FBI Wants Telecom Database

The FBI is asking Congress for $5 million to pay telecom companies to retain phone and Internet information for two years as a resource in terrorism investigations.

Officials told the Washington Post that the FBI would still need to obtain a subpoena or administrative warrant before accessing the information.

Mark Zwillinger of Washington, D.C., who represents Internet service providers, questioned whether companies are in business to become the government’s investigative arm. He suggested that the data could prove attractive to others, such as lawyers pursuing divorce cases.

Civil liberties advocates expressed concern about the proposal. It “is circumventing the law by paying companies to do something the FBI couldn’t do itself legally,” lawyer Michael German told the Post. He is policy counsel on national security for the American Civil Liberties Union.

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