Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act, a bill that will allow the FBI to obtain email records without a court order. If enacted into law, the FBI would have the ability to get a National Security Letter without approval from a judge to gather information for national security purposes. Basically, the bill will mean the FBI could get information from companies without having to inform the person who is being investigated.
A Change from Phone Records Only Access
Currently, the FBI can get phone records with just a National Security Letter, but not email records. So if the bill officially passes as law, the FBI will have a much greater access to communication records of people throughout the nation.
There has been a push for greater surveillance by law enforcement because of concerns of threats to national security. Those pushing the bill argue that the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act makes it easier for Americans to be protected and safe. The bill still has to be passed by the entire US Senate to pass as law.
Government Takes a Step Back on Other Security Battles
Until recently, there has been a big push for legislation allowing law enforcement to access encrypted devices. The push for access to encrypted devices came about because of the San Bernardino shooting and the difficulty in getting access to iPhone information. But according to recent reports, it appears that the drafted bill is no longer being introduced this year, and even if it were, it most likely wouldn’t pass. Many say that one of the main problems was that there was not enough support by the White House.
There was a lot of push back by tech companies in regard to a potential encryption access law. They argued that if they were forced to create back-door access to encrypted devices, cyber attackers would be able to hack in easier than ever before.
A Push for Better Security
Despite efforts by the federal government and law enforcement, tech companies are still concerned about security for their users and are working hard to protect their information. Since the FBI was able to hack into an iPhone without Apple’s help, tech companies have accelerated their efforts for better encryption for devices.
The debate between the government and tech companies continue on. Both are working to do what they consider protecting the American people. Tech companies are working to protect information; the government is working to protect the people.