Despite the guarantee of the Fourth Amendment, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies have made a habit of spying on the citizenry. But in the 21st century, the internet and the ability of computers to store and process vast amounts of data has allowed the government to collect vast amounts of data about each of us.
Government surveillance goes well beyond the NSA/FBI mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s automatic license plate readers have been recording our travel for decades; the FBI’s domain awareness program records where we travel, record has been recording license plates for decades, Fusion Centers and Joint Terrorism Task Forces (run by DHS and the FBI respectively) gather information.
The Trump administration is reportedly pushing Congress to permanently reauthorize an NSA program that collects and analyzes records on millions of Americans’ calls and texts.
“FROM BOOKING TO BAGGAGE CLAIM:”PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD TO EXAMINE USE OF FACIAL RECOGNITION AND OTHER BIOMETRIC TECHNOLOGIES IN AVIATION SECURITY Board Announces Three New Oversight Projects
The PCLOB will also review FBI backdoor searches of data collected under Section 702, and the NSA’s Call Record Detail program.
Under so-called “backdoor searches,” agencies, including the FBI and DEA, search these communications without ever obtaining a warrant.
CBP Admits to Targeting Journalists, Activists, After Civil Society Groups, Including Defending Rights & Dissent, Demanded Answers
After revelations that Customs and Border Patrol (CBB) had monitored journalists, human rights lawyers, and activists, Defending Rights & Dissent joined with a 100 civil society demanding answers. In a May 9, 2019 response letter, CBP admits for the first time to having engaged in this monitoring, though it defended its actions.
Recent headlines that suggest the NSA will abandon its mass phone surveillance program, commonly known as Section 215 of the Patriot Act, should be met with a healthy dollop of skepticism.