Sen. Wyden sole voice opposing expansion of FBI's warrantless surveillance

Privacy advocates warned a proposed provision is a major threat to civil liberties.
Privacy advocates warned a proposed provision is a major threat to civil liberties.

The FBI is close to gaining authority to demand email data from ISPs without a warrant, according to The Intercept.

A provision in the Senate's annual intelligence authorization bill would expand the FBI's reach under national security letters, by which it can already demand certain data, usually metadata associated with phone or bank account records.

This only came to light because Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who cast the sole no vote against the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act, issued a statement claiming that one of the bill's provisions “would allow any FBI field office to demand email records without a court order, a major expansion of federal surveillance powers.”

The bill passed the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

As worded, the FBI might also be enabled to acquire web-surfing histories and other information about online activity, according to Sen. Wyden.

Privacy advocates warn that the proposed provision is a major threat to civil liberties.
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