FBI secretly demands a ton of consumer data from credit agencies. Now lawmakers want answers

TechCrunch | 12/14/2019 | Staff
monimoni (Posted by) Level 3
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Recently released documents revealed the FBI has for years secretly demanded vast amounts of Americans’ consumer and financial information from the largest U.S. credit agencies.

The FBI regularly uses these legal powers — known as national security letters — to compel credit giants to turn over non-content information, such as records of purchases and locations, that the agency deems necessary in national security investigations. But these letters have no judicial oversight and are typically filed with a gag order, preventing the recipient from disclosing the demand to anyone else — including the target of the letter.

Tech - Companies - Facebook - Google - Microsoft

Only a few tech companies, including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, have disclosed that they have ever received one or more national security letters. Since the law changed in 2015 in the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures that revealed the scope of the U.S. government’s surveillance operations, recipients have been allowed to petition the FBI to be cut loose from the gag provisions and publish the letters with redactions.

Tech companies have used “transparency reports” to inform their users of government demands for their data. But other major data collectors, like credit agencies, have failed to publish their figures altogether.

Lawmakers - Senators - Ron - Wyden - Elizabeth

Three lawmakers — Democratic senators Ron Wyden and Elizabeth Warren, and Republican...
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