrictions, reported the Post-Gazette.

The legislation has won a long list of supporters, according to Marisco's office, including the attorney general, the state police, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the state victim advocate, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the state associations of police chiefs, district attorneys and school boards.

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