FBI’s Foreign Surveillance Authority Should Face New Limits, Oversight Board Says

FBI cyber crime agents, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

One of the FBI’s most controversial surveillance tools faces serious impediments after a sharply divided privacy oversight board recommended making it more difficult to gather data. 

The three-member Democratic majority of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, an independent agency within the executive branch, said the FBI and other government agencies should receive court approval to review communications of U.S. citizens collected through the program known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the Associated Press reports

The White House is trying secure reauthorization of FISA, saying the program is vital to disrupting foreign terror attacks, espionage operations, and cyberattacks. 

But opposition is mounting after recent revelations that FBI employees violated their own standards when they used the technology. 

Some Republicans in Congress, who have been seeking to punish the bureau for investigating former President Trump, also have pledged to allow the program to expire. 

Democrats have long expressed concern that Section 702 could violate Americans’ civil liberties. 

The program enables the FBI and other agencies to gather swaths of information and communications from foreigners located abroad without a warrant.  

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