Tech Email And Social Network Snooping By The Feds On The Rise - No Warrants Needed

Published on September 28th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


Email And Social Network Snooping By The Feds On The Rise – No Warrants Needed

Email And Social Network Snooping By The Feds On The Rise - No Warrants Needed

Governor Jerry Brown of California may have signed a bill that bans employers from demanding that current and potential employees hand over their passwords to Facebook and Twitter (this also applies to California universities and their students) but across the nation our privacy is being invaded by law enforcement at a growing rate and they don’t even need a warrant to do it.

In documents released by the ACLU we find out that law enforcement agencies across the country have been greatly increasing their surveillance of Americans’ electronic communication, which includes things like email and Facebook. It is not only increasing but doing so without, in many cases, a warrant – or any type of judicial oversight.

This is being done using what is called “trap and trace” and “pen register” where the first method is where they use tools to capture all incoming data and then second method being the capture the outgoing data over telecommunications lines. In both cases all the law enforcement agency has to do is request approval from a judge by saying nothing more than the information they are “likely” to obtain is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation; which judges most rubber stamp since they don’t get to weight the merits of the request.

It should also be noted that where it once required physical tool attached to the telephone lines listening technology has bee built right into the call routing hardware that the telecoms use, which also means that law enforcement can listen in real-time.

As a result there has been an increase in the use of both these methods has more than tripled in the period between 2006 and 2011 where it went from 11,000 to 37,616.

via Naked Security



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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