The Guardian reports: A Senate bill promoted as a surveillance reform would codify the ability of the National Security Agency to search its troves of foreign phone and email communications for Americans’ information, and permit law enforcement agencies to search the vast databases as well.
The Fisa Improvements Act, promoted by Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, would both make permanent a loophole permitting the NSA to search for Americans’ identifying information without a warrant – and, civil libertarians fear, contains an ambiguity that might allow the FBI, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies to do the same thing.
“For the first time, the statute would explicitly allow the government to proactively search through the NSA data troves of information without a warrant,” said Michelle Richardson, the surveillance lobbyist for the ACLU.
“It may also expand current practices by allowing law enforcement to directly access US person information that was nominally collected for foreign intelligence purposes. This fourth amendment back door needs to be closed, not written into stone.” [Continue reading…]