FBI expansion of surveillance powers meets obstacle

A senator placed a hold on legislation that has provisions to expand the scope of NSLs

A move in the US Senate to provide enhanced surveillance powers to the FBI through the use of National Security Letters met a hurdle Monday after Senator Ron Wyden placed a hold on the 2017 Intelligence Authorization bill over the controversial provisions.

Wyden’s hold is a a measure by which a senator or group of senators can prevent a motion from reaching a vote.

Tech companies and industry and civil rights groups are opposed to what is seen as a wider push by the Senate to increase the scope of the NSLs, which would allow the government to collect Internet records such as browsing history, email metadata, and location information through administrative orders and without court approval.

The 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act includes provisions to expand warrantless government surveillance and takes aim at a valuable independent oversight board, according to Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, who last month voted against the bill in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The current version of the intelligence authorization bill contains a provision in section 803 that would authorize individual FBI field offices to demand Americans’ email and Internet records simply by issuing a NSL, without court oversight, Wyden said in a statement while announcing the hold in the Senate.

The FBI is currently allowed to issue NSLs to collect phone records and financial records, without the approval of a judge, and in 2013 the President’s surveillance review group recommended reforming this authority, to require court oversight such requests, Wyden said.

Last week, separate legislation to give the government enhanced powers for NSLs did not pass, though senators have indicated that they would have another shot at it. The amendment was included as part of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

Wyden said he hoped to be able to work with colleagues to remove the controversial provisions prior to their consideration of the bill by the full Senate. “Until then I will object to the proposal to pass this bill by unanimous consent,” he added.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?