“The Obama administration is seeking to amend surveillance law to give the FBI explicit authority to access a person’s Internet browser history and other electronic data without a warrant in terrorism and spy cases,” Ellen Nakashima reports for The Washingtron Post. “The administration made a similar effort six years ago but dropped it after concerns were raised by privacy advocates and the tech industry.”
“FBI Director James B. Comey has characterized the legislation as a fix to ‘a typo’ in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which he says has led some tech firms to refuse to provide data that Congress intended them to provide,” Nakashima reports. “But tech firms and privacy advocates say the bureau is seeking an expansion of surveillance powers that infringes on Americans’ privacy.”
MacDailyNews Take: Lyin’ Comey.
“Comey said that making this change to the law is the bureau’s top legislative priority this year,” Nakashima reports. “But privacy groups and tech firms are again warning that the expansion of power would erode civil-liberties protections.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The ECTR Coalition has issued a letter in response in which they argue that the expansion of the NSL powers would reveal “incredibly intimate” details of a person’s life. “This information could reveal details about a person’s political affiliation, medical conditions, religion, substance abuse history, sexual orientation and… even his or her movements throughout the day.”
No wonder Lyin’ Comey loves the idea.
Portions of the ECTR Coalition letter, verbatim:
“This expansion of the NSL statute has been characterized by somegovernment officialsas merely fixing a ‘typo’in the law. In reality, however, it would dramatically expand the ability of the FBI to get sensitive information about users’ online activities without court oversight. The provision would expand the categories of records, known as Electronic Communication Transactional Records (ECTRs), that the FBI can obtain using administrative subpoenas called NSLs, which do not require probable cause. Under these proposals, ECTRs would include a host of online information, such as IP addresses, routing and transmission information, session data, and more.”
“The civil liberties and human rights concerns associated with such an expansion are compounded by the government’s history of abusing NSLauthorities. In the past ten years, the FBI has issued over300,000 NSLs, avast majority of which included gag orders that prevented companies from disclosing that they received a request for information. An audit by the Office of the Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Justice in 2007 found that the FBI illegally used NSLs to collect information that was not permitted by the NSL statutes. In addition, the IG found that data collected pursuant to NSLs was stored indefinitely, used to gain access to private information in cases that were not relevant to an FBI investigation,and that NSLs were used to conduct bulk collection of tens of thousands of records at a time.”
Full letter: https://www.aclu.org/letter/ectr-coalition-letter
FBI Director James Comey’s war on Apple and privacy is becoming a political problem for Obama and the Democrats – March 9, 2016
How Apple’s clarion call united the entire tech industry against U.S. government overreach – March 8, 2016
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Obama administration set to expand sharing of data that N.S.A. intercepts – February 28, 2016
Apple’s fight with U.S. could speed development of devices impervious to government intrusion – February 24, 2016
Petition asks Obama administration to stop demanding Apple create iPhone backdoor – February 19, 2016
Obama administration claims FBI is not asking Apple for a ‘backdoor’ to the iPhone – February 18, 2016
Obama administration wants access to smartphones – December 15, 2015
Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier – July 31, 2015
Obama’s secret attempt to ban cellphone unlocking, while claiming to support it – November 19, 2013