The number of state and federal wiretaps jumped 34 percent last year, to a total of 3,194 intercepts, according to the latest report from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
California led the way, as state judges approved 657 wiretap applications. For all wiretaps, drug investigations and not anti-terrorism accounted for the greatest number of wiretaps. On average, wiretaps were in place for 40 days. Some of them could resemble vacuum cleaners: in a Southern California drug investigation, for instance, authorities reported scooping up 74,715 messages from cell phones.