The FBI made queries into almost 3.4 million Americans between December 2020 and November 2021, the US intelligence community admitted in an official report on Friday. The FBI said it was looking for foreign hackers, but civil libertarian groups called it an “enormous” invasion of privacy.
The FBI alone made “fewer than 3,394,053” queries of US citizens in that time period, related to information collected under the controversial authority to spy on foreigners. The findings were made public in the Annual Intelligence Community Transparency Report.
The electronic data was collected legally under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the report claims. According to the ODNI, the number is due to “a number of large batch queries related to attempts to compromise U.S. critical infrastructure by foreign cyber actors” in the first half of 2021, which “included approximately 1.9 million query terms related to potential victims – including US persons.”
This accounts for the “vast majority of the increase in US person queries conducted by FBI over the prior year,” There were fewer than 1.3 million such queries in the December 2019 to November 2020 period, according to the same findings.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has reacted, calling the FBI’s behavior an invasion of privacy “on an enormous scale.” “Today’s report sheds light on the extent of these unconstitutional ‘backdoor searches,’ and underscores the urgency of the problem,” ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Ashley Gorski said in a statement. “It’s past time for Congress to step in to protect Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.”
Section 702 of the FISA act allows the DNI and the US attorney general to target non-US persons located outside of the US in order to acquire foreign intelligence.
Original story: Here
F.B.I. looks to (further) expand it’s Social media surveillance network
Data mining AI company Panamerica Computers is partnering up with the FBI to give a boost to their online surveillance capabilities. The contract is worth up to $27 million, and will provide the FBI with 5,000 licenses for one of its tools.
The licenses,give the FBI – specifically its Strategic Technology Unit of Directorate of Intelligence – the right to use a data analytics tool called Babel X, which harvests user data, including location, from the internet.
When the FBI issued a procurement call for a tool, whose purpose, boiled down, is to track a massive number of social media posts, the agency said that it must provide capability of searching multiple social media sites, in multiple languages.
As per FBI’s procurement documents, the tool had to be able to scrape data from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Deep/Dark Web, VK, and Telegram, while being able to do the same with Snapchat, TikTok. Reddit, 8Kun, Gab, Parler, ask.fm, Weibo, and Discord would be considered a plus.
In addition, the FBI said it would prefer more “fringe” as well as encrypted messaging platforms to be included in the winning bid. Another requirement was for the tool to carry out surveillance of these sites continuously, while the data collected would be held by the vendor and then pushed to the FBI.
Original Story via: Reclaim the Net