A roving wiretap is a warrant for a wiretap placed not on a specific phone, but on an individual. They are very useful for law enforcement when a suspect has easy access to various cell phones, computers, pay phones, and private land lines. Before roving wiretaps, the FBI would need to get a separate FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) warrant for each method of communication used by a terrorist. With roving wiretaps, the FBI only needs to get one warrant, and tap whatever line the suspect happens to be using at the time.
- DeRosa, Mary. “Section 206: Roving Surveillance Authority Under FISA: A Summary” (American Bar Association, 2005).
The Patriot Act extended the use of roving wiretaps to include the investigation of terrorist activities.