You know the land of the free thing, right? Well, then, why allow the FBI to go through America’s browsing history without a warrant?
Congress was asked to introduce a measure that would require the FBI to obtain a search warrant before agents could see and search Americans online, just days after the amendment passed by a vote in the Senate.
More than 50 human rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and Human Rights Watch, wrote a letter [PDF] to the leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives requesting the inclusion of a similar request in the U.S. Freedom of Expression Act, a bill that would re-approve several spy programs if introduced.
The 13th. In May, a bipartisan majority of 59 senators – 24 Republicans and 35 Democrats – voted in favour of Widen-Daines’ amendment, and a letter begins to state that it was adopted, with the exception of two senators who supported the measure [but] were unable to take part in the vote.
On Thursday, the Senate voted to re-approve the U.S. Freedom Act, 80-16, after a series of new measures were introduced to curb the abuse of surveillance equipment by Uncle Sam. However, new powers have also been given to law enforcement authorities, including the possibility to request background checks and investigations of citizens without having to prove their case in court, which has serious privacy implications.
The U.S. House of Representatives had previously agreed to the renewal of spying powers, although the issue of changes in the Senate would have to be reconsidered; this would be an opportunity to add new safeguards, particularly with regard to the consideration of history.
This reform is intended to prevent precisely those scandals that have led to a serious loss of confidence in the American secret services over the past two decades, according to the letter. This would indeed help to address the serious public concern that civil liberties are more at risk in this time of crisis.
The letter also points out that in recent years the Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that personal information stored on electronic devices is covered by the Fourth Amendment on unjustified searches and therefore needs a search warrant in order to obtain it.
Now nothing stands in the way of the PATRIOT Act, which allows the FBI to forge the web browser history without acommand.
The FBI should not use the PATRIOT Act to monitor the online activities of Americans without a search warrant, the groups argued, referring to the US Super Listening Act, which should amend the US Freedom Act. The history of searching and surfing the Internet is extremely graphic, and the fourth amendment requires a guarantee for this information.
In addition to the new navigational features to capture history, the updated version of the bill passed by the Senate also improves the authorities’ ability to track and listen to people who change their phone numbers, and to track a person who supports the lone wolf theory that a lone person is planning a terrorist attack.
With regard to additional protection, the Senate adopted an amendment to strengthen the control of the Court of Supervision of Foreign Secret Services (FISS), which approves requests for espionage. The court should appoint a neutral third party who is expected to oversee all cases pending before the court on a sensitive investigative matter.
This third party also has the right to ask questions to the court and has the right to inspect all documents relating to the application. This would be an important change from the current system, where in most cases the court only consults the FBI before approving the application. Currently, the court can hear a neutral third party, but in practice this is rarely used and the role of the court is strictly limited.
Activating the new housing Page
The FBI has been severely criticised in recent months after an independent investigation showed that it did not comply with its own rules and procedures when approaching the FBI, including the credibility of the information submitted to the court.
The Ministry of Justice has already repealed the new restrictions, arguing that they would unnecessarily limit our ability to monitor terrorists, spies and other threats to national security.
The battle now goes to the House of Representatives, which must examine the takeover bill adopted by the Senate and possibly amend or propose its own amendments. Once the bill has been approved by both parties, it still has to be signed by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly given conflicting signals about spyware and at one point even suggested vetoing it. ®
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