Judge Says No ‘Two-Minute Rule’ When Listening in on Personal Phone Calls

FBI Believes That a Two-Minute or Less Conversation can be Listened to in its Entirety Even if it has Nothing to do With the Investigation at Hand.

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Mark Hamblett from the New York Law Journal reports the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit declined to adopt a rule that FBI agents get a “two-minute presumption” on the reasonableness of wiretapping calls that are personal in nature. The ruling in Drimal v Makol, et al. undercuts the FBI’s assumption that all calls under two minutes in length can be listened to in their entirety, no matter their relevance to ongoing investigations. However, the ruling cannot be applied broadly to other FBI wiretapping efforts. The court in Drimal v Makol, et al. says that there is no such two-minute rule and that, particularly in a case like this one, it often should be obvious after only a few seconds – either because of the content or because of the identity of the parties – that listening must stop.

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