Obama Administration Wants Easier Access to Personal Internet Activity Without Court Order

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Obama administration continues morphing into a less constitutional version of the Bush administration as it seeks to make it easier for the FBI to compel Internet companies to turn over records of an individual’s activity without a court order if FBI agents deem the information is relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

By seeking to add just four words: “electronic communication transactional records” to a list of items the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval, government lawyers say the establishment of 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. At least for now.

Stewart A. Baker, a former senior Bush administration Homeland Security official, said the proposed change would broaden the bureau’s authority:

“It’ll be faster and easier to get the data and for some Internet providers, it’ll mean giving a lot more information to the FBI in response to an NSL (national security letters.)”

Critics say the move is another example of the Obama administration retreating from campaign pledges to enhance civil liberties in relation to national security.

Michelle Richardson, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel says:

“The proposal is incredibly bold, given the amount of electronic data the government is already getting.”

Marc Zwillinger, an attorney for Internet companies, added that with the rise of social networking, the Obama administration’s move could open a significant amount of Internet activity to government surveillance without judicial authorization.

This entry was posted in Civil Liberties, News, Obama Administration, President Barack Obama, Privacy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Obama Administration Wants Easier Access to Personal Internet Activity Without Court Order

  1. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    They just shut down a server hosting 73,000 blogs.

    I guess this is just a run up to shutting down every blog with posts and comments critical of the Obama administration? This is a chilling development.

  2. Eric Equality Kuntz says:

    This is scary stuff.

    I know most Americans are more interested in the trials and tribulations of Lindsey Lohan and whether or Bristol and Levi are back together, but freedom on the electronic frontier should matter more.

    The Feds should have no business accessing our email.

  3. ZarathustraMike says:

    Hey Obama…. in case you’re listening………. FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Thai Noodles says:

    It all goes to what is fundamental about the character of the American people.

    We do not trust the government. It isn’t a Democratic or a Republican issue. It matters not whether you’re a liberal or a conservative. As Americans, we have a deep distrust of the government. We rely on the courts to limit and restrict the reach of the government.

    Bush handed Obama a template to dismantle our civil liberties and Obama rubbed his hands together and shouted, “yippee!”

  5. Joe in Colorado says:

    Civil liberties were never high on this president’s list of priorities. I base this statement on Obama’s voting record on the FISA bill. He was an enthusiastic if not one of the conservadems on the issue when he was in the US senate.

  6. Matteo says:

    And then there’s this.

    Obama seeks to expand arms exports by trimming approval process

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/07/29/98337/obama-seeks-to-expand-arms-exports.html#ixzz0v9r26kL1

    The United States is currently the world biggest weapons supplier — holding 30 per cent of the market — but the Obama administration has begun modifying export control regulations in hopes of enlarging the U.S. market share, according to U.S. officials.

    The administration’s stated reason for the changes is to simplify the sale of weapons to U.S. allies, but potential spinoffs include generating business for the U.S. defense industry, creating jobs and contributing to Obama’s drive to double U.S. exports by 2015.

    Critics say the reforms are being rushed and warn that the expedited procedures could allow weapons technology to fall into the wrong hands.

  7. Pechanga says:

    In 2008, candidate Obama said he was committed to greater transparency in government. A 180′ from his predecessor’s administration.

    But now that he has the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., he’s behaving exactly like his predecessor. You can’t say you’re a “change” agent while winnowing the civil liberties of citizens in an open society.

    I agree with Joe in Colorado. Obama’s support of FISA and baby FISA sent off alarms for me but I think McCain would’ve been worse.

  8. Big Hank says:

    The number of spooks working at the FBI and CIA have doubled since Obama became president.

    Dept. of Homeland Security now has nearly 1 million employees.

    No wonder government jobs are one of the brightest areas this president can point to as an employment success.

  9. Gleneagle says:

    By giving the FBI increased police powers, the Obama administration aligns itself with the far right of the Republican party. People like Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe, South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint, Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning, Texas Republican John Cornyn and Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn, have all said the FBI is hampered by privacy laws that make its job more difficult.

  10. Rachel says:

    I don’t know about President Obama now. When he was in Congress and when he was campaigning, his eyes were open and bright. Now, when I see him on TV, his eyes look flat — dead eyes is the term that comes to mind. He’s definitely changed and isn’t the man I voted for. As for his appearance on The View, seriously?

  11. Estacada says:


    And Obama’s supporters wonder why so many liberals have written him off?

    Breaking a Promise on Surveillance


  12. and his “pollsters” (which outnumber even Bush’s) are clueless why people are saying, meet the new boss same as the old boss.

    power corrupts, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave corrupts absolutely

  13. Shane Goda says:

    Just needed to say I seriously appreciate your work on this blogging site and the high quality articles you make. These type of posting tend to be precisely what keeps me personally going through the day. I discovered this post right after a excellent close friend of mine recommended it to me. I do some blogging and site-building personally and I am always thankful to see others contributing top quality info to the online community. I will definitely be following and now have bookmarked your site to my facebook account for others to view.

  14. Randy Arroyo says:

    Each passing month, Mr. Obama seems less and less the man I thought I was voting for. He is committed to the globalist template of government control over all electronic thought. This is to the right of George Bush.

  15. Axl says:

    This is scary stuff.

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