400 Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
This amendment, S.Amdt. 4685, offered by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), to the Senate version of the Commerce, Justice, Science spending bill would greatly expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) surveillance powers, giving the agency the ability to collect sensitive, personal information about American citizens’ online activities. The Fourth Amendment is an important protection against government intrusions into our lives, and we should be wary of any legislation that threatens such a fundamental right.
The amendment would allow the FBI to collect Electronic Communications Transactional Records (ECTRs) which includes information about web browsing history, the to/from lines of emails, and location information from IP addresses with only an administrative subpoena, also known as a National Security Letter. In addition to not requiring a warrant, national security letters also include a gag order, so companies cannot even inform their customers that their data is being turned over to federal law enforcement officials.