Civil Liberties Activists Mobilize Against Surveillance Amendment

McConnell Amendment Would Give FBI Warrantless Access to Private Data

by Jason Ditz, June 21, 2016

The FBI is always pushing for more surveillance power, and had recently called for a “amendment” of the law regarding what data they can get without a warrant. The law right now lists things the FBI can get, which the FBI called a “typo,” insisting those were meant to just be examples, and that the FBI could get virtually anything they want at any time if it’s terror related.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY), backed by several other Republicans, introduced exactly such an amendment last night, aiming to give the FBI unfettered access to, among other things, the web browsing history of all Americans.

The ACLU was quick to come out against the plan, saying they are “strongly opposed” to the plan, which not only dramatically expands FBI surveillance but also makes “lone wolf” parts of the Patriot Act permanent.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D – OR) is so far the only official in opposition to the move, saying it would “unnecessarily expand the government’s ability to conduct surveillance of Americans.” Though the Justice Department rejected the FBI’s argument that they were always “meant” to have this power, the current surveillance-happy makeup of the Senate makes it very likely it will pass in the absence of more vocal opposition.

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