Thursday, July 29, 2010

White House Seeks to Expand FBI Power, Erode Privacy

The Washington Post reports that the White House seeks to expand the power of the FBI to command access to electronic communications without a warrant. According to the Washington Post,
The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user's browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the "content" of e-mail or other Internet communication.
Agents could compel companies to disclose the information if they believe it will assist anti-terrorism or intelligence investigations.

Naturally, privacy advocates vehemently disapprove of the White House proposal. Critics also argue that President Obama is betraying his promise to back away from President Bush's policies that expanded government authority over civil liberties. These critics have a pretty solid argument.

3 comments:

Hippi Chicki Niki said...

Why do they need the power to do it without a warrant? If accessing this information is legitimately in the interest of public safety, then they should be able to obtain the necessary warrant. If it is a ticking time bomb type situation, then exigent circumstances should cover their failure to get the warrant first.

Am I missing a legitimate reason to have the authority to do this without warrants?

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Because they just want to snoop?

Hippi Chicki Niki said...

I could barely breathe for a good minute and a half because I was laughing so hard.

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