Threat Intelligence

Significant drop recorded in FBI searches of Section 702 database

The FBI seal is seen on its headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building in Washington.

Only more than 57,000 searches were conducted by the FBI on the database of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2023, representing an over 50% decrease in queries from the previous year that a senior FBI official said was due to the agency's internal reforms, according to The Record, a news site by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.

However, foreign targets of Section 702 surveillance rose from 246,073 in 2022 to 268,590 in 2023 while court-approved wiretap and physical search order targets increased from 417 to 759 during the same period, a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence showed.

The findings also showed that the number of U.S. individuals or corporations revealed by the National Security Agency to have had their data gathered by a foreign surveillance law rose by almost 175% year-over-year to more than 31,000, with the increase mostly attributed to an intelligence report detailing an attempted foreign cyberattack against U.S. critical infrastructure.

Such a report comes after the recent two-year reauthorization of Section 702.

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