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In re Application of United States of America For An Authorizing Installation

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

September 26, 2018

IN RE APPLICATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR AN AUTHORIZING THE INSTALLATION AND USE OF PEN REGISTERS AND TRAP AND TRACE DEVICES

         FILED UNDER SEAL

          MARTIN J. CONBDY Assistant U.S. Attorney

          APPLICATION

          MICHAEL D. NELSON United States Magistrate Judge

         The United States of America, moving by and through Martin J. Conboy, IV, its undersigned counsel, respectfully submits under seal this ex parte application for an order pursuant to 18 U.S.C §§ 3122 and 3123, authorizing the installation and use of pen registers and trap and trace devices ("pen-trap devices") to record, decode, and/or capture dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information associated with each communication to or from the cell phone No. described in Attachment A to the proposed Order. In support of this application, the United States asserts:

         1. This is an application, made under 18 U.S.C. § 3122(a)(1), for an order under 18 U.S.C. § 3123 authorizing the installation and use of a pen register and a trap and trace device.

         2. Such an application must include three elements: (1) "the identity of the attorney for the Government or the State law enforcement or investigative officer making the application"; (2) "the identity of the law enforcement agency conducting the investigation"; and (3) "a certification by the applicant that the information likely to be obtained is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by that agency." 18 U.S.C. § 3122(b).

         3. The undersigned applicant is an "attorney for the government" as defined in Rule 1(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

         4. The law enforcement agency conducting the investigation is the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA").

         5. The applicant hereby certifies that the information likely to be obtained by the requested pen-trap devices is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the DEA.

         6. This Court is a "court of competent jurisdiction" under 18 U.S.C. § 3122(a)(2) because it "has jurisdiction over the offense being investigated," 18 U.S.C. § 3127(2)(A)(i).

         ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

         7. Other than the three elements described above, federal law does not require that an application for an order authorizing the installation and use of a pen register and a trap and trace device specify any facts. The following additional information is provided to demonstrate that the order requested falls within this Court's authority to authorize the installation and use of a pen register or trap and trace device under 18 U.S.C. § 3123(a)(1).

         8. A "pen register" is "a device or process which records or decodes dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information transmitted by an instrument or facility from which a wire or electronic communication is transmitted." 18 U.S.C. § 3127(3). A "trap and trace device" is "a device or process which captures the incoming electronic or other impulses which identify the originating No. or other dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information reasonably likely to identify the source of a wire or electronic communication." 18 U.S.C. § 3127(4).

         9. In the traditional telephone context, pen registers captured the destination phone No. of outgoing calls, while trap and trace devices captured the phone No. of incoming calls. Similar principles apply to other kinds of wire and electronic communications, as described below.

         10. The Internet is a global network of computers and other devices. Devices directly connected to the Internet are identified by a unique No. called an Internet Protocol, or "IP" address. This No. is used to route information between devices. Generally, when one device requests information from a second device, the requesting device specifies its own IP address so that the responding device knows where to send its response. An IP address is analogous to a telephone No. and can be recorded by pen-trap devices, and it indicates the online identity of the communicating device without revealing the communication's content.

         11. A network is two or more computers or other devices connected to each other that can exchange information with each other via some transmission method, such as by wires, cables, or radio waves. The equipment that connects a computer or other device to the network is commonly referred to as a network adapter. Most network adapters have a Media Access Control ("MAC") address assigned by the manufacturer of the adapter that is designed to be a unique identifying number. An adapter's unique MAC address allows for proper routing of communications on a local area network and may be used for other purposes, such as authentication of customers by some network service providers. Unlike a device's IP address that often changes each time a device connects to the Internet, a MAC address is fixed at the time of manufacture of the adapter. Because the address does not change and is intended to be unique, a MAC address can allow law enforcement to identify whether communications sent or received at different times are associated with the same adapter.

         12. On the Internet, data transferred between devices is not sent as a continuous stream, but rather it is split into discrete packets. Generally, a single communication is sent as a series of packets. When the packets reach their destination, the receiving device reassembles them into the complete communication. Each packet has two parts: a header with routing and control information, and a payload, which generally contains user data. The ...


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