Law: The No Man's Land of High Tech

New devices aid police but threaten the right of privacy

On the morning of Nov. 2, 1983, Francis Lynch, then chief of detectives of the Woonsocket, R.I., police department, got a strange call. "You may think I'm crazy," said an excited young woman, "but there is some guy dealing drugs, and I can hear it on my radio." Lynch was skeptical, but he sent two detectives to the woman's house.

It turned out that the transmissions that the woman had heard on her AM radio were coming from a nearby home whose occupant, Leo DeLaurier, owned a cordless telephone. DeLaurier was apparently unaware that such devices are little more than short-range...

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