And most importantly, all of this would have been accessed by the FBI without a court order! (Also yes, that cell phone is ancient, but it was the only royalty free image that we could find which was prevalent…)
After a terrorist attack, there tends to be a knee jerk reaction from politicians to push for measures to make Americans “safer.” It’s usually the onus for tougher gun laws by Democrats and new anti-terror laws by Republicans. And then there is always that one piece of legislation that tries to give federal intelligence agencies more power after an attack takes place. Today Republican Senators John McCain and Richard Burr tried to pass such a measure.
The measure was presented by Sen. McCain and Sen. Burr as an amendment to a spending bill that would fund the Department of Justice. The amendment would have allowed the FBI to access various forms of communication (email account, website history, ect.) from what the agency would describe as “lone wolf” suspects without a court order. As you may have guessed, the amendment became a concern to many privacy advocates who weren’t too happy with the measure.
Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had sent letters to senators decrying the the measure would “erode many of the reforms” to the Patriot Act that have been passed over the last few months. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden even criticized the measure as just being an excuse for the FBI to not want to do paperwork!
Even though the majority of the Senate backed the measure with a 58-38 vote, it just fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance. With major parts of the Patriot Act lapsing last year, seeing more legislation that would extend the federal government’s surveillance programs isn’t out of the question. The question is whether the Senate or the House would pass such legislation in a post-Edward Snowden world. If today’s vote is any indication, it looks like that could go either way.
(Photo Credit: Pixabay.com, Google Images)