FBI Access to e-Mail, Web Data Raises Privacy Fear
An AP newswire article by Pete Yost, via SFGate.com, reports:
Invasion of privacy in the Internet age. Expanding the reach of law enforcement to snoop on e-mail traffic or on Web surfing. Those are among the criticisms being aimed at the FBI as it tries to update a key surveillance law.More here.
With its proposed amendment, is the Obama administration merely clarifying a statute or expanding it? Only time and a suddenly on guard Congress will tell.
Federal law requires communications providers to produce records in counterintelligence investigations to the FBI, which doesn't need a judge's approval and court order to get them.
They can be obtained merely with the signature of a special agent in charge of any FBI field office and there is no need even for a suspicion of wrongdoing, merely that the records would be relevant in a counterintelligence or counterterrorism investigation. The person whose records the government wants doesn't even need to be a suspect.
The bureau's use of these so-called national security letters to gather information has a checkered history.