FBI Access to Records of Internet Activity
The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation. The Washington Post Reports, Many Internet service providers have resisted the government's demands to turn over electronic records, arguing that surveillance law as written does not allow them to do so. One senior administration government official, who would discuss the proposed change only on condition of anonymity, countered that "most" Internet or e-mail providers do turn over such data. In our opinion, here at Secure-Tunnel / Lockfox, it’s one thing to get a warrant in order to look into email and/or surf records, but it is quite another to have access to anything the FBI feels they need to dig into.
This Washington Post article poses a few good points discussed below, but we’d also like to hear what you think…Read on and tell us; is this going a bit far?
- Same as Phone Records? The transactional information at issue, which does not include Internet search queries, is the functional equivalent of telephone toll billing records, which the FBI can obtain without court authorization.
My Rebuttal: But the internet holds so much more information than telephone lines and they’re getting ever closer to full access of our private online matters. The effect of this access would be to greatly expand the amount and type of personal data the government can obtain without a court order.
- "Electronic communication transactional records" –The FBI may demand this without a judge's approval. 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 "content" of e-mail or other Internet communication.
My Rebuttal: Even if it was just this information, it still poses the possibility of access to more information. Gaining visibility into content of emails is just another step and the FBI will soon cross that too. This is when we ask, when does it end?
Even if you totally agree with the Government’s actions to go through with this proposal, Lockfox protects your surfing history by not logging your website and email activity. You can have confidence that your information is private. We’re not saying you have anything to hide, but you do have options and a right to your privacy to take action against this “Big Brother” attack.
The views expressed are those of the author and necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Lockfox.com