Tags: FBI | Phone Surveillance | Reined | Court

FBI's Use of Phone Surveillance Info Reined In by Court

Image: FBI's Use of Phone Surveillance Info Reined In by Court
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By    |   Wednesday, 27 Jul 2016 03:42 PM

A secret federal court that oversees requests for wiretaps against spies has reportedly been reining in the FBI's ability to act on some data it collects from its phone snooping.

The Intercept, citing undisclosed documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, reports the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court told the FBI several times between 2005 and 2007 that using numbers people punch into their phones after they've placed a call need explicit authorization — even in an emergency.

According to The Intercept, the FBI can demand a phone company, or e-mail or other online provider, to immediately hand over "telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and other dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information" if it's "relevant" to a case.

But "pen register" and "trap and trace" orders — a capability built into the phone lines that records incoming and outgoing phone numbers — aren't supposed to capture any data that would give away what the call was about.

For example, The Intercept reports the numbers people dial after making a call can reveal financial or personal information — like a credit card number, a social security number, a PIN, a prescription number, or any other type of response via automated telephone prompts.

In just five months in late 2005, the surveillance court approved pen registers and trap and trace devices to target "at least 138" people.

But one judge's more probing questions about what happened with incidental information from those punched-in numbers set off a fight between the court and FBI, The Intercept reports.

Beginning in 2006, the surveillance court modified some of the FBI's applications to stop it from using the information without additional permission, no matter how urgent.

"The newly obtained summaries are significant because they show the power that the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] has to limit expansive FBI surveillance practices," privacy center lawyer Alan Butler told The Intercept.

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A secret federal court that oversees requests for wiretaps against spies has reportedly been reining in the FBI's ability to act on some data it collects from its phone snooping.
FBI, Phone Surveillance, Reined, Court
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2016-42-27
Wednesday, 27 Jul 2016 03:42 PM
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