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White House proposal would ease FBI access to records of Internet activity

July 29, 2010
Ellen Nakashima

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 administration wants to add just four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval. Government lawyers say 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 lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.

And now… the rest of the story. …..

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ross Wolf permalink
    July 29, 2010 2:42 pm

    One cannot consider separately the FBI’s request to obtain without warrants, Citizens’ “electronic communication transactional records” including addresses persons sent email, without also considering the affect of pending federal legislation that may pass.

    For example, Sen. McCain on March 4, 2010 introduced The “Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010.” McCain’s bill would eliminate several Constitutional protections allowing Government to arbitrarily pick up Americans on mere suspicion—with no probable cause. Your political opinions and statements made against U.S. Government could be used by Authorities to deem you a “hostile” “Enemy Belligerent” to cause your arrest and indefinite detention. Under S.3081 government may use an individual’s phone call and email information to allege without probable cause “suspicious or hostile activity against the United States or civilians to detain Americans.” U.S. activists and individuals under S.3081 would be extremely vulnerable to detention and or prosecution, if (charged with suspicion) of “intentionally providing support to an Act of Terrorism”, for example American activists can’t control what other activists might do illegally—they network with by email domestically and overseas. Government under S.3081 would need only allege an individual kept in detention, is an Unprivileged Enemy Belligerent suspected of; having engaged in hostilities against the United States; its coalition partners; or Civilians or (has) purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States; its coalition partners or U.S. civilians.

    More recently Obama gave a speech in May 2010 that asked Congress to pass legislation to give the President, power to detain any person in the U.S. that government deems a “combatant” or likely to engage in a violent act in the future. President Obama wants the power to incarcerate U.S. Citizens not on evidence, but for what they might do. Obama wants the power to override the U.S. Constitution. If Obama’s proposed legislation is passed, the President will have the power to detain indefinitely any American without probable cause or evidence, based on conjecture someone might do something violent in the future.

    It is problematic, if the FBI is allowed warrant-less access to Citizens’ “electronic communication transactional records” including persons’ addresses that Citizens sent email and McCain or Obama’s legislation, or similar legislation is passed, Citizens’ ’”electronic communication transactional records” will be used by the FBI and other government agencies to pick up and indefinitely detain Americans without probable cause.

    See: Obama Sound-Video as for the power to detain people with provable cause at:

    See McCain’s 12-page Senate bill S.3081 The “Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010 at:

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