Countless articles have been written over the years weighing the so-called ‘benefit’ of insider—more efficient markets—with its obvious evils. Yet over the past few years, a new debate has emerged over where to draw the line between aggressive information gathering and personal privacy.
Beginning with Raj Rajaratnam in 2009, the government has increasingly favored wiretaps to convict dozens of insiders. Wiretaps have been very effective—it’s hard to argue your innocence when your voice directly incriminates you—but they’ve also been very controversial.
In one case, the government continued listening to highly personal conversations between a man and his wife. In another, an ordinary civilian was the accidental target of a phone tap for nearly a year.
Do you consider the use of wiretaps to catch insider trading a public service or an invasion of privacy? Where do you draw the line? Are such methods the best way to deter future insider trading violations?