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The Listeners: A History of Wiretapping in the United States

Georgetown University English professor Hochman (Savage Preservation) explores in this fascinating history how wiretapping by U.S. law enforcement agencies went from a “dirty business” to a “standard investigative tactic.” … Contending that today’s “regime of ubiquitous backdoor surveillance” wasn’t inevitable, Hochman notes a major shift in the late 1960s when civil rights protests and racial uprisings in the Watts neighborhood of L.A.; Newark, N.J.; and other U.S. cities sparked a conservative backlash that led to the implementation of “repressive law enforcement policies,” including wiretapping, aimed largely at communities of color … This is an essential and immersive look at “what happens when we sideline privacy concerns in the interest of profit motives and police imperatives.” Read more

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