The Imperial Presidency: Demanding Data on US citizens without a court order/ WaPo

 From the Washington Post:

The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

… what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.

…To critics, the move is another example of an administration retreating from campaign pledges to enhance civil liberties in relation to national security. The proposal is “incredibly bold, given the amount of electronic data the government is already getting,” said Michelle Richardson, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel…

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