wiretapping n: interception of the contents of communication through a secret connection to the telephone line of one whose conversations are to be monitored usually for purposes of criminal investigation by law enforcement officers NOTE: Wiretapping and wiretap evidence are strictly regulated under federal and state laws. An order authorizing wiretapping may be issued only when there is probable cause to believe that a person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a particular offense, and there must be probable cause to believe that communications relating to such an offense will be obtained. Wiretapping must not be employed when a conversation is privileged, and officers must minimize interception of conversations that are not material to the investigation.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.