Obama administration wants FBI access to people’s Internet browser history without a warrant

“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

SEE ALSO:
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

55 Comments

  1. If this type of snooping is only needed for terrorism and spy cases, then as relatively few such cases appear to reach the courts, applying for a warrant seems to be entirely appropriate and not unduly burdensome.

    This sounds to me more like another situation where they are using terrorism as an excuse to allow spying on anybody that they choose to.

      1. “Actually, it has very little if not nothing to do with him.”

        The Director of the FBI is under the Justice Department, all of whose employees work at the behest and pleasure of the President of the United States. Director Comey is an appointee of The Magic Negro®.

      2. When the “patriot act” came up for review, Obama himself decided to leave in text regarding data collection on citizens that was “supposed” to expire in his first term. These were meant to be temporary and he not only extended them, his administration has repeatedly tried to “enhance” them. Funny how people dogged Bush for the patriot act, but act as if this is only the FBI/NSA/DOJ pushing this today. He is the president..this is all him…Being bipartisan/unbiased means calling out people who don’t have our best interest regardless of their political affiliation.

    1. “Private Browsing Mode” does nothing if your ISP is keeping track of all the web sites you visit. After all, all that information has to go through your ISP before it gets to your ‘private browsing window’ for you to see. There is no way to keep your ISP from tracking your browsing if they want to. I agree with Rush 2012; it is time to get a non-tracking ISP or an encrypted VPN which keeps your ISP from knowing which web sites you visit. Wouldn’t want them knowing we read MDN!

  2. Don’t forget that his only wish is to honor Bush’s “patriot act”… lol
    If Obama would be white and republican, many people would applaud!
    Don’t worry, nice patriots, things will go much worse if a sort of Trump would get to presidency.

      1. I believe it was you who played the race card, asswipe: “Director Comey is an appointee of The Magic Negro®.”

        Race of the president is irrelevant. The USA has had cyber snooping ever since the Patriot Act, which was a bipartisan bill sponsored by your hypocritical party.

          1. Defining someone by race is… racist.

            Defining someone by their sex is… sexist.

            Glad to see nothing really changes in that great country of yours. Good luck with your clueless nominee, or in your own parlance, The Magic Caucasian.

            1. I guess you’re also against the “jackasses” who revised the Constitution so that Black people counted as a full person, instead of 3/5th?
              Racists gonna hate on treating people equally, as always.
              Amazing when anthropologists “revise” anthropology to acknowledge past mistakes.
              Terrible that Galileo “revised” the geocentric view of space.
              Terrible that Einstein “revised” the Newtonian view of space.
              Terrible that quantum mechanics “revised” our view of physics.

              Now, if you are complaining that your non-scientific racist beliefs are being challenged, have fun. Hopefully the rest of us will go with reality over fantasy.

            2. I’m not defending Obama, dumbass. I just believe in criticizing his policies based on the fact that many are totalitarian in nature, like those of most Democrats and Republicans. You, on the other hand, seem interested in catering to fellow racists by attributing to his skin color the fact that he enacts policies that most white Presidents before him also engaged in.
              Your racist comments take away from the effectiveness of criticizing what people actually _do_.

            3. Look, no it is not. You are wrong. Read one of the damn articles I linked to. YOU invoked “anthropology” but seem unwilling to read something BY anthropologists that points out you are spouting nonsense. Furthermore, you only invoked it because you thought someone’s “race” was relevant to being a totalitarian asshole, which is also obviously wrong.
              Stop trying to put a false veneer of science onto your nonsense racist beliefs.

        1. You should first learn where the phrase “The Magic Negro” came from.

          I’ll give the clueless amongst us a hint. IT WASN’T RUSH.

          Now, go forth, search and learn for yourself.

          1. Rush is still a loud mouth jackass druggie scumbag though.
            But I reserve the real contempt for those pathetic people who listen to and like his noxious spewings.

      2. So since your entire deck consists of jokers… should you be playing at all?

        Your racial diatribes and nasty jibes (see “Director Comey is an appointee of The Magic Negro®.” above) are some of the most racially motivated on this site.

          1. I want you so bad right now.
            What say we skip this joint, and get a hotel room, Botty?
            You bring the lube., I’ll bring the cattle prod.
            God, you turn me on!

    1. Bravo. Someone has the b@lls to say it, everyone knows it, but many choose to play Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil when it comes to this and would rather just fight forsome sort of lame shallow satisfaction of being “right”.

      I light a cigar in your honor, sir.

    1. Interesting opinion. In the last 8 years, the USA has climbed out of a major recession, now having ~5% unemployment. With the world economy in the doldrums, the USA is arguably the best place to do business. No overwhelming major corruption (Brazil, China). No significant domestic terrorist attacks (mid-east, Egypt Air, Belgium). US military is as strong or stronger than ever, with tens of thousands of them returned home from Bush’s wars. No curtailing of liberties beyond where GW Bush left it (sadly). Environment is as good as it has been in recent history, despite BP oil spills. Poverty caused by medical bankruptcies in rapid decline. Rich have gotten only richer, and the poor are in the same place they have always been in history, no worse than any presidency. Gasoline and other prices at historic lows (which makes corporate leaders whine, but is great for consumers).

      What a horrible state of the country. How we all wish we could return to 2008 when the banks were collapsing, the US was deploying troops en masse in the mideast, home foreclosures were rampant, the stock market was in freefall, and unemployement was in double digits and rising. Yeah, those were great Bush years!

    2. Thank God Obama is out of here. Worst eight years in our history.

      No. The Bush League / Neo-Conservative Era was equally as destructive, at the very least..

      And: Look at the clowns contending to replace Obama. OMFG.

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