At the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s request, lawmakers gave in an amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). This allows the government to get a national security letter (NSL) instead of a warrant, a subpoena that doesn’t require a judge’s approval.
The Senate Intelligence Committee panel recently voted down an authorization bill with the NSL amendment, however, it was reintroduced in an amendment to the ECPA last week by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
In the case the amendment passes, it would allow the FBI to access internet browsing records without a warrant in terrorism and spy instances. With the NSL, federal agencies could access a host of online information, including IP addresses, routing and transmission information, session data, and more, however, they don’t have access directly to the email content.
The bureau told The Washington Post that there’s a limit on how specific the browsing history would be. For example, somebody could visit any part of the newspaper’s website, but law enforcement authorities would only see that they’d visited washingtonpost.com, they wouldn’t see the exact part of the site.
A letter signed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International USA, the Computer Communications Industry Association, the Electronic Frontier