Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An act of secretly listening to or recording a person's telephone or Internet conversations, often as part of a police investigation.
  • noun A device that is connected to a communications circuit in a concealed fashion in order to enable a wiretap.
  • transitive verb To listen to or record in secret (a conversation carried on over a telephone line or other communications channel), often as part of a police investigation.
  • transitive verb To wiretap the conversations on (a telephone line or other communications channel), often as part of a police investigation.
  • transitive verb To wiretap the conversations of (a person) or the communications devices in (a place).
  • transitive verb To connect a concealed listening or recording device to (a telephone line).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun the act or event of tapping a telephone or telegraph line to get information surreptitiously.
  • transitive verb to tap{5} (a telephone or telegraph line) to get information surreptitiously; also, to obtain or record (information) by use of a wiretap.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A concealed device connected to a telephone or other communications system that allows a third party to listen or record conversations.
  • noun The act of installing such a device.
  • verb To install or to use such a device.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb tap a telephone or telegraph wire to get information
  • noun the act of tapping a telephone or telegraph line to get information

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

wire +‎ tap

Examples

  • John Sununu, R-N. H., and others that certain wiretap and record seizure provisions violate privacy rights.

    '06 address highlights and their outcomes

  • An unwarranted wiretap is perfectly legal — so long as you go to the FISA court within 3 days after the fact.

    Think Progress » Fact Check: Clinton/Carter Executive Orders Did Not Authorize Warrantless Searches of Americans

  • From what I understand, the acutal process of apply for and recieving permission to wiretap is so slow, that by the time you got such permission, the opportunity would be gone.

    Think Progress » Move Over Supreme Court: Rice Anoints Gonzales As “The Highest Legal Authority In The Country”

  • Today it's John Ashcroft's Justice Department, also invoking "national security," that hopes to seize the phone records of Judith Miller and Philip Shenon of The Times, claiming that what amounts to a virtual wiretap is warranted by articles about Islamic charities and terrorism published nearly three years ago.

    October 2004

  • "The word wiretap strikes fear in the hearts of everyone, even the innocent," said Brad Balter, who runs Balter Capital Management LLC, a Boston-based firm that allocates clients 'money to hedge funds.

    The Financial Express

  • Sorry – don’t have a problem with that. if a wiretap is actually “related to al Qaeda”, then there should be no problem getting a supoena.

    Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Baby Steps To Authoritarianism

  • However, knowingly or not, the Brazilian people still refer to the old process - the "wiretap" - as it still exists.

    Home

  • However, knowingly or not, the Brazilian people still refer to the old process - the "wiretap" - as it still exists.

    Home

  • However, knowingly or not, the Brazilian people still refer to the old process - the "wiretap" - as it still exists.

    Home

  • However, knowingly or not, the Brazilian people still refer to the old process - the "wiretap" - as it still exists.

    Home

Comments

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  • "Officers in Milan say organised crime, arms and drugs traffickers, and prostitution rings are turning to Skype in order to frustrate investigators. The police say Skype's encryption system is a secret which the company refuses to share with the authorities. Investigators have become increasingly reliant on wiretaps in recent years. Customs and tax police in Milan have sounded the alarm."

    - David Willey, Italy police warn of Skype threat, BBC website, 14 Feb 2009.

    February 15, 2009