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FBI access to e-mail and Web records raises fears

July 30th, 2010 . by TexasFred

FBI access to e-mail and Web records raises fears

WASHINGTON (AP) – Invasion of privacy in the Internet age. Expanding the reach of law enforcement to snoop on e-mail traffic or on Web surfing. Those are among the criticisms being aimed at the FBI as it tries to update a key surveillance law.

With its proposed amendment, is the Obama administration merely clarifying a statute or expanding it? Only time and a suddenly on guard Congress will tell.

Federal law requires communications providers to produce records in counterintelligence investigations to the FBI, which doesn’t need a judge’s approval and court order to get them.

They can be obtained merely with the signature of a special agent in charge of any FBI field office and there is no need even for a suspicion of wrongdoing, merely that the records would be relevant in a counterintelligence or counterterrorism investigation. The person whose records the government wants doesn’t even need to be a suspect.

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FBI access to e-mail and Web records raises fears

Has anyone ever heard of Carnivore? The Carnivore Program?

Carnivore was a system implemented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that was designed to monitor email and electronic communications. It used a customizable packet sniffer that can monitor all of a target user’s Internet traffic. Carnivore was implemented during the Clinton administration with the approval of the Attorney General.

The Carnivore program was canceled, and replaced with improved commercial software such as NarusInsight. Carnivore (software)

Well, it’s a lot like that, only more intrusive and a lot less detectable. New and improved, that’s what it’s all about. Bigger, better, faster, more intrusive information gathering at it’s best.

The bureau’s use of these so-called national security letters to gather information has a checkered history.

The bureau engaged in widespread and serious misuse of its authority to issue the letters, illegally collecting data from Americans and foreigners, the Justice Department’s inspector general concluded in 2007. The bureau issued 192,499 national security letter requests from 2003 to 2006.

If the FBI wants to collect data, if that data is pertinent to an investigation, go for it, but get a warrant and then collect your case information the old fashioned way, get OFF of your dead ass and get out in the field and do some old fashioned *leg work*. That’s a lot of what has to happen in most investigations, but web records are another matter entirely. A letter that states that it’s a matter of national security and voila, some geek at the FBI is in your computer, eating you cookies. :?

A key Democrat on Capitol Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont, wants a timeout.

The administration’s proposal to change the Electronic Communications Privacy Act “raises serious privacy and civil liberties concerns,” Leahy said Thursday in a statement.

“While the government should have the tools that it needs to keep us safe, American citizens should also have protections against improper intrusions into their private electronic communications and online transactions,” said Leahy, who plans hearings in the fall on this and other issues involving the law.

I don’t care if he is a Democrat, Leahy is correct in his every word in this regard. There are 2 key words here that I have to point out though; American Citizens.

We, the American citizen, DO have a right to privacy. It’s not American citizens that are invading this nation, it’s not American citizens that flew the planes on 9-11. We have dangers in this nation that need to be addressed and investigated, but to have a blanket ability to access ALL of ANY Americans files and computer records does, at least in my mind, open the door to a lot of abuse of those privileges by those in a position of authority.

Critics are lined up in opposition to what the Obama administration wants to do.

“The FBI is playing a shell game,” says Al Gidari, whose clients have included major online companies, wireless service providers and their industry association.

The FBI is always playing a shell game. That is their job, it’s how they get things done. They are masters of deception and use that deception to gain information on all things related to national security.

Under the Obama administration, and the supervision of AG Eric Holder, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the FBI was keeping records on anyone and everyone, especially folks like me, the bloggers that speak out against the travesty that IS the Obama administration.

The problem the FBI has been having is that some providers, relying on the 2008 Justice opinion – issued during the Bush administration – have refused to turn over Internet records such as information about who a person e-mails and who has e-mailed them and information about a person’s Web surfing history.

OK, I admit it. I’m a Conservative political activist. I am a member of a TEA Party. I didn’t vote for Barack Hussein Obama and I criticize his administration at every turn. I write letters and send emails to my elected officials. I share jokes, stories and blog posts with my friends. I read a lot of sites that are directly related to politics, and a few that aren’t. I have, on occasion, admired a well built, full grown and beautiful woman in her full splendor.

So sue me.

I’m a red blooded American male, a Patriot and a Conservative libertarian. That translates into *fiscal Conservative* and *social libertarian* for those not familiar with the phrase.

I just laid out MY online activities for the FBI. That should make life a lot easier for them, and might free up an agent that could actually do something useful, like track down Islamic terror suspects and the like. And to my readers, I advise you to NEVER do anything on your computer that you don’t want seen by others.

There are those that can and will look into the deepest, darkest details of your life It is one of the most amazing things to me how some people share every detail of their life in online chat rooms and on social networking sites and store their most intimate thoughts and details on a computer.

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2 Responses to “FBI access to e-mail and Web records raises fears”

  1. comment number 1 by: Always On Watch


    Under the Obama administration, and the supervision of AG Eric Holder, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the FBI was keeping records on anyone and everyone, especially folks like me, the bloggers that speak out against the travesty that IS the Obama administration.


    I couldn’t agree more.

    This idea that the FBI can investigate online communication without a warrant is yet another step into an Orwellian world.

  2. comment number 2 by: minuteman26

    A warrant should be required to gain intenet info. That being said I always assume someone is snooping and post accordingly. If they are taking a blanket look at everyones e-mails, I sure hope they are scrutenizing those in Congress and the Obama regime very closely.