Thursday, May 26, 2016

The 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act

As part of its continuing push for ever greater surveillance powers, the FBI is hoping that a new bill, known as the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act, will be enacted into law, as the proposed legislation makes it possible for the agency to read emails without a warrant. It’s already been given Senate Intelligence Committee approval and will next be considered by the Senate as a whole....

Essentially, the bill would extend current FBI powers authorized by the Patriot Act, which allows the government to force telecoms companies to hand over phone records on individuals suspected of terrorism and other crimes. Known as a National Security Letter, recipients are not allowed to speak about the FBI investigation either, essentially gagging the companies and individuals involved.

...If enacted, sending such a letter would not require a court order, nor require any oversight from external organizations whatsoever.

That’s the aspect of the bill that lone-Senate Intelligence Committee dissenter, Ron Wyden, highlighted as part of his no vote.

This bill takes a hatchet to important protections for Americans’ liberty,” he said (via CNet). “This bill would mean more government surveillance of Americans, less due process, and less independent oversight of U.S. intelligence agencies.” more