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Push for New Wire-Tapping Laws

PhoneSPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)  — Attorney General Martha Coakley is pushing for legislation that would expand and modernize the state’s wire-tapping laws.

It’s something Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni supports.

He says the current wire-tapping laws have not been updated since 1968 and don’t take into account modern forms of communication, including cell phones.

“The statute uses the wire tap definition for a telephone that you plug into the wall,” said Mastroianni.  “That’s no longer modern-day technology. Everyone’s on cell phones.  Everyone’s using smart phones.  There’s data transfer and there’s text messages where we want the new law to apply directly to that type of communication.”

Coakley and Mastroianni say the changes would help police target violent street criminals and illegal guns.  Critics, including some defense attorneys, say expanded wire-tapping could lead to abuses by law enforcement.

A similar proposal fell short of final approval on Beacon Hill last year.

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