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Tag: Bill

FBI Wants to Bypass Warrants to Access Internet Browser Histories of Terrorism, Spy Suspects

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI wants the authority to access Internet browser histories and other electronic data of terrorism and spy cases without a warrant.

The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration supported a similar measure six years ago but abandoned the idea amid concerns from privacy advocates and the tech industry.

Some lawmakers support the effort and are encouraging colleagues to approve legislation that would enable the FBI to obtain “electronic communication transactional records” using a national security letter, which can be issued by the special agent in charge of the bureau field office.

FBI Director James Comey characterized the effort as the biggest legislative priority of the year.

Not having the authority to authorize national security letters “affects our work in a very, very big and practical way,” Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee in February.

2 Senators Criticize Bill That Would Expand FBI’s Warrantless Access to Online Records

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new bill would give the FBI more flexibility to gain warrantless access to online records of Americans.

Two U.S. senators have criticized the 2017 intelligence authorization bill as an overreach that could make it easier for federal investigators to use National Security Letters to access email records, messaging accounts, login records, browser history and social media activity, the Guardian reports. 

Although the text of the bill hasn’t be discloed yet, Sen. Ron Wyden said the change represents a sweeping expansion of warrantless surveillance.

“While this bill does not clearly define ‘electronic communication transaction records’, this term could easily be read to encompass records of whom individuals exchange emails with and when, as well as their login history, IP addresses, and internet browsing history,” Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon who voted against the bill, told the Guardian.

Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico said he hope to remove the NSL expansion on the bill.

“The FBI has not made a convincing case that it needs any process other than the one that already exists, especially one that freely allows the FBI access to law-abiding Americans’ emails and web activity,” Henrich said.

Congressional Bill Seeks to Remove J. Edgar Hoover’s Name from FBI’s Headquarters

J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Saying J. Edgar Hoover stomped on the civil rights of Americans, a congressman has introduced a bill to remove the former FBI director’s name from the bureau’s headquarters building, WREG Memphis reports. 

Congressman Steve Cohen said Hoover’s poor treatment of African Americans, gay people and others is reason enough to remove the name.

“The civil rights we enjoy today are in spite of J. Edgar Hoover, not because of him. Yet, his name adorns one of the most prominent buildings in our nation’s capital and one that houses one of the agencies of government responsible for justice,” Cohen said. “Given his well-documented abuses and prejudices towards African Americans, gays, and lesbians, I believe it is past time to remove his name from this place of honor.”

He added: “His efforts to silence Dr. King and out homosexuals working for the government were deplorable and a stain on our nation’s history and on the FBI,” he added.

Eight other members of Congress are sponsoring the bill.

Bill Would Help Justice Department Combat ‘Violent Extremism’

Rep. Michael McCaul

Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is moving forward on its promise to combat “violent extremism.”

Reason.com reports that Rep. Michael McCaul has introduced a bill, Countering Violent Extremism Act, that would create a federal Office of Coordination for Countering Violent Extremism.

The office would be house at Homeland Security.

The bill covers a range of responsibilities, including “identifying risk factors that contribute to violent extremism in communities in the United States,” “assessing the methods used by violent extremists to disseminate propaganda and messaging to communities at risk for radicalization and recruitment,” and “establishing a counter-messaging program” to head off extremist ideas.

The bill calls for $10 million a year for the next five years and a new leader, assistant secretary for countering violent extremism.”

Bill Would Give FBI More Resources to Fight Online Harassment

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill that would give the FBI more  resources to tackle cybercrime, especially online harassment, the Washington Post reports.

The bill by Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., would give the FBI 10 new agents whose sole jobs would be tackling threats made online. They would investigate stalkers and people who threaten violence.

Clark said online threats are increasing to alarming rates.

“While these threats may occur on the Internet, their impacts are far from virtual,” Clark told The Post. “They affect the bottom line for victims, who pay a real cost not just emotionally but also financially —  in fees to attorneys and private investigators, or to services to scrub personally identifying information from the Web. I don’t think that women, who are the primary targets of this kind of abuse, should have to do this alone.”

Border Patrol Agents Would Be Given 3 Overtime Options Under Bill Awaiting President’s Signature

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A bill awaiting President Obama’s signature would give Border Patrol agents three overtime options in an effort to cut payroll costs, the Washington Post reports.

The “Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime” would be replaced with a system designed to save what amounts to an average 80% reduction in overtime pay.

The House of Representatives unanimously supported the measure on Wednesday.

“The current pay system simply is not in alignment with the demands our border security places on our agents, and the mission has suffered as a result,” said American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. “This reform is absolutely crucial for bringing stability and predictability to Border Patrol pay and will make a huge, positive contribution to our agents’ ability to provide the most effective border security.”

The old system, which was meant to compensate officers whose obligations in the field required them to stay extra hours, was abused, The Post wrote.

Under the new system, officers can work 100 hours per pay period, about two weeks, and receive an annual 25 percent pay boost, work 90 hours and receive an annual 12.5 increase or work no overtime.

GOP Senate Chairman Pledges to Crack Down on Immigration with Border Security Bill

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Although President Obama is preparing to take executive action on immigration, an incoming GOP Senate chairman has pledged to create a stronger border security bill, the Associated Press reports.

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is about to become chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

His plan is to introduce legislation that would discourage illegal immigration.

Republicans fear Obama plans to remove the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants.

“Regardless of what President Obama does I’m going to move forward with a very strong border security bill,” Johnson said. “I hope President Obama doesn’t take that executive action because I think for many people that will poison the well and certainly make it more difficult to solve the immigration problem.”

Johnson said he plans to waste no time and will act “as quickly as we can” once Congress convenes in January.

ATF Criticized for Plan to Require Gun Owners to Identify Their Ethnicity on Records

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If the ATF gets its way, new gun owners will have to identify their ethnicity on firearm records.

But lawmakers in the House have introduced a bill to eliminate that controversial requirement, The Hill reports.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., demanded answers.

“The right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms is an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Blunt wrote in a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) over the weekend. “The constitutional right of a citizen to own a firearm has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.”

He added: “It is disconcerting that the U.S. government is gathering this type of data on citizens when there is no connection between purchasing a firearm and an individual’s race or ethnicity. Any measure that may interfere with a citizen’s ability to exercise his or her constitutional right to purchase a firearm needs to be questioned.”