Saturday, January 28, 2017

Senate Setback for Move to Give FBI More Warrantless Spying Powers

Congress is backing off from a push to grant the Federal Bureau of Investigations more warrantless surveillance powers.

Lawmakers had been attempting to use the annual intelligence policy bill to allow the FBI to obtain more sensitive digital information from Americans, using only a subpoena.

That effort, however, has been abandoned, this year, according to a recently published Senate Intelligence Committee report on the legislation.

“This expansion of government surveillance authorities was both far-reaching and intrusive, potentially covering records related to Americans’ email exchanges as well as their login history, IP addresses, and internet browsing history,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore).

Wyden said the proposal would have given the FBI such spying authorities “with no court oversight.”

In the report, published late last week, on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Wyden noted that he would back the legislation, the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2017, with the additional surveillance powers stripped from the bill. He had held up the proposal on the Senate floor, in June 2016, after its authors sought to expand FBI’s spying authorities.

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