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Mass. AG proposes updating wiretapping laws

April 19, 2011

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BOSTON—Attorney General Martha Coakley says the state's wiretapping laws are outdated and need to be revised to make fighting street gangs easier.

Coakley's comments Monday were in response to statements from two Supreme Judicial Court justices who said the state's wiretapping laws that date the 1960s limit the reach of law enforcement.

Justice Ralph Gants says the current law limits wiretapping to investigating organized crime," meaning electronic surveillance in unavailable to investigate violent street gangs.

Coakley tells The Boston Globe that the current law was written mainly to battle the Mafia, which had a corporate structure. She says modern gangs that also deal in human trafficking and shoplifting are often loose alliances in place for a short time.

She says her proposal addresses concerns over excessive government intrusion.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.boston.com/globe