FBI Made Tons Of Unauthorized Searches On Citizens, Violating Americans’ Privacy

Anil - Oct 15, 2019


FBI Made Tons Of Unauthorized Searches On Citizens, Violating Americans’ Privacy

The intelligence agency did violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Recently, the FBI was accused by the court for conducting illegal searches of U.S. citizens during 2017-2018. In which, the agency violated the law that limits its surveillance activities, as well as the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The above ruling was passed by FISC or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year in 2018. This is a secret governmental agency that operates as a supervisor and reviewer of the search for foreign individuals locating internally and externally of the US borders. 

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The surveillance program utilized by the FBI was named as Section 702, and was a part of the growing US intensive spy programs for many years, following the September 11 highlight. During the program, FBI agents were allowed to infiltrate the confidential electronic intelligence database. The database includes data for identification purposes, emails and telephone numbers. The National Security Agency is the major entity that has legitimized the use of such information.

As such, Section 702 covers the search for evidence of crimes. It is also used as a part of foreign-targeted investigations only. The main goal of Section 702 is limited to tracking terrorist suspects as well as cyber threats. 

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However, as stated by the Wall Street Journal, FBI did make a careful and critical examination of various American sources via the database. The agents took advantage of the database to view information about themselves and the people around them such as family, friends, and colleagues. Obviously, this behavior seriously violated the privacy rights, especially the Fourth Amendment when there was no search with warranties behind. The amendment also prohibits the unreasonable collection and search of US citizens' information.

In fact, the ruling went one year before becoming publicly available. The usage of such spying tools was outlined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978, and FISC is the agency responsible for evaluating such usage in secret. This increased government intervention and acted as a necessary protection of national security. Now the ruling is officially public because the government has lost the appeal in a confidential appeal court. And therefore, the FBI will have to redesign a new oversight process and create a compliance assessment team to avoid similar surveillance abuses that might occur in the future.

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